Steve Smith was retained by the Rajasthan Royals before the IPL 2018 and was named the captain of the team as the team made a comeback into the IPL fold after two year’s absence. However, in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town Test in South Africa, Smith, along with Warner and Bancroft were banned for various degrees.
This also meant that IPL governing council also banned both Smith and Warner from participating in the IPL 2018 and Royals named Ajinkya Rahane their captain. Rahane took the team to the eliminators, where they lost to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Rajasthan has retained Rahane as their captain for IPL 2019 and also launched their new pink colored kit. During the launch of the kit, Rahane was interviewed by Hindustan Times and he talked about the return of Steve Smith and team’s strategies and other things.
Talking about his experience of leading the side, Rahane said, “My experience was really good. When I got to know that I am going to lead Rajasthan Royals, I was so happy. All thanks to the management and Shane Warne who recommended my name since Smith was not available. Being a captain, I really learned a lot. Our team did really well consider they were making a comeback after two years.”
Steve Smith will be eligible to play for the team in IPL 2019 and Rahane talked about his return to the fold.
Rahane said, “We all know how good Steve Smith is as a player and what he did in the past for Royals and for Australian cricket. Mistakes can happen and Rajasthan Royals is a team that believes in backing players. Definitely, we will welcome Steve Smith with love because he is our player and he is one of our own. It is good to have him and I’m sure his inputs and experience will benefit us.”
Talking about his IPL experience and his development as a player, Rahane said, “It’s a different format with people coming from different countries and different cultures. You learn so many things not only on the field but also off it — how they behave, their culture, their attitude towards life and cricket.”
He further said, “Nowadays we play reverse sweeps and switch hits in Test cricket as well. It’s all because of the IPL and the T20 cricket and the innovation that this format offers. It’s so good that whenever you play T20 cricket, you want to stay two-three steps ahead of your opponent. IPL helped me become a very good cricketer in shorter format—T20 and the ODIs.”
He also shared his views on India’s maiden Test series win in Australia and said, “That was the biggest moment in our lives. Playing in Australia you know the kind of challenge you face. It’s not easy to win a series there. Their bowling attack was so good. I thought the manner in which we played our cricket was fantastic.”
Rahane revealed the biggest motivating factor behind the triumph, saying, “First Test match in Adelaide was very important to gather the momentum and from there onwards we were very good and played as a unit. Every batsman did really well. The bowling attack was so impressive. Getting those 20 wickets in the match is never easy. I thought because of our bowlers and their efforts that we did so well in Australia.”