IPL 2018: Ajinkya Rahane may lead Rajasthan Royals if Steve Smith steps downhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/ajinkya-rahane-may-lead-rajasthan-royals-if-steve-smith-steps-down-5111203/

IPL 2018: Ajinkya Rahane may lead Rajasthan Royals if Steve Smith steps down

Ajinkya Rahane will likely lead IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals in case an under-fire Steve Smith loses captaincy after admitting to ball tampering.

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Steve Smith and Ajinkya Rahane will now b e a part of Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018. (Source: Express Archive photo)

Ajinkya Rahane will likely lead IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals in case an under-fire Steve Smith loses captaincy after admitting to ball tampering during the ongoing going third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. The ICC handed Smith a one-Test suspension and docked his full match fees as per its code of conduct.

The BCCI and Royals heaved a sigh of relief after Smith escaped with a mild punishment.

However, there is a school of thought in BCCI that if Smith himself decides to quit captaincy, Royals should be okay with it as they have a ready replacement in Rahane.

“Now the ball is completely in Rajasthan Royals’ court. Yes, Smith was dishonest in allowing a youngster to tamper with the ball. He has set a very bad example but Rajasthan’s plans revolve around Smith,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.

“We think Rajasthan will like to start with a clean slate without any controversy. So it would be easier if Smith decides to play as a batsman only and let someone else take over the mantle of captaincy,” the official said.

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India’s Test vice-captain Rahane is also saleable as a brand — a must for all IPL franchises. Rahane was one of Royals’ premier performer before they were banned for two years in the wake of the 2013 spot-fixing scandal.