Bengaluru, April 29: Steve Smith, the Rajasthan Royals captain, said on Monday (April 29) that the IPL 2019 has given him a good preparation ground for the ICC World Cup 2019 beginning in England from May 30.
Smith will play his last game of this IPL season against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Bengaluru on Tuesday (April 30) before flying out to join his Australia mates for a three-match warm-up ODIs against New Zealand.
On how his elbow holding up: All good. Just landed on it quite heavily (in the match against Hyderabad). In fact, more heavily than I had landed on it previously. Obviously from 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. And I am throwing at probably 70 or 80%. So, a couple of weeks and should be back to throwing at 100%.
On his recovery process: I was a little bit restricted throwing at the start of the tournament and I have gradually built it throughout where I have been able to field at more hot spots where I have been able to field at mid-off more and things like that. I haven’t gone out of the circle but I have still been involved more in the game which has been nice. I think just the loads from batting and stuff is good for the elbow to keep the rehab ticking along. It’s all going really well, I am happy with that.
How do you sum up your season? I have probably taken a little while to sort of warm into things again. The start of the tournament did not go as well as I would have like personally or collectively as a group. But I think ya the more I have padded up the better I have felt as the tournament as gone on. I’ve been able to contribute to a couple of wins probably in the last two matches. Felt very good. For us, collectively as a group now, we have won three out of the last four and it is very important for us to win the last two games to give ourselves a chance to qualify. You know we can’t think about other results, all we can focus is on how we are playing and hopefully the boys can get over the line tomorrow night and then go and win Delhi as well and give ourselves a chance to qualify.
On whether IPL before the World Cup an ideal preparation: I think T20 cricket almost prepares you well for 50-over cricket nowadays, the way the game is played. 50 overs is almost an extended version of T20 I think. The game has evolved particularly over the past few years. So, ya I think it may be a good preparation personally for me to be able to play and then just spend time in the middle and things like that in white ball cricket against quality opposition – best players from India and around the world. Preparation-wise I’m really comfortable. I head home and we have three matches against New Zealand and a couple of warm-up matches when we get to England – plenty of time to prepare and be ready to play.
On Shreyas Gopal: He has been terrific for us. Every time we have given him the ball, he has done a job for us. He has taken wickets, big wickets mind you. He has got big players out, which is really important. We are confident in his skill-set. He is bowling good variations, both in his pace and different ball, googlies and sliders and leg-spinners. He is mixing things up which I think is what you need to do as a leg-spinner. I think his batting is underrated as well. He has come in and played some very handy cameos for us that have helped us get over the line on a couple of occasions and taken some really good catches throughout the tournament. He is a complete package that’s been huge for us this year. I think he is going to take a lot of confidence from the way he has bowled throughout the season and hopefully take that to the future.