Steve Smith-less Rajasthan Royals ‘prepared’ for IPL 2018

Jaipur : Rajasthan Royals Head of Cricket Zubin Bharucha on Saturday said that the team will not feel the absence of Steve Smith as a batsman but the stature of the player will be missed.

“When we go to auction, we always look for backups. There are certain players like all-rounders, who you don’t have many, that person you will miss, but we have dozens of quality batsman in India. So we will not miss anybody,” Bharucha told reporter here.

He added, “Obviously we miss stature of a player like Smith and the quality he brings but as a team, we are absolutely prepared and we obviously got his replacement as Heinrich Klaasen. So, strategically there has been no change.”

Australian batsman Smith was to earlier captain the side but was barred from participating in the upcoming IPL season by the BCCI after Cricket Australia (CA) handed him a one-year ban for his role in the massive ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane was promoted as the skipper of the Rajasthan Royals (RR) following the ball-tampering fallout.

Rahane did not comment on one-year-ban handed to Smith but added that the former Australian skipper should still be respected as a player for his outstanding cricket figures.

“I just want to say that whatever has to happen happened, Cricket Australia took their decision, ICC they took their decision but it’s time to respect Smith as a batsman, as a player and give him that space now,” Rahane said.

The IPL 2018 season will begin from April 7. Rajasthan Royals (RR) will play their opening match against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 9. (ANI)