Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 16 October 2021 8.54 AM IST

Sanju Samson named as captain of Rajasthan Royals, first Malayali to become captain of any IPL side


NEW DELHI: Malayali cricketer Sanju Samson has been named as the captain of the IPL team Rajasthan Royals. The decision came after releasing Australian player Steve Smith, who was the team's skipper. The explosive Indian batsman hailing from Vizhinjam lead Kerala in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Sanju is the first Malayali player to be named the captain of any side in the IPL.

After quite a few rounds of discussion, Rajasthan Royals decided to release skipper Steve Smith going into the mini-auction ahead of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League.

Speaking to ANI, sources in the Rajasthan Royals franchise confirmed the development and said that it was a decision taken on the final day before submitting the list to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

"Yes, Smith has been released. It went down to the wire, to be honest. We had discussions on the matter and the call was taken today itself," the source explained.

Former India batsman Aakash Chopra had earlier said that former champions Rajasthan Royals should enter the tournament under the leadership of a new skipper.

Australian batting mainstay Smith led the Royals in last year's IPL. The Rajasthan based side had a topsy-turvy ride in the showpiece event. The Royals were looking good after England's star all-rounder Ben Stokes made a return, but still finished the league at the bottom of the table.

Chopra said a new captain should be on the priority list of the Royals as the team had failed to deliver. The former batsman also listed out a few names which the side must retain ahead of the auction.

"On paper, Rajasthan Royals feels like one of the most complete teams in the IPL, but on the field, the team has failed to impress even its staunch supporters," Chopra said on Star Sports show 'IPL: Retention Special'.

"Though RR had something to cheer about in Rahul Tewatia and Riyan Parag last season, they still finished at the bottom of the table. I feel the team needs a new leader and that has to be at the top of the priority list next season," he further said.

"I think the team should not release their current young talents such as Akash Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Mayank Markande, Anuj Rawat, and Kartik Tyagi," he added.

With the mini-auction inching closer, franchises looking to retain players were asked to complete the process by Wednesday.

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