Smith ready to go in IPL

Star Aussie batsman Steve Smith has been given the green light to play the Indian Premier League opener for the Rajasthan Royals later tonight despite concerns over the effects of a concussion suffered in England.

Royals coach Andrew McDonald, also the senior assistant to Australian coach Justin Langer, confirmed Smith was available to play.

"Fantastic news that Steve is available," McDonald said in a Royals release.

"It's fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK. It is obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game, as I have said before we are in really good hands."

Smith, also the captain of the Royals, arrived in the UAE last week and has been monitored by the Royals support staff in consultation with Cricket Australia's medical team.

After resting for two days on arrival, Smith was put through a significant training session on Sunday in a bid to tick several concussion protocol boxes and was confirmed to be fit enough to train on match eve.

"Yesterday (Sunday) I did a bit of zigzag running, which is part of the protocols to pass to get back to play, and today (Monday) I'll have a hit in the nets," Smith said.

"Hopefully, I will pull up well from the hit and be good to play tomorrow."

 

Smith didn't feature in any of the one-day matches against England after he was struck in the head by a throw down from assistant coach Trent Woodhill.

The 31-year-old passed several concussion tests, but Langer said the protocols were clear.

"The protocols are really strict and sensible and that's how it should be," he said on Monday.

"We saw how unwell he looked, doing his very best to get up and play.

"I said to him when he didn't play the first game it was very likely it wold rule him out for the whole series because we had to play three games in five or six days.

"The protocols are there for a reason. We've been fair and consistent with them. We talk to him every day, and we're looking forward to seeing him at his best during the summer for Australia."

Cricket Australia's head of sports medicine Alex Kountouris said the "conservative" management of Smith was in keeping with a consistent approach to dealing with concussion.

"Cricket Australia has strict protocols when it comes to head impacts and concussions and, as we've seen over the last 12 months, we're not willing to compromise on those," he told The Australian.

"We have done a lot of research over the last few years to better understand head impacts and concussions specific to cricket, and that has helped up in how we manage our players."

 

Originally published as Smith ready to go in IPL


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