Aussie Steve Smith steps down as Rajasthan Royals skipper

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JAIPUR, India March 26 (ANA) – Australia’s Steve Smith has stepped down as Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals captain it was confirmed on Monday.

This follows after Smith’s suspension for the final Test of the four-match series against South Africa ahead of the fourth Test starting in Johannesburg on Friday.

Smith admitted to issuing the instruction to alter the condition of the ball in the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town which ended in a resounding 322-run victory for the hosts on Sunday. Smith was subsequently found guilty of ball tampering by the ICC and banned for one Test.

“Rajasthan Royals will do everything possible to protect the values and the integrity of the game,” said Manoj Badale, the co-owner of Rajasthan Royals.

“We agree with Steve’s decision to step down as captain, and we are fortunate to have such a capable successor with Ajinkya Rahane. It is important that all cricket fans retain a balanced perspective on the situation. What happened in South Africa was clearly wrong, especially given that it appears to have been pre-meditated. That said, this will be a difficult time for Steve as well, given how much he cares about the game.”

Zubin Bharucha, head of cricket at Rajasthan Royals, said, “The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricket world. We have been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. Furthermore we have been in regular contact with Steve.”

Steve believes given the current circumstances “it’s in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as captain so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions.”