BANGALORE: Steve Smith said his elbow was fine after landing on it heavily despite still recovering from surgery, as he prepares for his final Indian Premier League (IPL) game of the season before joining Australia’s World Cup squad.
Rajasthan Royals captain Smith took a brilliant diving catch to dismiss compatriot David Warner, but in the process gave the Australian camp a scare when he appeared to injure his elbow again.
He received medical treatment and returned to bat as the Royals chased down the target to beat Sunrisers Hyderabad with five balls to spare.
“I just landed on it quite heavily, more heavily than I had landed on it previously,” Smith told reporters ahead of his side’s game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday.
Former Australian captain Smith underwent an 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. “From the surgery I have still got some scar tissue and stuff in there, and just the impact of the landing affected it a little bit. But there is nothing wrong with it — all good.”
The 29-year-old has shown signs of returning to his best with two fifties in his last four innings for the Royals in the IPL.
“The start of the tournament did not go as well as I would have liked,” he said. “But I think the more I have padded up, the better I have felt as the tournament has gone on. I’ve been able to contribute to a couple of wins in the last two matches and felt very good.”
Smith said he is not yet able to throw with full force and has had to take close fielding positions in the IPL this season, although that aspect of his game is fast improving.
Meanwhile, Warner will head to the World Cup in red hot form after signing off from the IPL with a 56-ball 81 for the Sunrisers on Monday. The left-hander’s eighth half-century in 12 matches took his tally this season to a league-high 692 runs and helped fourth-placed Sunrisers stay in contention for a playoff spot with a 45-run home victory over Kings XI Punjab.
The 32-year-old, who returned to the game after his 12-month ball-tampering ban ended last month, has also scored a century in the tournament and said he was delighted to be among the runs ahead of the World Cup starting in England and Wales on May 30.
“It’s great to get out there and do your job properly... I’m just glad I can put some runs on the board,” man-of-the-match Warner said during the post-match presentation ceremony.
The opener said he was a more developed batsman having worked on his skills during his time away.
“I think it goes back to being still as a batsman. I have the tendency to move around a little bit if I get one or two dots on me. I get a rush of blood,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of time off to work harder at my game. I put the bat down for a good 16-18 weeks and worked hard at being the best dad I could and the best husband and I don’t know, it’s worked for me.”
Warner will return home this week to begin preparations for the World Cup where five-time champions Australia will look to defend their crown.
“We’re the reigning champions so for us it’s going out there and backing our ability ... I’m looking forward to that and this is a great stepping stone,” Warner added. “This World Cup, you’ll see some high scores. For a batter hopefully the ball isn’t swinging too much. Playing in England, they’re obviously a fantastic team.”
Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2019