Captain of Rajasthan Royals Steve Smith hits a boundary.
Steve Smith slipped up with Rajasthan Royals at the IPL in 2020 Image Credit: Sportzpics for BCCI

Dubai: Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has hinted that batsman Steve Smith might pull out of the Indian Premier League 2021 citing injury after being picked for a relatively small amount at the auction.

Smith, the Australian batting mainstay was picked for Rs2.2 crore (approx $400,000) by Delhi Capitals at Thursday’s auction after he was released by Rajasthan Royals for below-par performance in IPL 2020. Rajasthan, who retained Smith in 2018 for Rs12.5 crore, finished at the bottom in the points table in 2020 under Smith’s captaincy in the UAE.

“I know his T20 performances haven’t been as good as he would have liked. Last year’s IPL wasn’t great. I’m very surprised he has gone for the amount of money he has, just under $400,000 — which is still good money,” said Clarke on the Big Sports Breakfast Podcast after calling Smith among the top three batsmen in the world. “But when you look at what he was getting (last season) and his role as captain of Rajasthan, don’t be surprised if there’s a little hamstring strain the day the plane is meant to fly to India.”

Smith made 311 runs at 25.91 in last year’s IPL in 14 matches, scoring just three half-centuries. “You talk about Steve Smith — if he’s not the best batsman in the world, he’s not far away. Virat Kohli is No. 1, but Smithy is in the top three,” Clarke added.