Steve Smith to lead Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018
IPL 2018

Steve Smith to lead Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2018

Australia captain Steve Smith will lead the Rajasthan Royals in the 2018 Indian Premier League season, the club announced Saturday.

Smith will join Australian spin legend Shane Warne, who was announced as the team's mentor earlier this year.

The eight teams in the cash-rich IPL – boosted recently by a new five-year $2.5-billion media deal – spent almost $70 million at an auction for players ahead of the Twenty20 tournament, which runs from April 7 to May 27.

"We came to the conclusion that Steve Smith would be the ideal candidate for the job," Zubin Bharucha, Rajasthan Royals' head of cricket, said Saturday.

"Smith has been incredible as captain of Australia. He is someone who leads the team by example."

The Australian skipper, in a statement released by the club, said he was looking forward to leading the team.

"It's an honour and privilege to be leading (the) Royals and I'm looking forward to working with the King (Shane Warne)," Smith said.

In 2008, Warne captained the Royals to victory in the inaugural season of what is now the world's most watched domestic T20 league.

The Royals, along with the Chennai Super Kings, were banned for two IPL seasons over an illegal gambling scandal.

They have put together a strong squad ahead of their return for the 2018 season, bagging top names like England allrounder Ben Stokes at the player auction last month.