Rajasthan Royals have replaced Steve Smith with South Africa's batsman-wicketkeeper Heinrich Klaasen, the Board of Control for Cricket of India (BCCI) announced on April 2 (Monday).
The former Australian captain, who was involved in the scandalous controversy of the ball-tampering row during the Test series against South Africa, was handed a 1-year ban by Cricket Australia and subsequently, the BCCI barred the swashbuckler from participating in the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League.
Smith, who was elected as the Royals captain at first, stepped down as the skipper during the controversy and it was Ajinkya Rahane who was announced as their captain for the 2018 season.
Klaasen, who made his International debut during India's tour of South Africa earlier this year, came into the limelight for his performances in the limited overs format. The South Africa batsman was clinical with his performances and had a few major knocks which helped the Proteas win a match each in ODI (5-1) and T20I (2-1) series.
The Royals' 'Head of Cricket' Zubin Bharucha singled out the South African batsman over the other players. Bharucha who spoke to the Times of India, said that his presence will bring in diversity in skills in the upcoming season.
"Klaasen is an amazing player of spin. And he has a vast array of shots, which tempted us to go for him. He plays the reverse sweep very well, something that will be quite useful in the IPL," Bharucha told TOI.
"The wicket-keeper batsman was picked for INR 50 lakh from the Registered and Available Player Pool (RAPP) list," BCCI stated in a media release.
In a 49 match T20 career, Klassen has 1043 runs at an average of 35.96 and a striker rate above 146. Knowing the fact that players such as Sanju Samson and Jos Buttler already are the key players to be behind the stumps for the Royals, the South African player will feature as a batsman.