Rajasthan Royals surprised everyone by releasing their batting mainstay and captain Steve Smith ahead of IPL 2021. Several Rajasthan Royals fans stunned by the decision to not retain Steve Smith. Last year, Rajasthan Royals had a disappointing season as they failed to qualify for playoffs under Smith’s captaincy. However, Steve Smith had a decent season with the bat. Although, RR has the Right To Match (RTM) option to include the Star Batsman again in their squad.
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Steve Smith Journey in IPL So Far
Steve Smith made his IPL debut in 2012 with Pune Warriors. He scored over 350 runs with a healthy strike rate in his first IPL season. He had good first two seasons with Pune. In the next season, Pune Warriors withdrew from IPL and he was picked by Rajasthan Royals in 2014. His maiden season with Rajasthan Royals was again lukewarm at best and he had increased his value over the next season also.
He scored his maiden century in 2016 playing for Rising Pune Supergiant who formed when RR and CSK got ban for two years. He led the team to the final in 2017. Rajasthan Royal once again showed faith in him and retained him ahead of mega auction 2018. But, Due to the 1 year Ban on him by Cricket Australia, he did not play IPL in 2018. He had played 95 IPL games so far and scored 2333 runs with a strike rate of 129.25. He scored 11 fifties and 1 hundred in his IPL career so far. (source)
IPL 2021: Four Team that would need him desperately?
In the International circuit, Steve Smith has been one of the big crowd-pullers in recent times. Now Steve Smith has been released, he would be on the radar on several IPL Teams in IPL auction. Here the four teams who can target him IPL mini-auction.
- Kings XI Punjab: Kings XI Punjab who had maximum purse remaining ahead of IPL auction can target Steve Smith. The reason for targeting him is that Kings XI has good top order. But lack consistency in their middle order. Most of their top-order batsmen are openers. If Steve Smith is acquired by KXIP. Then he will provide balance to the middle order. With the release of Glenn Maxwell from the squad, the combination of Steve Smith at three and Pooran can four can do wonders for Kings XI Punjab in upcoming seasons of IPL.
- Chennai Super Kings: Chennai Super Kings had the worst last season in their IPL History and with the retirement of Shane Watson from all forms of cricket, create an overseas void in their squad. Steve Smith who had opened in the past will be the perfect replacement for Watson. However, Both Dhoni and Smith have played for Rising Pune Supergiants for two seasons. In fact, The Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming was also the coach of RPS too. Steve Smith could be a good prospect as a captain for CSK after Dhoni’s retirement.
- Royal Challengers Bangalore: Royal Challengers Bangalore has released most of their overseas players like Aaron Finch, Moeen Ali, and Chris Morris ahead of IPL 2021 mini-auction which is scheduled in February 2021. RCB has healthy purse remaining. RCB needed one or two quality batsmen at the top to remove some pressure from Virat Kohli and AB Devilliers. If RCB manages to grab Steve Smith in the auction. then, Virat Kohli as an opener, Steve Smith at 3, and ABD at 4, this combination can help RCB to lift their maiden IPL Trophy.
- Delhi Captial: DC has a very good season last year. However, they failed to win the trophy. DC has released some overseas players. Steve Smith can anchor the inning and play according to the situation. Steve Smith’s experience can be handy for the young Delhi Capital players.
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In your view, Which team will go for Steve Smith in IPL 2021??