Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler retained by Rajasthan for 2019 IPL; David Warner and Steve Smith to return
Steve Smith and David Warner set for IPL returns in 2019; a number of England players released from deals
Last Updated: 15/11/18 3:37pm
Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Steve Smith have been retained by Rajasthan Royals for the 2019 Indian Premier League.
Buttler scored 548 runs in 13 innings for the Royals last season, including an IPL-record five fifties in a row, while England team-mate Stokes chipped in with 196 runs and eight wickets.
Former Australia captain Steve Smith missed the 2018 tournament following the ball-tampering scandal - the IPL Governing Council making the call to withdraw him and Sunrisers Hyderabad's David Warner - but the 29-year-old is now in line to make his return next spring, along with Warner.
"It is great to play with Stokesy and I really hope the fans in England will get behind us as players and choose the Royals as their team to support," said Buttler, who helped the Jaipur-based side into the play-offs last term.
"Last season was a fantastic experience. I'm looking to build on that moving into 2019 and hopefully we can go all the way this time."
Zubin Bharucha, head of cricket for Rajasthan Royals, said: "We believe that retaining the likes of Jos and Ben will be vital to the success of the team in the upcoming IPL season. It's fantastic for us to be able to secure such massive names from English cricket.
"Smith is an exceptionally talented batsman, who has a huge amount of experience in the IPL," added Bharucha, whose franchise have also retained Sussex's Barbados-born seamer Jofra Archer.
"He is really excited to be back performing on the biggest stage in T20 cricket and we are extremely pleased to have him in our side."
Chris Woakes, Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Tom Curran are among a number of England players to have been released from franchises.
Woakes has left Royal Challengers Bangalore, with Hales and Chris Jordan departing Sunrisers, Roy and Liam Plunkett leaving Delhi Daredevils, Curran exiting Kolkata Knight Riders and Mark Wood moving on from Chennai Super Kings.
There was better news for Moeen Ali, Sam Billings and David Willey, though, with Ali retained by Royal Challengers and Chennai keeping faith with Billings and Willey.