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Embroiled in Pitch Scuffing Controversy, Steve Smith Unlikely to be Retained by Rajasthan Royals in IPL

Currently embroiled in a controversy over scuffing the batting marks of Rishabh Pant in the Sydney Test, Steve Smith is unlikely to be retained by the Rajasthan Royals franchise for the upcoming IPL 2021.

Embroiled in Pitch Scuffing Controversy, Steve Smith Unlikely to be Retained by Rajasthan Royals in IPL

Currently embroiled in a controversy over scuffing the batting marks of Rishabh Pant in the Sydney Test, Steve Smith is unlikely to be retained by the Rajasthan Royals franchise for the upcoming IPL 2021.

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As per a report in ESPNcricinfo, Royals will take a final call shortly, with the deadline for submitting the list of retained players being January 20.

Smith had started IPL 2020 with a couple of half-centuries but went out of form quickly, ending the season with just 311 runs with an average and strike-rate of 25.91 and 131.22 respectively.

Royals already have Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer as their key foreign players. It's reported that they are going for an Indian captain, with Sanju Samson being the frontrunner.

Coach Justin Langer Lashes Out Against Michael Vaughan’s Criticism of Steve Smith

Samson is leading Kerala currently in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, with the team having won two in two matches. He has made 32 and 22 in the two matches, his aggressive approach rubbing off on the rest of his team. Kerala opener Mohammad Azharuddeen's 37-ball ton against Mumbai on Wednesday being an example.

Smith, meanwhile, is making headlines for wrong reasons and has earned the ire of Indian fans. Smith defended his act in the Test - in which he was Man of the Match - saying he was just doing it out of habit.

"I have been quite shocked and disappointed by the reaction to this," Smith himself had told the Daily Telegraph. "It’s something I do in games to visualise where we are bowling, how the batter is playing our bowlers and then out of habit I always mark centre."

Australia coach Justin Langer too had stood by Smith.

"I literally cannot believe some of the rubbish I read about Steve Smith. Absolute load of rubbish. If anyone knows Steve Smith - he is a bit quirky, he does some weird stuff. We have all laughed about it for the last couple of years," said Langer while speaking to the media during a virtual interaction on Wednesday morning.

"I have spoken about it publicly and I have spoken about it privately that he is a bit quirky. What Smith does at the crease, he does at most games.

"Anyone who suggests for one millisecond he was doing anything untoward, they are way out of line. Absolutely out of line. That wicket was so flat... it was like concrete. You need 15 inch spikes to make an indent on the crease."

Langer added that Smith has ensured that his bat does the talking ever since he has returned from the ball-tampering scandal.

"Seriously, I thought that was absolutely ludicrous. In the last couple of years since he's been back, he's been exemplary on and off the field. He has let his bat do the talking, he was abused like anything in England, but he kept smiling and let his bat do the talking. Give me a break."



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