The Rajasthan Royals had won the first season of the Indian Premier League. However, according to ESPNCricinfo, the Royals are considering to release their captain Steve Smith after finishing at the last position for the first time in their IPL history. The Jaipur-based franchise attained the eighth spot in IPL 2020.
It is pertinent to note that the Royals had kicked off their campaign with back-to-back wins at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. However, they lost momentum as the tournament progressed. Hence, the officials are thinking to release captain Steve Smith before IPL 2021 Auction.
Smith is one of the top batsmen in the world, and almost every IPL franchise will go after him in the auction. Here’s a look at the five teams that can target Smith if RR releases him.
5. Chennai Super Kings
The Chennai Super Kings failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in their IPL history during the 2020 season. The Super Kings need a top-order batsman now after Shane Watson’s retirement.
Steve Smith could be the perfect replacement for Watson. Not only can Smith bowl at the top of the order, he can also support MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina in the leadership group. Also, the combination of Smith-Dhoni has worked well in the past.
4. Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Royal Challengers Bangalore signed two Australian batsmen to solve their opening woes in IPL 2020. Unfortunately, neither Aaron Finch nor Joshua Philippe could perform with consistency.
The Bangalore-based franchise had signed Steve Smith in the past. They can rope him in again and form an elite duo of Smith and Virat Kohli. AB de Villiers at number four makes this a solid lineup. Kohli could open the innings with Devdutt Padikkal while Smith and de Villiers can be the next two batsmen.
3. Kings XI Punjab
The Kings XI Punjab tried multiple batsmen in their middle order. However, the likes of Karun Nair, Jimmy Neesham, Prabh Simran Singh, Glenn Maxwell, and Sarfaraz Khan could not support the quartet of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, and Nicholas Pooran.
Steve Smith’s arrival will give the Kings XI Punjab some much needed stability in their batting lineup. Also, it will ensure the finishers do not need to come out to bat early in the innings. Hence, the Kings XI Punjab could sign Smith.
2. Rajasthan Royals
The Rajasthan Royals have raised many eyebrows by considering to release Steve Smith before IPL 2021 Auction. Smith is a world-class player who has won many matches for his team with his batting brilliance.
It could be possible that the Royals are thinking to release him and sign him for a lesser price. They had done the same thing with Jaydev Unadkat and Smith’s current contract price is 12.5 Crores. Thus, Royals could repurchase him at a lesser amount.
1. Delhi Capitals
The Delhi Capitals had an almost perfect IPL 2020 season in the United Arab Emirates. Their players did their job well, and the decision to promote Marcus Stoinis also proved to be a good one.
The Capitals could sign Steve Smith and use him in the middle order. Shikhar Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis could open the innings with Ajinkya Rahane or Steve Smith in the middle order. If both batsmen play, Shreyas Iyer can bat at number five, with Rishabh Pant at six. Smith could take Shimron Hetmyer’s place at the venues where the pitch is challenging for batsmen. Thus, these five teams could sign Steve Smith.