Steve Smith was one of the biggest names to be released in Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 retention event ahead of the mini auctions. Under Smith’s leadership, Rajasthan Royals finished last in the IPL 2020 team standings, and the franchise decided to part ways with the Australian dasher. The Australian dasher couldn’t make a significant mark with the bat as well, scoring 311 runs in the 14 games with three half-centuries. As Sanju Samson has been appointed as the new Rajasthan skipper, the Jaipur-based franchise isn’t likely to get Smith back in the mini-auction which takes place on February 11.
Nevertheless, Smith is still a potent player in the T20 form, and he could well ignite a bidding war in the upcoming mini auctions. The right-handed batsman is known for his excellent temperament, and his unorthodox batting style is a proven headache for the bowlers. From playing an anchor knock to scoring quick runs in end overs, Smith has proved his mettle in all situations. Coming to his numbers, the Aussie star has 2333 runs in 95 matches at an impressive average of over 35 and strike rate touching 130. Hence, his participation in IPL 2021 is inevitable. Meanwhile, let’s look at three teams who can target Steve Smith in the mini auctions. IPL 2021: Full List of Players Released and Retained Ahead of Indian Premier League Season 14 Auction.
Chennai Super Kings – The MS Dhoni-led team suffered their worst IPL campaign in 2020 as they failed to get a spot in playoffs for the very first time. Their fragile middle order was one of the biggest reasons behind their dismal show, and Smith can be the perfect cure. His inclusion in the team will strengthen the batting line-up, and CSK must look to get Smith’s services.
Kolkata Knight Riders – KKR blew hot and cold in IPL 2020 and would like to put up a better show in the upcoming season. With potent names like Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell not performing well, the scoring rate in the middle over was often on the lower side which resulted in the side’s downfall. Hence, the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise has all the reasons to go after Smith.
Kings XI Punjab – Another side which wasn’t up to the mark in IPL 2020 is Kings XI Punjab. Although, KL Rahul and Co fought well in most of the games, their knack of crumbling under pressure cost them many wins. Glenn Maxwell was one of the Punjab’s biggest disappointments previous season, and expectedly, he was released. With Maxwell gone, Punjab can aim his Aussie teammate to add strength to the batting line-up.
Meanwhile, IPL 2021 is expected to take place in India during March-April. The tournament will be crucial for the players as the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 will take place in India later this year. Hence, players of all teams will have a great chance to assess the conditions and impress the national selectors.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 21, 2021 02:09 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).