IPL 2020: Steve Smith's Royals a 'good mix' of youth and experience

“We had a really good auction and have covered all bases really well,” says Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith.

“My key message to the team will be to first focus on adapting to the conditions,” says Smith.   -  G. P. Sampath Kumar

Steve Smith was elevated to the captaincy of the Rajasthan Royals in the middle of the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) after the team management decided to remove Ajinkya Rahane from the hot seat.

This time around, the Aussie will be in charge right from the beginning of the tournament, and he is looking forward to it. In an interview, Smith shares his thoughts on the team and the season.

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This season, the team will be playing in the UAE. Your thoughts on that...

The conditions in Dubai are quite similar to what you have in India especially with the heat and humidity. It may be a little different but we need to adapt to it. My key message to the team will be to first focus on adapting to the conditions. A couple of players do have experience of playing in the UAE in 2014, so that should come in handy. But at the moment, everyone is just hungry to go out there and put forward their best performance which is great for fans to witness too.

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What are the areas that you need to work on in the batting and bowling departments?

I think we are well covered in all departments. We had a really good auction and have covered all bases really well. We’ve got a great combination of youth and experience in the batting line-up. Some really experienced internationals who’ve been around a fair bit and some very talented and exciting Indian guys who add great value to the squad.

Our bowling has a lot of variety; good fast bowlers and some quality spinners. I think we’ve got a good setup, which will be important in different conditions during the IPL.

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You have some promising Indian talents in your ranks. What are you expecting from them?

We’ve got a really good group of Indian players this season. We’ve also got some experienced players like Jay (Jaydev Unadkat), Varun (Aaron) and Robin Uthappa who have been around the IPL for a while now and will be vital for the season, helping the young boys in the squad to settle.

As far as the youngsters go, the under-19 World Cup showed the quality of guys like (Yashasvi) Jaiswal, (Kartik) Tyagi and (Akash) Singh. Riyan (Parag) was really good last time around and hopefully he can continue that this time too. So yeah, it’s a good mix and I’m really looking forward to working with them.