Rajasthan Royals is back to IPL after a ban of couple of years. In the latest auction this year, the team retained Steven Smith, using the new rule of players retainment. Smith was with Rajasthan Royals before the ban. In the following years, while the team dropped away from the tournament, Smith was inducted to Rising Pune Supergiant. He took over captainship from MS Dhoni in the last season. Under his leadership, the team witness a hefty change finishing as the first runners up in 2017. Now, as the player is back to Rajasthan Royals, he is made the captain of his previous squad. Smith was retained by the franchisee for INR 12 Crore.
Rajasthan Royals was suspended from participating from IPL following the scandal that rocked the tournament back in 2013. The team had top players like Ajinkya Rahane and Ben Stokes. The former led the team in its early seasons. Ben Stokes is another high-profile player in the squad, but there is no conformation of his participation yet. The team is waiting for the judgement on the player for his infamous ‘Bristol Brawl’. However, he is not replaced with other players.
IPL 2018 to host Women T20 matches as exhibition fixtures
In another development, BCCI is trying out its stroke to bring on women cricket in IPL landscape. In this season, a number of women T20 matches will be played as exhibition matches. These fixtures are scheduled in the knock-out phase of the tournament. With this attempt, BCCI is setting a stage for women IPL in the line of WBBL, which is immensely successful in Australia. The idea of women exhibition matches was proposed in the previous season as well, but no conclusion was drawn out on it. This season, the CoA, Committee of Administration is strongly backing up the cause for women cricket.
There are also chances of international players participating in the scheduled exhibition matches. It will be an event hosting women player from England and Australia as they will be in the country to play a tri-series. BCCI administration is backing up the growth of women cricket inviting top team to the country. It is also expected that teams like South Africa Women will also arrive in India to play bilateral series with the home team.