Steve Smith is nearing his return to international cricket with his ongoing suspension coming to an end in March. The Australian batsman was banned for a year alongside David Warner for instigating the entire sandpaper gate incident that happened in a Test match between Australia and South Africa in 2018. Smith is expected to play a part in the upcoming 2019 World Cup, with the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) being his final preparatory stop ahead of the cricketing extravaganza.
Smith was not allowed to play in the IPL 2018 by the BCCI but will make a return to the cash-rich tournament in the 2019 edition. Rajasthan Royals skipper Ajinkya Rahane has said that mistakes can happen by anyone and the team will welcome Smith with love as he is their player and one of their own. Rahane further stated that Smith’s experience and inputs will be beneficial to Rajasthan Royals’ IPL 2019 campaign.
“We all know how good Steve Smith is as a player and what he did in the past for Royals and for Australian cricket. Mistakes can happen and Rajasthan Royals is a team that believes in backing players. Definitely, we will welcome Steve Smith with love because he is our player and he is one of our own. It is good to have him and I’m sure his inputs and experience will benefit us,” Rahane told Hindustan Times.
Rahane thanked the team management and coach Shane Warne for recommending his name for the captaincy in 2018 in the absence of Smith and added that the team did reasonably well due to the fact that Rajasthan Royals were making a comeback to IPL after two years.
“My experience was really good. When I got to know that I am going to lead Rajasthan Royals, I was so happy. All thanks to the management and Shane Warne who recommended my name since Smith was not available. Being a captain I really learned a lot. Our team did really well considering they were making a comeback after two years,” Rahane added.
Rajasthan Royals would be looking to end their barren trophy run in the IPL 2019 since winning the trophy in the inaugural season of the cash-rich tournament.