This is Royals' first year back in the IPL after a two-year suspension for their role in the 2013 corruption scandal. Smith had played for Royals before their suspension, so he qualified to be retained by them. He has filled in as captain for them in seasons past, but was never full-time leader.
In the interim, he had played for Rising Pune Supergiant, captaining them in 2017 in place of MS Dhoni. That seemed to trigger a dramatic turnaround for the franchise; they went from finishing second to last in 2016 to making the final in 2017, which they lost by one run.
Other high-profile options to lead Royals included India batsman Ajinkya Rahane and England allrounder Ben Stokes. Stokes' chances would have been diminished though, given there remains a chance he might miss the tournament due to the legal proceedings concerning the charge of affray against him. The IPL has said Royals would be allowed a replacement player for Stokes only if he is ruled out of the tournament before it begins as a result of the legal proceedings.
For Rajasthan Royals' full squad, click here.