Australian cricket team went through a tumultuous time in March 2018 when then skipper Steve Smith, his deputy David Warner and opener Cameron Bancroft were caught in the ball-tampering scandal in Australia's tour of South Africa. Following this, the senior duo were banned for a year and missed the entire IPL 2018 as well.
With their bans set to be lifted on March 29, the tainted duo will be eligible for selection in the Australian squad for the ICC World Cup 2019. Before that, Smith and Warner will be seen in action in IPL 2019 and have arrived at the camps of their respective franchises -- Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). While Hyderabad's former skipper Warner was greeted with a shawl, Smith wore a turban and carried a placard stating "Halla Bol Steve" on his arrival at the pink city, Jaipur. Smith will be eager to start off well not only for the benefit of the franchise but to remain in contention for a World Cup slot as well.
This is Smith's first picture since his return back to the Royals' camp. He was supposed to lead the franchise in the last edition before his unceremonious exit from the tournament due to the infamous ball-tampering saga. In his absence, India's Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane took over and led the side to the playoffs in IPL 2018. The Indian will continue to lead the side and will rely on the experienced foreign campaigners in the form of Smith, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Johra Archer, and Ashton Turner
The Royals' camp also have some handy Indian players in Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Aaron, Shreyas Gopal, and Krishnappa Gowtham. IPL 2019 kicks off from March 23 with the first tie to be held at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai between defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Meanwhile, Royals will open their account versus Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at home on March 25.