Rajasthan Royals releasing Steve Smith was the most unusual release this year. No one in their dream would have thought about RR and Smith parting their ways. Smith had always been in the plans of RR. He was the only person whom they retained when they were back in the IPL. They made him the captain in the mid of the 2019 season by replacing Ajinkya Rahane.
But in the end, RR has finalized the story. Steve Smith will wear a different jersey this time. Sanju Samson will lead the Rajasthan Royals this time.
Rajasthan is not the first team to release their captain. Few other franchises have also done this in the past. KKR bid adieu to Saurav Ganguly and made Gautam Gambhir the captain in 2011. They again released Gambhir and made Dinesh Karthik the captain. KXIP and DC have done this in the past numerous times.
But RR has made Sanju Samson the captain of the team, who is yet to secure his place in the Indian national team. It is the same script that was followed by Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals previously. MI made Rohit Sharma the captain in 2013, and DC made Shreyas Iyer the captain in 2018.
We are trying to look at some franchises that would be gazing at Steve Smith in the auction.
Chennai Super Kings
No one knows if this would be the last IPL of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. But if this is the end of the Dhoni era, then CSK will need to find a new captain.
Both of them have played under each other’s captaincy at the Rising Pune Supergiant. CSK can pick Steve Smith this year and ask him to play under Dhoni’s captaincy. This way, he will get to know about in and out of the franchise and players. Next year in the mega auction, CSK can retain him or use an RTM for him.
CSK needs a batsman like Steve Smith in the middle. He knows the art of adapting his game according to the situation and can switch gears very swiftly. Plus, he will get a lot of amount of international experience to the table. CSK is a franchise which likes to place their bet on experienced players.
CSK only has a slot for one foreign player, and they have a budget of around 20 crores. CSK management will, without a doubt, spend this much amount of money to get him.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB released ten players, got Daniel Sams and Harshal Patel from Delhi Capitals, and they have 14 players now.
They released players who were part of their core team last year. They are again going to build a new core team this year.
RCB is a champion in doing these kinds of stuff. They have in the past released a lot of players who went to perform superbly for other franchises.
A player like Smith would be a good option for them. Smith can be the answer to the problems that they have in the middle order. Kohli and AB will play their natural game if they have Smith coming at number 4 or 5.
And who would not want to see Kohli, AB, and Smith playing for the same franchise? It would be like a treat for all the cricket fans around the world.
RCB has a budget of around 30 crores with them. They won’t mind spending a bit on a player like Smith. They can purchase three international players in the auction. Out of these, one might be Steve Smith.
Kings XI Punjab
With the amount of money that KXIP has in their hand, they can go for anyone and everyone. They have 53.20 crores in their hand for the auctions. They can handpick five international players for their team.
The international players that they have are Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, and Chris Jordan. Apart from KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, they don’t have any experienced players at the top.
They will need to find few players who can solve the puzzle of the middle-order for them. With the amount of money they have, they can easily pick some hot assets in the auction.
Steve Smith would be an asset for them. He will not only bring the experience of handling the middle order, but he will also get some leadership experience with him.
KL Rahul is a new captain, and he might need a deputy. Currently, no one is there who can be the vice-captain for them. Steve Smith would be the perfect answer to this problem as well.
Apart from these three teams, no other team can fit a batsman like Steve Smith in their XI. These teams have a deficit, and Steve Smith would perfectly fit in to fill that.