Rajasthan Royals made a decent comeback last year after the two-year suspension, finishing fourth in the IPL points table, after a scuffle with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Eliminator at the Eden Gardens.
Following the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal involving the then captain Steve Smith, Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane was appointed as the captain, a few days before the IPL 2018 started. Rahane had a job on his hand, and he delivered with precision from the front. Fast forward to 2019, with Smith’s ban coming to an end on 28th March, the Australian might return to international cricket starting from 30th May with hosts England against South Africa at The Oval. The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is supposed to be his final preparatory step ahead of the international action.
Royals root for Steve Smith
The inaugural season winners look forward to having the Australian batsman back in the team. In the launch event of Rajasthan Royal’s ravishing new pink jersey, Ajinkya Rahane spoke about a lot of things including his captainship and Smith’s return. The skipper was persistent about learning in the process as a captain, thanking the management and mentor Shane Warne for recommending his name.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, Rahane said that mistakes could happen and emphasized on the franchise’s motto of backing their players. Smith has played for some franchises in the past, scoring over 1,700 runs in 69 matches at an average of 37 and an impressive strike rate of over 131 in the IPL. Rahane is confident that his services will be beneficial for the team. He further added that the team would welcome Smith with love.
Mistakes happen, we believe in backing the player: Rahane
“We all know that how good Steve Smith is as a player and what he did in the past for Royals and Australian cricket. Mistakes can happen & Rajasthan Royals is a team that believes in backing players. We will welcome Steve Smith with love because he is one of the great players and he is one of our own. It is good to have Steve Smith in the team, and I’m sure his inputs & experience will benefit us,” Rahane told Hindustan Times.
Smith’s problematic elbow is a concern, but according to reports, the batter is healing well and is very much on the road to recovery. It is believed that there was a theory urging Smith to focus on the more extended format of the game, with Australia due to play the Ashes this year. But skipper Tim Paine is keen to have Smith and David Warner back in the fold ahead of the World Cup. And therefore, the IPL can prove to be the perfect dress rehearsal for the duo.
It will be interesting to see if the youngsters can bring home the trophy this season for Rajasthan Royals, ending their barren trophy run. The Royals’ fans will surely keep a close eye on the IPL live score, now that one of their experienced campaigners is back in the dug-out.