Jaipur (Rajasthan) [India], January 20 (ANI): Rajasthan Royals have named Sanju Samson as their captain for the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after releasing last edition skipper Steve Smith from the squad on Wednesday.
The side has retained 17 players which includes a good mix of Indian and international players. Apart from Smith, the Royals have released seven players including Ankit Rajpoot, Oshane Thomas, Varun Aaron and Tom Curran.
The foreign list of retained players includes Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Jofra Archer. All three English players performed well for the Royals in the last tournament and have been good contributors to the team in the past three years.
MVP Jofra Archer, was the top wicket-taker for the Royals in 2020 with twenty wickets, while Buttler and Stokes have been vital contributors in the Royals' important wins in the recent past. In addition to the English trio, David Miller and Andrew Tye have been retained too.
The Royals' new captain, Sanju Samson spoke on his appointment and the new challenge that awaits him in the coming season: "It's an absolute honour to have been announced as the captain of Rajasthan Royals. It's a team that is so close to my heart, which I've been lucky enough to play for over the years, and I'm excited about the challenge that lies ahead of me as the leader of the team. The Royals have had some wonderful captains over the years and I'm so grateful for all the time I've spent working with and learning from great leaders like Rahul Dravid, Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane and Steve Smith!! I now cannot wait to get started and look forward to the season ahead."
Commenting on the releases and retention for the season, lead owner -- Rajasthan Royals, Manoj Badale said, "We're happy to retain the core of our squad ahead of IPL 2021. We've got a talented group that underperformed overall last season and will be wanting to correct that. It is a well-balanced squad and we are excited for the season ahead.
"I would especially like to thank Steve Smith for everything that he has done as a leader and captain of the Royals. His contribution on the field, and his contribution off the field, especially towards the development of some of our young players, both as a captain and mentor has been immense," he added.
The Jaipur-based franchise has also appointed Kumar Sangakkara as director of cricket.
Retained players: Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Robin Uthappa.
Released Players: Steve Smith, Ankit Rajpoot, Oshane Thomas, Akash Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Anirudha Joshi, Shashank Singh. (ANI)