Steve Smith makes extraordinary commentary debut in IPL via hologram

The Aussie cricket star was beamed to the Star Sports studio in India, despite being back in Australia.

Steve Smith, pictured here making his IPL commentary debut via hologram.
Steve Smith made his IPL commentary debut via hologram. Image: Star Sports

Steve Smith has made his commentary debut in the Indian Premier League via hologram in remarkable scenes for the tournament opener on Friday. The Aussie cricket star announced this week that he'd be taking part in the lucrative T20 tournament, saying he'd be "joining an exceptional and passionate team".

The lack of details and the fact he hadn't been signed by any of the teams led many to speculate that he'd be commentating. And that theory proved correct on Friday as Smith appeared alongside fellow Aussies Tom Moody and Aaron Finch in the Star Sports studio in India.

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But in extraordinary scenes, Smith's appearance came via hologram. The Aussie star is back in Australia but was beamed virtually to the Star Sports studio in India.

Smith was seen standing alongside Moody and Finch, despite the fact he isn't even in India. The remarkable technology lit up social media, with many commenting on Smith's bizarre commentary debut.

Star Sports announced Smith's participation earlier on Friday, saying: “Steve Smith has joined the expert panel for the marquee tournament. Smith will be making his broadcast debut with Star Sports, adding his invaluable insights and expertise to Star Sports’ already impressive roster of panelists."

Smith told fans on Tuesday in a video posted to Twitter: "Namaste India, I've got some exciting news for you. I am joining IPL 2023. Yes that's right, I am joining an exceptional and passionate team in India."

Smith hasn't played in the IPL for the last two years and went unsold in the 2023 auction before withdrawing his name. The 34-year-old has played for four different franchises, with his last team being the Dehli Capitals in 2021.

He started out with the Pune Warriors back in 2012, before joining the Rajasthan Royals for two seasons. He then led the Rising Pune Supergiants to the final in 2017, before returning to the Royals and captaining the team in 2020.

Kane Williamson injured in IPL opener

The Gujarat Titans scored a comfortable victory over the Chennai Super Kings as the IPL kicked off on Friday, but the match was marred by a worrying knee injury for Kane Williamson. The New Zealand Test great had to be carried off the field in Ahmedabad after his right knee gave way beneath him when he landed heavily while trying to save a six.

Making his debut for the defending champion Titans, Williamson leapt up to stop a shot from Chennai's Ruturaj Gaikwad during his innings of 92 off 50 balls. The 32-year-old managed to save a couple of runs but the cost was immediately evident as he clutched his knee while in obvious pain on the ground.

Kane Williamson, pictured here being carried off the field during Gujarat Titans' clash with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.
Kane Williamson is carried off the field during Gujarat Titans' clash with Chennai Super Kings in the IPL. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

After being held up by two colleagues, who helped him back to the dressing room, he played no further part in the match. The Titans brought on substitute Sai Sudharsan under the new Impact Player rule.

Shubman Gill smashed 63 as the Titans won by five wickets in front of more than 100,000 fans. Chasing 179 for victory, the Titans rode Gill's 36-ball innings to achieve their target with four balls to spare at the world's biggest cricket stadium and their home ground.

"We were very happy because at one point they were looking to go past 200, but we got wickets at the right time," captain Hardik Pandya said. "Obviously when we lost Kane, we had to make sure we cover those runs and as many less runs as we can give."

with agencies

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