Ajinkya Rahane is likely lead IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals in case an under-fire Steve Smith loses captaincy after admitting to ball tampering during the ongoing going third Test against South Africa in Cape Town. The ICC on Sunday handed Smith a one-Test suspension and docked his full match fees as per its code of conduct. The BCCI and Royals heaved a sigh of relief after Smith escaped with a mild punishment. However, there is a school of thought in BCCI that if Smith himself decides to quit captaincy, Royals should be okay with it as they have a ready replacement in Rahane. "Now the ball is completely in Rajasthan Royals' court. Yes, Smith was dishonest in allowing a youngster to tamper with the ball. He has set a very bad example but Rajasthan's plans revolve around Smith," a senior BCCI official told news agency PTI.
"We think Rajasthan will like to start with a clean slate without any controversy. So it would be easier if Smith decides to play as a batsman only and let someone else take over the mantle of captaincy," the official said.
India's Test vice-captain Rahane is also saleable as a brand -- a must for all IPL franchises.
Rahane was one of Royals' premier performer before they were banned for two years in the wake of the 2013 spot-fixing scandal.
(With PTI Inputs)