"Rajasthan Royals will do everything possible to protect the values and the integrity of the game," said the team's co-owner Manoj Badale. "We agree with Steve's decision to step down as captain, and we are fortunate to have such a capable successor with Ajinkya Rahane." Badale added: "What happened in South Africa was clearly wrong, especially given that it appears to have been pre-meditated. That said, this will be a difficult time for Steve as well, given how much he cares about the game."
Steven Smith took the decision in the best interest of Rajasthan Royals, ensuring that the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions, the franchise's head of cricket stated. https://t.co/rX5UTwiMei https://t.co/3vsJ2Zxr1P— Cricbuzz (@cricbuzz) March 26, 2018
Smith is a hugely popular player in India and last year featured for Rising Pune Supergiants alongside England's Ben Stokes, who is also with the Royals this year. The controversy surrounding Smith exploded on day three of the Cape Town Test on Saturday, when Australia's Cameron Bancroft was caught using yellow tape to alter the condition of the ball before hiding it in his underwear. Smith took full responsibility for Bancroft's actions, admitting the move was planned with the national team's "leadership group" and was "a big mistake".
Ajinkya Rahane replaces Steve Smith as Rajasthan Royals captain after ball-tampering scandalReport: https://t.co/v8J7DpBHHe pic.twitter.com/WrHhRRAeTR — The Field (@thefield_in) March 26, 2018
https://t.co/qBQbgUFb2u pic.twitter.com/iy3sMVWlc1 — Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) March 26, 2018Australia's senior opening batsman David Warner stepped down from the vice-captain's post over the scandal but escaped punishment by the ICC. A decision on Warner's role as skipper of IPL side Sunrisers Hyderabad is awaited. Cricket Australia is also investigating the actions of Smith and his Australian teammates.