IPL 2020: Rajasthan Royals confident of Steve Smith playing their opening game after missing England ODIs

IPL 2020: Rajasthan Royals confident of Steve Smith playing their opening game after missing England ODIs

Royals are slated to start their IPL 2020 campaign on September 22nd against Chennai Super Kings in Sharjah.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith. (Photo: IANS)

Steve Smith was sidelined from the One-day International series against England after being struck in the head by a throwdown from new assistant coach Trent Woodhill. Despite clearing multiple concussion tests, Smith was deemed unfit to play in a single ODI game against England, leading to his deletion from the three-game series.

Smith is reportedly still experiencing concussion symptoms and he’ll have to recover fully before returning to action for Rajasthan Royals in this year’s Indian Premier League. The Rajasthan franchise is slated to start its IPL 2020 campaign on September 22nd against Chennai Super Kings in Sharjah.

Despite the concussion clouds looming on Smith’s head, Royals are confident about the Australian’s availability in their opening fixture. This isn’t the first time when Smith has endured a concussion. He was also hit on the side of the head below the helmet by Jofra Archer at Lord’s during Ashes 2019. Initially cleared to return to the middle to complete his innings, Smith was ruled out of the Test and substituted by Marnus Labuschagne on Day 5.

This time around, Smith had a shorter time to recover during the limited-overs series against England. He struggled physically following running and net sessions ahead of the final ODI, and was eventually ruled out by the medical staff.

Steve Smith’s progress will be monitored by medical staff in UAE

“Steve is making progress and working with our medical team through the concussion protocols required to return to play,” CA’s head of sports science Alex Kountouris said as quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “Unfortunately, he was not ready to play the final ODI against England. We are working collaboratively with his IPL franchise on his return to play from here once he arrives in the UAE,” he added.

Upon his arrival in the UAE, Smith’s progress will be monitored by the medical staff and also the Royals’ head coach Andrew McDonald, who is also Justin Langer’s senior assistant with Australia. Smith is also expected to be at his best for the home summer, where Australia will battle against India. Smith had missed the 2018-19 series against Virat Kohli and Co due to the CA-imposed ban for his involvement in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.