Rajasthan Royals decided to part ways with Steve Smith, the franchise confirmed when all eight teams submitted the list of retained and released players ahead of the IPL 2021 auctions. Smith led the side in IPL 2020 where the Royals finished at the bottom of the points table.
Not only did the Rajasthan outfit release their former skipper, but also unveiled a fresh captain ahead of the next IPL edition. Royals named Sanju Samson as the new leader of the team.
After the lists were released by the franchises, cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra made a big revelation. He said that two big teams -- Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) -- were trying to get hold of Samson for the upcoming season.
“I have come to know that there were 2 teams who were trying to poach Sanju Samson, trying to lure him. One was Royal Challengers Bangalore and the other was Chennai Super Kings. After being approached by these two franchises, even the Royals would have thought to not only retain Samson but also increase his stature in the team,” Chopra said on Star Sports’ Cricket Connected.
Chopra also backed Royals' decision to release Smith and said that he doesn't prefer an overseas captain in the IPL. Samson is the third Indian skipper after Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane to lead the Rajasthan side.
“I don’t like the idea of an overseas captain. When you go with an overseas captain, he is 25% of your resource from the overseas lot. I think it’s a good move to release Steve Smith. I don’t think he is worth Rs 12.5 crore. I would be very surprised if someone bids this much for him,” Chopra further said.
Samson, after joining the Rajasthan side in 2013, has played 79 games and scored 1907 of his 2584 IPL runs. The right-hander was RR's leading run-scorer in the previous IPL edition in the UAE, where he scored 375 runs from 14 matches.
“It’s an absolute honour to have been announced as the captain of Rajasthan Royals. It’s a team that is so close to my heart, which I’ve been lucky enough to play for over the years, and I’m excited about the challenge that lies ahead of me as the leader of the team,” said Samson after being named Royals' new skipper.