Australia captain Steve Smith will lead the Rajasthan Royals in the 2018 Indian Premier League season, the club announced on Saturday.
Smith will join Australian spin legend Shane Warne, who was announced as the team’s mentor earlier this year.
The eight teams in the cash-rich IPL – boosted recently by a new five-year $2.5-billion media deal – spent almost $70 million at an auction for players ahead of the Twenty20 tournament, which runs from April 7 to May 27.
“We came to the conclusion that Steven Smith would be the ideal candidate for the job,” Zubin Bharucha, Rajasthan Royals’ head of cricket, said.
“Smith has been incredible as captain of Australia. He is someone who leads the team by example.”
The Australian skipper, in a statement released by the club, said he was looking forward to leading the team.
“It’s an honour and privilege to be leading (the) Royals and I’m looking forward to working with the King (Shane Warne),” Smith said.
In 2008, Warne captained the Royals to victory in the inaugural season of what is now the world’s most watched domestic T20 league.
The Royals, along with the Chennai Super Kings, were banned for two IPL seasons over an illegal gambling scandal.
They have put together a strong squad ahead of their return for the 2018 season, bagging top names like England all-rounder Ben Stokes at the player auction last month.
Australia’s explosive Twenty20 batsman Chris Lynn does not need shoulder surgery, reports said on Friday, boosting his chance of taking up a lucrative Indian Premier League contract.
Lynn consulted with specialists in Brisbane this week to assess his right shoulder which was dislocated when he fell awkwardly playing for Australia against New Zealand in a T20 tri-series final in Auckland on Wednesday.
“Chris got a positive result from the doctors who said he will not need surgery,” Lynn’s manager Stephen Atkinson told Brisbane’s Courier Mail.
“Chris is disappointed at missing the Pakistan Super League but he will be making every effort to play in the Indian Premier League and, if selected, the five one-dayers for Australia in England in June.”
Lynn’s latest setback follows a string of serious shoulder injuries.
He reportedly has some minor nerve inflammation around the joint that is under treatment, and will start rehabilitation work on the shoulder as soon as that settles down.
Heinrich Klaasen could have been a good replacement for Chris Lynn and also solved Lahore's wicket-keeping problems but according to the tournament rules he can't be picked cos he wasn't in the draft. #PSL3— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) February 21, 2018
Although Lynn, 27, has withdrawn from the Pakistan Super League which started in the UAE on Thursday, he is hopeful of joining the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League in the first week in April.
If he withdraws from the IPL without traveling to India he will forfeit his $1.5 million contract, the highest deal for an Australian player for this year’s tournament.
Should he join the team but be ruled out without playing a game, he will receive half of his fee. If he plays a game, he will get the full amount.
The in-demand Lynn has played 12 IPL games, including seven last season when he averaged nearly 50 for the Knight Riders at a sizzling strike rate of 180.
Lynn dislocated his right shoulder while fielding in Australia’s 19-run victory over New Zealand in the tournament final in Auckland on Wednesday.
He has been ruled out of the T20 Pakistan Super League, which he was scheduled to join in the United Arab Emirates next week, and is battling to be fit to play for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL in April.
The dashing T20 specialist was signed by the KKR in a $1.5 million deal in January, making him the costliest Australian at the IPL auction.
“I’m disappointed to not go to the Pakistan Super League as planned, but I’ll now focus on rehabilitation and working as hard as I can, with the hope to still take part in the Indian Premier League later this year,” he said late Wednesday.
Reports said if Lynn, who has a history of shoulder trouble, lands in Kolkata but does not play a match he would receive half his fee. But if he is ruled out before the tournament he will not be paid anything.
“Chris dislocated his right shoulder after landing awkwardly on it when fielding the ball,” Australia team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said in a statement.
“His shoulder was able to be put back into place at the ground and he was consequently sent for X-rays which revealed no major bone injury. At this stage Chris will not travel to the Pakistan Super League in Dubai.”
Lynn will undergo further scans in Brisbane, which will determine his immediate playing future.