Royals sign Lehman for cover
Rajasthan Royals have roped in former Australian batsman Darren Lehman as replacement for South African captain Graeme Smith for their first two matches in the Indian Premier League.
Smith has returned to his country after the recent Test series against India and will turn out for Cape Cobras in the South African domestic Pro 20 tournament which is at the semifinals stage.
He will rejoin the Jaipur team, led by Australian spin legend Shane Warne from April 24, a release said.
"Graeme Smith of the Rajasthan Royals will be replaced by Australian batsman Darren Lehman for their first two matches and will rejoin the team from April 24," it said.
Cricket South Africa had instructed its national players to fulfill their domestic commitments before turning out for their IPL franchises.
Interestingly, Smith's Cape Cobras team-mates Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Ashwell Prince were cleared by their domestic team to play in the IPL from the beginning as they were not named in the squad for Pro 20 semifinal on April 18.
Kallis and Boucher will play for Bangalore Royal Challengers while Ashwell Prince will turn out for Mumbai Indians.
The 38-year-old Lehman played 27 Tests and 117 one-day internationals for Australia and was part of the Aussie World Cup-winning squads in 1999 and 2003.
Smith will miss Rajasthan Royals' opening fixture against Delhi Daredevils at Ferozeshah Kotla on April 19 as well as the home match against Kings XI Punjab two days later.
He is expected to be back in time for the game against Deccan Chargers on April 24 in Hyderabad.