New Delhi: The management of the IPL team Rajasthan Royals has decided to replace the team captain midseason. Steve Smith is replacing Ajinkya Rahane as captain for the rest of the matches. Rahane has been informed by the team officials one day before the match against Mumbai Indians.

An inside source said that after several close losses, the team management has decided to take this step and Rahane, as captain, has to pay the price for the poor performances of the entire Rajasthan side.

In the 2019 IPL, Rajasthan Royals have lost a maximum number of matches at the last moments by making some avoidable mistakes. Team management felt that it is a captain's call and that is why they need to replace him. Rahane has always performed well as an opener with his partner Jos Butler.

The source also informed that the management has nurtured a soft corner for Smith and this new decision has been influenced by it considerably. 

It has been learnt that a few support staff were not happy with the management who opted to change the skipper midway through the season.

A former Test cricketer said “A franchise can’t do this with the Test vice-captain of the Indian Team. He has shown his best on the field. Mistakes happen with the bowlers and other players who form the lower order of the batting line up. They cannot chase the target comfortably for the team. So why must the captain pay the price for this...”. In a few matches, Smith could be seen trying to overshadow Rahane on the ground to change fielding positions and try to take charge from him as a skipper. 

Being a batsman Smith has also had a flop IPL season this year. The decision to appoint him captain might be to project him as a leader, which is beneficial for him and for the upcoming World Cup. “After the sandpaper incident and his subsequent ban, Smith has been unable to gain much mileage this IPL as compared to his Aussie partner David Warner who has scored heavily for his IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad. The management might have taken this decision in collaboration with another former overseas cricketer who is also the mentor for the Rajasthan side" the source added.