Former Australia skipper Steve Smith has resumed batting in the nets, thus giving a huge boost to his country and IPL team Rajasthan Royals. Smith was looking set to spend a long time on the sidelines after undergoing a major surgery on his problematic elbow. The Australia star had suffered the injury while plying his trade in the Bangladesh Premier League. Consequently, he had to return home midway through the competition and also missed the ongoing Pakistan Super League where he was set to play for Multan Sultans.
There were also apprehensions that Smith might take a long time to recover and could thus miss the IPL and the subsequent World Cup if he is selected in the team. However, the right-handed batsman handed a huge boost to his national and IPL teams by positing a clip on his Instagram account. Smith could be seen having a hit in the nets wearing his New South Wales shirt.
“Great to have my first hit back,” he wrote. “The elbow is feeling good!”
Smith and David Warner, meanwhile, have entered the final month of the year-long bans they are serving as part of Cricket Australia’s response to the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal. The ban will end on March 28, meaning the duo will be eligible to play the last two games of the five-match series against Pakistan in UAE.
Australia head coach Justin Langer, nonetheless, has hinted that the two players are unlikely to play against Pakistan and can make their return through the IPL. Both the players had missed the last year’s IPL after the BCCI did not give them the permission but were retained by their respective franchises. Smith will play for Rajasthan Royals this season while Warner will be donning the Sunrisers Hyderabad jersey.
“From all accounts they should both be ready for the IPL, which is really positive,” Langer said. “Dave’s probably a little more advanced but my understanding is they’ll be ready to go in the not-too-distant future.”
The IPL will start on March 23 with defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opener.