IPL: Steve Smith stands down as captain of IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals following the recent ball-tampering episode

Cricket
Steve Smith
Steve Smith

Steve Smith has stood down as captain of the Rajasthan Royals so "the team can get ready for the start of the Indian Premier League without the ongoing distractions", the franchise have announced.

Smith's future as Australia's Test captain is already in serious doubt after he admitted the team's leadership group intentionally planned to manipulate the ball during their third Test defeat to South Africa.

Cameron Bancroft was caught on camera appearing to tamper with the ball and Smith has been banned for the upcoming fourth Test against South Africa.

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane will replace the 28-year-old as skipper for the new IPL season, which starts next month.

Zubin Bharucha, head of cricket at the Rajasthan Royals, said: "The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricket world."

Manoj Badale, the franchise's co-owner, added: "Rajasthan Royals will do everything possible to protect the values and the integrity of the game.

"We agree with Steve's decision to step down as captain, and we are fortunate to have such a capable successor with Ajinkya Rahane.

"It is important that all cricket fans retain a balanced perspective on the situation. What happened in South Africa was clearly wrong, especially given that it appears to have been premeditated. That said, this will be a difficult time for Steve as well, given how much he cares about the game."

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