Steve Smith to lead Royals in IPL 2020
Mumbai, 15 November 2019: Rajasthan Royals today announced that they would retain 11 and release 11 players ahead of the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Top ranked Test- batsman in the world, Steve Smith will lead the team under the able guidance of newly appointed Head Coach, Andrew McDonald.
Ahead of the retention deadline, key trading took place between the teams and India’s Test Vice Captain Ajinkya Rahane was traded to Delhi Capitals for spinner Mayank Markande and all-rounder Rahul Tewatia.
Mayank had an impressive debut IPL season with Mumbai Indians in 2018 season. In his first match the spinner picked up three wickets and the prized scalp of former India captain M.S. Dhoni. He finished the season with 15 wickets from 14 matches. The 2019 season saw less of Mayank as he played only three matches after which he was traded to Delhi Capitals.
26-year-old Rahul was part of the Rajasthan Royals set up in 2014, after which he moved to Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and then the Capitals. The leg-spin bowler is known to make handy contributions with the bat as well.
“Ajinkya has been that true Royal who has always given his best for the team and stands strongly for the Royals philosophy, ‘never give up’. A classy player who has given the Royals fans some great memories to cherish over the years. On behalf of the Royals family, of which Jinks continues to be an integral member, I wish him good luck for a new beginning,” commented Zubin Bharucha, Head of Cricket, Rajasthan Royals.
In other tradings, Medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni was traded to Mumbai Indians. Pacer Ankit Rajpoot will join the Royals squad from KXIP who was traded for all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham. Rajpoot had a great 2018 IPL season, where he took 11 wickets from eight matches. He was retained by KXIP for his eye catching performances but only played four matches in the 2019 season. At the ongoing Mushtaq Ali trophy, playing for his team, Uttar Pradesh, Ankit has gone on to make a record to take a 5-fer in just 2 overs. He claimed 5 wickets and gave away just 17 runs while playing against Tripura. He becomes the second bowler in the history of T-20 to do so.
Commenting on the trades, releases and retentions, Head of Cricket Rajasthan Royals, Zubin Bharucha said, "We would like to thank all the players for their services to the team. The format of IPL is such, that at times you have to take tough decisions to benefit both the team and those individuals. While we have to let go of some members, they will always remain part of our extended Royals family. I wish each one of them the best of luck for their future endeavours,” added Bharucha.
Speaking on the upcoming season, Head Coach of the Rajasthan Royals, Andrew McDonald said, “I’m looking forward to my first season as the coach of the Royals. My main objective will be to work on improving the squad and set a style of cricket that can win us the IPL. We have done some trades keeping in mind the combination that we wish to establish and will further work on securing players during the auction that are required to fill necessary roles. I am hopeful of a great season and believe we can give Royal fans across the globe a reason to Halla Bol.”
Speaking about leading the Royals once again at IPL 2020, Steve Smith said, “It's an honour to be named the Rajasthan Royals captain for the 2020 season. It’s been a pleasure leading the Royals in previous years and I can't wait to play alongside this extremely talented squad, plus those we pick up in the auction”.
Post the successful trading and all player releases, Rajasthan Royals has a total purse of INR 28.9 crores available for the auction.