Steve Smith was used as an IPL pawn to snare Glenn Maxwell for millions, as footage emerged showing why the run machine was snubbed.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have released a video showing why they snubbed Steve Smith in the Indian Premier League auction — and how they planned to use him as a pawn for their own benefit.
Smith copped a $2. 1 million pay cut at Thursday’s IPL auction, the Delhi Capitals securing the batsman for just AU$389,000.
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It’s hardly an amount to sneer at, but represents a sizeable discount from the Aussie’s recent $2.5 million deal with the Rajasthan Royals.
Smith was cut by the Royals after a disappointing IPL last year and needed to accept a salary reduction to get a gig in this year’s edition of the high-profile T20 tournament.
He passed 50 just three times in 14 matches in 2020 as Rajasthan finished bottom of the ladder.
RCB didn’t want Smith because it is already stacked with batting talent — including Indian captain Virat Kohli and South African superstar AB de Villiers — and when discussing who to buy in last week’s auction, needed a batter who could also bowl.
Smith occasionally trots out his part-time leggies but would not bowl in the high-stakes world of the IPL — all the reason RCB coach Mike Hesson needed ti snub 31-year-old.
“Smith doesn’t bowl … very clear,” Hesson says in a video published by the IPL franchise on its social media channels. “Whoever bats there has to be able to bowl.
“All of the stats we’re doing is around batting, but they have to be a bowling option.”
RCB was hellbent on buying Glenn Maxwell and they used Smith to try and drag teams away from bidding for the Australian all-rounder.
“The best thing we can do is make a bid early for Steve Smith and then get out. If CSK (Chennai Super Kings) buy him, for example, they can’t go for Maxwell,” Hesson says at the discussion table.
“They’re the only one at the moment that can outbid us for Maxwell.
“What we don’t want, what’s the worst result, is that whole first group goes by and no one buys anything. So if we can get somebody to buy somebody in that first round, it’s a big win for us.”
Hesson and Co. agreed to make an early bid for Smith to drive up his asking price and convince rival franchises not to let RCB get away with buying him for a basement bargain dollar amount.
If, unexpectedly, nobody else came back with a return offer, then RCB were happy to take the Australian run machine for peanuts. But Hesson was confident that wouldn’t happen, and turned out to be correct as Delhi came calling with a bid of $389,000.
That left enough room in the salary cap for RCB to buy Maxwell, who earnt a $2.5 million payday despite being cut by Kings XI Punjab after a disastrous streak last season that saw him score just 108 runs at 15.4 in 13 matches.
Australian fast bowlers Jhye Richardson ($2.48m, Kings XI Punjab) and Riley Meredith ($1.4m, Kings XI Punjab) were the other big winners on auction day.