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IPL 2018: Rajasthan Royals announce the return of Steve Smith

RAJASTHAN ROYALS are back and ready to prove themselves on the big stage of the 2018 Indian Premier League.

RR is proud to announce the retention of world’s leading cricketer Steve Smith for the upcoming season. Smith had been part of the Rajasthan Royals team in 2014 and 2015. He even led the side in 2015 and guided the team to the Playoffs. In the 69 IPL matches, Smith has scored 1703 runs at an average of 37.02 with one century and five half-centuries.

Commenting on the occasion, Steve Smith said, 

“I am really excited to be standing by the Rajasthan Royals in this season of the IPL. It’s a great franchise with great people around. I loved playing for them in the past and I am looking forward to once again joining the team and making a big difference in the IPL this year.”

He was the captain of the Rising Pune Supergiant team in the last season of IPL and powered his team to the finals of the tournament. Smith is the only player to be retained by the franchise. Manoj Badale, Co-owner, Rajasthan Royals, said,

“We welcome Steve Smith on board. His presence will mean a lot to the team as we look forward to a fresh beginning and a successful season. Steve has been with the Royals in the past and has done a fantastic job. His experience and leadership qualities will surely drive the Royals towards putting up a great show.” 

Rajasthan Royals, the champions of season one, are known for their valor and fighting spirit. Since its fairytale inaugural season when legendary Shane Warne led a young and restless side to title triumph against all odds, the Royals have created a niche for itself in the IPL. They have nurtured the grassroots, groomed local talents and has been a harbinger of change for many young faces.

Australian all-rounder, Watson was a key player for the team since the inaugural year in 2008, under Shane Warne. Watson resurrected his international career with his stupendous show in 2008 when he scored 472 runs and took 17 wickets to help Rajasthan win the trophy and winning the Man of the Tournament award in the process. Pakistan fast bowler Tanvir with his unorthodox action was another star to don the Rajasthan cap. He emerged as the highest wicket taker in 2008. Yusuf Pathan became a household name with his striking prowess and all round ability. He was the star in the 2008 final against Chennai Super Kings taking 3/22 and smashing 56 runs.

Rahane has used the stage to showcase his talent with brilliant batting performances. Under the guidance of Rahul Dravid in Rajasthan, he has grown as a player. The likes of Rahul Dravid, Shane Warne and Paddy Upton have been associated with the team from time to time. They have been instrumental in building a strong core and ensured that the focus of Rajasthan Royals remains in providing a platform to the youngsters to use it as a springboard to achieve their dreams in international cricket. That has truly been the mantra of Rajasthan Royals.

Our mentors have also thought out-of-the-box and made some bold decisions, like handing a debut to 41-year old Pravin Tambe in 2013. The leg-spinner became the oldest player in IPL and even went on to play for Mumbai in Ranji Trophy the next season.

Rajasthan was quick to realize the leadership potential in Steve Smith and handed over the team’s captaincy even before he was made the Australia captain. It is here that Smith has taken his baby steps as a leader and flourished in the role. Zubin Bharucha, Director of Cricket, Rajasthan Royals, said,

“Steve Smith is already a modern great. Given he was a Royal before embarking on this journey, we are elated to have him back. We feel his winning attitude and innovative skills will be an integral part of the Royals resurgence.”

The Australian captain, Steve Smith has been in ‘Bradmansque’ form in the Ashes and his presence in the Royals team will be a big boost as we look forward to a new beginning. With his strong leadership skills and sensational batting, Smith has played a key role in Australia clinching the Ashes against traditional rivals England.

In the on-going Ashes, Smith has so far amassed 604 runs at an astonishing average of 151 in four Tests with three centuries. The decorated Australia skipper is now the second best to Sir Donald Bradman in the ICC’s all-time batting rankings. At MCG Test, Smith contributed 76 and an unbeaten 102, his 23rd Test ton. It pushed his ranking points to 947, behind Bradman, who reached 961 points in February 1948.

Also, Smith’s four consecutive Test centuries at MCG is a feat previously achieved only by the great Bradman. The 28-year-old has therefore been drawing a comparison with the greatest ever batsman. Smith has also become the joint second fastest cricketer to slam 23 centuries in Test cricket, beating the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammed Yousuf.

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