Jaipur: Steve Smith has laid to rest concerns about his fitness and form ahead of Australia’s Cricket World Cup title defence and said he is two weeks away from completely recovering from the elbow surgery he underwent earlier this year.
The 29-year-old scored a match-winning unbeaten 59 on Saturday, hours after being named the captain of the Rajasthan Royals, replacing Ajinkya Rahane at the helm for the remainder of the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League.
Smith underwent the operation in January to repair a ligament in his right elbow while he was serving his 12-month international ban for ball tampering that ended last month.
“I still have to play quite heavily strapped, there’s still a few issues with throwing, but I am getting there slowly,” he said after the win against Mumbai Indians.
“I can’t throw full tilt yet, but in a couple of weeks, I should be able to throw at full pace, which is going to be nice.”
Smith, who has been named in Australia’s squad for the May 30-July 14 World Cup, has not been his prolific self with the bat and Saturday’s knock was only his second fifty in this year’s IPL.
“I feel like I’m getting better and better, the way I’m hitting the ball,” he said. “More importantly, my mind is probably getting better and better, the decisions I’m making.”
Having secured a much-needed victory against Mumbai Indians, Royals will look to continue with the winning momentum against an in-form Delhi Capitals (DC) on Monday.
Rajasthan have six points from nine games and need to win all their remaining games to make it to the play-offs.
On the other hand, Delhi Capitals are also riding high on confidence, having turned around their poor home form and defeating Kings XI Punjab in their last encounter.
Delhi would be hoping that Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer, who starred with the bat against Punjab, continue with their good batting run. In the bowling department, they have purple cap holder Kagiso Rabada, who has a knack of taking crucial wickets, and spinners like Sandeep Lamichhane and Amit Mishra who have the ability to turn the game on its head.
Delhi are currently at the third spot with 12 points from 10 games and would like to win at least two more games to seal their berth in the top four.