Steve Smith announcement sparks cricket fan frenzy ahead of IPL

The mercurial Aussie batter surprised fans after his latest IPL announcement.

Steve Smith speaks at a Rajasthan Royals event.
Steve Smith (pictured) has shocked fans after announcing he is set to take part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year. (Getty Images)

Steve Smith has sent the cricket world into a frenzy after announcing he will be taking part in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2023, despite not specifying in what capacity. Smith hasn't played in the IPL for two years having gone unsold in the 2022 auction, before withdrawing his name for the latest edition.

This immediately sparked speculation over what role he will play during the latest IPL tournament set to start in just a few days. Smith surprised fans on Monday and confirmed he will participate in the competition without going into detail about what capacity.

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"Namaste India, I've got some exciting news for you," Smith said in a social media video posted on Monday. "I am joining IPL 2023. Yes that's right, I am joining an exceptional and passionate team in India."

Smith's announcement sent supporter groups into a frenzy with many hoping he would join their franchise only days out from the first match. However, many fans suggested that Smith will be joining the commentary team instead of actually playing.

The IPL starts on April 1 and Smith will most likely be sharing his brilliant cricket knowledge as a commentator, according to reports. Many also pointed out that it would mark the first time Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Smith would all take part in an IPL tournament. Fans were quick to praise Smith's involvement in the latest blockbuster T20 tournament, which will be his first major commentary role.

Smith has played for four different franchises in the IPL having last joined the Dehli Capitals in 2021. He started with the Pune Warriors back in 2012, before joining the Rajasthan Royals for two seasons.

Smith helped lead the Rising Pune Supergiants to the final in 2017, before returning to the Royals and captaining the team in 2020. However, the latest opening auction for this year's tournament saw Aussie vice-captain Smith go unsold, before he withdrew his name.

Unfortunately, Aussie Pat Cummins won't be joining an IPL franchise after he opted out of the tournament due to the extra comittment of taking on the Test captaincy role for his nation.

Steve Smith reacting as captain.
Steve Smith (pictured) is set to join the IPL commentary team for the 2023 tournament. (Photo by Pankaj Nangia/Getty Images) (Pankaj Nangia via Getty Images)

Steve Smith's captaincy thrives in India

While it appears Smith won't be participating on the field, his latest tour of India with Australia is an example of just how astute the Australian's knowledge is of the foreign conditions. Smith took over the Test captaincy role when Cummins left the squad for personal reasons.

The former captain helped Australia salvage a respectable 2-1 loss in the Border-Gavaskar series, before going on to win the One Day International series 2-1. During this time, Smith received plenty of praise for his captaincy, which included Indian rival Ravi Ashwin claiming Smith is a natural leader.

However, Smith made it clear throughout the Test series that he wasn't looking to become the captain, despite his enjoyment in the role. "My time as captain is done. This is Patty's team," Smith said at the time.

Despite not wanting to take over the role at the age of 33, Smith said he really likes captaining in India, which saw him take control of the Royals for a season in 2020.

“I really enjoyed this week. "I like captaining in this part of the world. I feel like I understand the conditions really well and the intricacies of the game,” Smith added after the third Test earlier in March.

“There’s an event every ball … it’s a lot different to the other parts of the world. I think I did a reasonable job this week.”

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