Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals have released their captain Steve Smith ahead of the 2021 IPL auction.
The Australian star is one of eight players released by Rajasthan ahead of February’s auction in an announcement made on Wednesday.
The Jaipur-based franchise said he will be replaced as skipper by wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson.
Smith had a mixed time with the bat, playing all 14 league matches in last season’s IPL while scoring 311 runs at a strike rate of 131, including three half-centuries.
Under Smith’s leadership in his second spell at the franchise, Rajasthan finished last in the eight-team league.
“We would like to thank all of the players for their effort through the course of the previous seasons, and for always maintaining the Rajasthan Royals values,” the team’s lead owner Manoj Badale said in a statement.
“I would especially like to thank Steve Smith for everything that he has done as a leader and captain of the Royals. His contribution on the field and his contribution off the field… has been immense.”
Although Smith has been dropped, the Royals have retained the England trio of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Jofra Archer.
The West Indies quick Oshane Thomas and Englishman Tom Curran have also been released.