One of the most pressing question that the Rajasthan Royals management must be worried about at this time would to who to appoint as their captain in the upcoming IPL 2019 season. While the BCCI is yet to release the whole IPL schedule, the 12th edition of the tournament is set to start from 23 March.
Rajasthan Royals returned to the IPL in 2018 after serving a two-year ban. They decided to retain Steve Smith as their captain for that edition. But due to the ball-tampering incident, the former Australian captain was unable to participate in the IPL. They appointed Ajinkya Rahane as their new skipper for the 11th edition of the IPL and eventually qualified for the playoffs under his captaincy.
Smith will be completing his one-year suspension on March 29 and is expected to resume the role of the Rajasthan Royals captain in IPL 2019. Steve has a good captaincy record with 16 wins in 24 games with a win percentage of 67. He was the captain of Rising Pune Supergiant when they reached the finals of IPL 2017. His numbers with the bat are also impressive.
However, BCCI may follow Cricket Australia’s regulations which prevent him from taking any leadership role for the next two years. Smith will be most probably part of Australia’s ODI series against Pakistan which will see him leaving the IPl early. Due to these issues, the Royals think-tank may be reluctant to appoint Smith as the captain.
Besides Rahane and Smith, Jos Butler and Ben Stokes are also potential candidates for the captaincy but their availability is limited due to their national commitments and the ICC Cricket World Cup that will take place in England.
Among all these ifs and buts, the Indian Test vice-captain, Ajinkya Rahane is favorite in the race of the captaincy with his good performance as the captain in IPL 2018, making his case even stronger.