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Steve Smith expected to play in the remainder of IPL 2021, Aaron Finch eyes return by T20 World Cup

Star Australia batsman Steve Smith is expected to return to action for the completion of IPL 2021, while Aaron Finch is eyeing full recovery before the start of the T20 World Cup.
Steve Smith (right) expected to play in the remainder of IPL 2021, Aaron Finch (let) eyes return by T20 World Cup(AGENCIES/HT COLLAGE)
Published on Aug 18, 2021 01:17 PM IST

Star Australia batsman and former captain Steve Smith is expected to return to action for the completion of IPL 2021. The right-hander, who is currently recuperating from an elbow injury, has been building up batting time in the nets lately. His compatriot Aaron Finch, who recently had surgery on his left knee, is confident of being fit before the World Cup.

Smith skipped Australia's tour of the Caribbean and Bangladesh due to an issue in his left elbow but according to cricket.com.au, the 32-year-old has been batting in the nets for an hour at a time at New South Wales' training and is set to be available for the resumption of the IPL.

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The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was suspended in May due to the coronavirus pandemic in India and has since been rescheduled to complete the remaining games between September 19 and October 15 in the UAE, finishing just two days before the T20 World Cup which has also been relocated to the region from India.

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"It seems to be going really well. I know that he's (Smith) been building up his batting time over the last couple of weeks – I know that would have been difficult to have a time limit on his net times," Finch told cricket.com.au on Wednesday.

"From all reports he's been really strict with that, making sure he doesn't overdo his elbow so it hinders his rehab," he added.

Smith was acquired by Delhi Capitals for 2.2 crore in the auction earlier this year.

"He's going really well. The last time I spoke to him he wasn't having any pain batting so that was a real positive. He's going to be such an important part of our campaign," Finch said.

The white-ball skipper is hopeful of regaining complete fitness by the start of the T20 World Cup in Oman and UAE.

"I'm confident of that (being fit for the World Cup)," said Finch.

"It will come down to pretty minimal match practice which I think being older and being around for quite a while plays into my hands a bit, having (previously recovered from) some injuries where you don't have a lot of lead time into a series.

"I think that will help me. The surgery went as well as it could have and I'm walking around with no pain, which is the most important thing at this stage," he added.

Smith and Finch's return to the T20 squad ahead of the World Cup will be a big boost for the Australian side, which has lost five successive T20I series while winning just six of the 21 matches in the past year.

They lost two back-to-back series against West Indies and Bangladesh, which were intended to provide useful preparation ahead of the World Cup, with a similar 4-1 margin.

(With PTI inputs)

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