Smith completed running drills on Monday but, according to coach Justin Langer, looked “rusty” in the nets on Tuesday, having completed his concussion protocols.
A CA spokesman told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald there had been no discussion about Smith heading home rather than to the United Arab Emirates, where the rescheduled IPL begins on Saturday.
“Steve is still recovering from concussion sustained last week. He has made some progress but has not fully recovered so is unavailable for today’s match,” he said.
Smith’s latest injury came a year after he was felled by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the Lord’s Ashes Test and missed the following clash at Leeds.
Smith has a $2.5 million contract as captain of the Rajasthan Royals and intends to fulfil that deal. He will join several of his teammates, including David Warner, Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa and Josh Hazlewood, as well as English players, on a chartered flight to the UAE on Thursday.
Smith will now be closely monitored by Royals’ doctor Rob Young. CA’s sports science and sports medicine manager Alex Kountouris said his medical team will work closely with the Royals.
“We have done similar processes before and we will have oversight,” he said.
Speaking to The Age and Sydney Morning Herald before Smith was ruled out of game three, new Royals coach Andrew McDonald, a senior assistant to Langer with the national team, said he was looking forward to working with Smith.
“He is really looking forward to that opportunity [of captaining] again. He had a taste of it last year, too, at the back end of the season … he is familiar with most of the playing group,” McDonald said from the Royals’ base in Dubai.
“There will be a few guys that we need to get him up to speed on. But he is looking forward to … he does enjoy captaining, he loves being engaged in the game. I am really comfortable we have the right man for the job there and he is really enthusiastic about that. I am sure he will take it up well.
“He is knowledgeable about the game and he will pick up the flow of captaincy pretty quickly again, I would imagine.”
The Australian and English players, including Smith’s Royals teammates Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer, had originally been told by the Board of Control for Cricket in India they would have to quarantine for six days upon arriving in the UAE but they hope this can be slashed to three days, having already been in a bio-secure bubble in England.
A reduction would allow them to take part in the opening round of matches, with the billion-dollar tournament now held in the emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Jon Pierik is cricket writer for The Age. He also covers AFL and has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.