BESEIGED Australia captain Steve Smith stood down from the captaincy of IPL franchise the Rajasthan Royals on Monday.

The decision was revealed in a statement which said, "It's in the best interest of the Rajasthan Royals that he steps down as Captain so the team can get ready for the start of the IPL without the ongoing distractions."

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Royals' head of cricket Zubin Bharucha said, "The incident in Cape Town has certainly disturbed the cricket world.

We have been in constant touch with the BCCI and taken their counsel. Furthermore we have been in regular contact with Steve."

Royals co-owner Manoj Badale added: "The game is bigger than any individual and we hold this thought close to our heart."