February 25, 2021

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IPL 2021: Why Delhi Capitals signed Steve Smith after Rajasthan Royals release

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Delhi Capitals signed Steve Smith after he was released by Rajasthan Royals (Picture: Getty)

Delhi Capitals owner Parth Jindal says it was ‘incredible’ to sign Steve Smith for the 2021 Indian Premier League after the Australia batsman was released by Rajasthan Royals.

Smith was the first player sold in Thursday’s auction, bought by former Australia captain Ricky Ponting’s Delhi for around £220,000.

The 31-year-old was on more than £1.2million at Rajasthan but was released from the franchise after an underwhelming 2020 campaign in which he scored 311 runs in 14 innings, with the team finishing bottom of the IPL table.

‘It was just incredible to get Steve Smith,’ Delhi Capitals chief Jindal said. ‘Everyone associated with Delhi is just thrilled.

‘We are shocked that he only went for Rs 2.2 crore but to get a player of the calibre of Steve Smith, it’s going to add a lot to our squad, a lot to our balance. His leadership, his batting, his experience, everything.

‘We discussed Smith’s name before the auction and we thought that he would go for much higher, so we had thought that if an opportunity arises, we will bid, but we never anticipated actually getting him.’

Joining Smith in Delhi will be England team-mates Tom Curran and Sam Billings, and domestic stars Lukman Meriwala, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, and Manimaran Siddharth.

Ponting’s Delhi reached the IPL final last year and retained South Africa bowler Kagiso Rabada, India batsman Prithvi Shaw, Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and West Indies star Shimron Hetmyer for the 2021 edition.

Discussing the Delhi Capitals squad as a whole, Jindal added: ‘I think it’s a very exciting squad yet again.

‘Meriwala has been doing really well in the domestic tournaments and he’s an Indian left-arm quick which we didn’t have in our squad last year.

England white-ball star Sam Billings was also signed by Delhi Capitals (Picture: Getty)

‘He gives us an added variation and Tom Curran has the cutters, the slower ones, the quick ones and he’s very good with the bat as well. So he gives that added balance to the squad.’

Smith was one of eight Australians picked up at the IPL auction, with Glenn Maxwell and Jhye Richardson landing huge deals at Royal Challengers Bangalore and Punjab Kings respectively.

Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch, Test star Marnus Labuschagne and wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey were all unsold.

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