Smith available for Royals after clearing concussion tests

FILE PHOTO: Cricket – Third T20 International – England v Australia – Rose Bowl, Southampton, Britain – September 8, 2020 Australia’s Steve Smith walks off after losing his wicket Dan Mullan/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith has been cleared of concussion and will be available for their opening Indian Premier League (IPL) match against Chennai Super Kings on Tuesday, coach Andrew McDonald said.

Middle-order batsman Smith missed Australia’s three-match one-day international series against England earlier this month in Manchester after he was hit on the head by a ball in the nets prior to the tournament.

“Fantastic news that Steve is available,” McDonald said on Monday. “It’s fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK.

“It’s obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game as I’ve said before we are in really good hands.”

This year’s IPL, which was originally scheduled to begin in March in India, is being held in the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith joined the Royals camp last week and has since been monitored by their support staff in consultation with Cricket Australia’s medical team.

The 31-year-old underwent concussion tests on Sunday and was confirmed fit for Tuesday’s match in Sharjah.

“Yeah, (I) obviously missed the last three one-dayers in England. Been in Dubai for a couple of days now with some good rest and then got into a bit of running,” Smith said.

“Yesterday I did a bit of zig-zag running, which is part of the protocols to pass to get back to play and today I’ll have a hit in the nets. Hopefully, pull up well from the hit and be good to play tomorrow.”

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai; Editing by Christian Radnedge