Rajasthan Royals, the winner of the inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), on Wednesday, named Sanju Samson as their new skipper for the impending IPL 2021 season, after parting ways with Steve Smith.
Manoj Badale, RR's co-owner, confirmed the news as quoted by ESPNCricinfo. They earlier released Smith, who scored 311 runs in 14 games last season while leading the Royals to just six wins the league. Rajasthan finished bottom of the table.
"Sanju is at the start of his journey as a leader - and Kumar Sangakkara is joining as a director of cricket. He's understated and is a very, very strong individual. [Being a] Wicketkeeper is a great position to captain the team," said Badale.
“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," Samson says in a Rajasthan Royals media release.
"The Royals have had some wonderful captains over the years and I'm so grateful for all the time I've spent working with and learning from great leaders like Rahul Dravid, Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith!! I now cannot wait to get started and look forward to the season ahead.”
Along with Smith, Rajasthan have released eight other players which include Oshane Thomas and Tom Curran while retaining 17 players ahead of the IPL 2021 auction which will take place necxt month.
Steve Smith, Ankit Rajpoot, Oshane Thomas, Shashank Singh, Akash Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Anirudha Joshi
Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal, David Miller, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Anuj Rawat, Manan Vohra, Robin Uthappa