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Steve Smith returns to IPL joins Rajasthan Royals’ pre-tournament camp

Australian cricketer Steve Smith, who was not allowed to play in IPL last year after the ball tampering ban, arrived in Jaipur on Sunday to join the Rajasthan Royals’ pre-tournament camp for the 2019 edition.

Australian cricketer Steve Smith arrived in Jaipur on Sunday to join the Rajasthan Royals’ pre-tournament camp. Royals brand ambassador Shane Warne during an interaction with news agency PTI said he expects the 29-year-old to raise the level of his game for the franchise.

“He (Smith) will be so excited to turn up and play cricket. That’s what he loves doing and that’s what he is very very good at. Smith and Warner are two of the best players in world cricket, I think Smith will be giving a lot and integrate with the team,” the legendary spinner said.

Both Smith and Warner will soon complete their one-year international ban for their involvement in ball tampering scandal in South Africa last year. After being invited by Australia team coach Justin Langer, the duo flew to UAE and spent some time with the team. Because of the ball tampering ban, they were not included in the IPL squad last year.

With Ashton Turner unavailable for the first three fixtures due to Australia’s limited-overs series against Pakistan, Smith along with Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer will be key overseas players for the Royals.

This is the only tournament Smith will be featuring in ahead of the World Cup and he would like to make the most out of this opportunity to get his groove back.

“Having Smith’s experience around and his hunger and passion as the only cricket that is before the World Cup will be a big thing for him. I have no doubt that Smith and Warner will get back to their best as they were before,” Warne said.

Speaking on Turner’s absence, Warne said, “He is class. You saw in Mohali what Ashton Turner can do. He is a very good leader. He has got an old head on his shoulders and is a terrific buy for RR. We always had one or two terrific buys. But I think he is playing against Pakistan in Dubai till April 1. So basically he misses the first three games. He is terrific back-up.”

“If Turner gets a few more big scores (vs Pakistan), he could be pushing for selection. You have four overseas selections, so Butler is in, Stokes is in, Jofra Archer so there is three and then you have Steve Smith’s class, so you have four. He will be pushing for WC selection for every game that he performs,” he added.

ccording to the former right-armer, Royals in this edition have fielded one of their “strongest squads.”

“I think when you look back to Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, they have generally been the underdogs. They haven’t always spent much money buying players. We haven’t generally had the big international or big Indian players. But I think, this year, this is the strongest squad that Royals have put together. They have spent a lot of money on some big Indian players, when you look at the squad — Rahul Tripathi, Jos Butler, Sanju Samson. A lot of people are tipping Royals to win it and I think they are one of the favourites this year,” he said.


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