Rajasthan Royals had released their captain Steve Smith ahead of the IPL 2021 auction. The Australian batsman, who had been representing the side since the 2014 edition of the tournament (barring the 2016 and 2017 seasons, when the franchise was banned), was bought by the Delhi Capitals in the auction for INR 2.2 crore.
In an in-depth video following the auction, Royals revealed the reason behind releasing Smith.
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"The release of Steve Smith was purely based on the fact that we were looking at a new leader; an Indian leader who could take us well into the future," Zubin Bharucha, the strategy, development and performance director of the Rajasthan Royals said in the video.
Sanju Samson was announced as the new captain of the side, following the release of Smith.
"I think we're going for a rebalancing of the side which you'll see coming out of this auction, and so, having Steve there at 12.5 crores doesn't quite make sense to the balance of our auction purse," the Royals COO Jake Lush McCrum added.
In the IPL 2021 Auction, Rajasthan Royals broke the record for most expensive buy in the history of the tournament, securing the services of South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris at INR 16.25 crore.
Among other prominent buys were those of all-rounder Shivam Dube, bowler Chetan Sakariya, Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman and England's Liam Livingstone.