Both the franchises that were serving a 2-year ban- Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings will be making a comeback to the latest edition. With the auctions for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 slated to take place in the last week of January, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released the list of players retained by the franchises yesterday.
The inaugural IPL winner Royals made a stunning return to the latest edition of the IPL by retaining talisman Steve Smith for the upcoming edition. He is the only player to be retained by the franchise.
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 that Smith played, he has amassed 1703 runs at an average of 37.02 with one century and five half-centuries. 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, albeit losing to Mumbai Indians, who won it for a record third time.
Speaking about his comeback to the RR franchise, 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.”
Smith, only second best to Don Bradman
The Australian captain, of late, has been in sublime form. And his presence in the Royals team will certainly be a boost. With his strong leadership skills and sensational batting, Smith has played a key role in guiding Australia to reclaim the Ashes urn against traditional rivals England.
The decorated Australia skipper is now the second best to Sir Donald Bradman in the ICC’s all-time batting rankings. In the 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.