Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith has hinted that Jos Buttler, who missed RR’s first game due to quarantine restrictions, might slot back into the top, but did not outrightly confirm the same. Smith joked that he’d want to ‘keep people guessing’ and heaped praise on Butler's versatility.
Having spent a vast majority of IPL 2019 batting prominently at #4, Rajasthan Royals skipper Steve Smith sprung a surprise in the club’s encounter with CSK on Tuesday by opening the batting. Smith strode out to open the batting alongside young Yashasvi Jaiswal and the move paid dividends for the Aussie, who scored a fine 69 to help his side post a big total.
With Jos Buttler, RR’s regular opener for the past one and a half seasons, set to be back for the side’s next clash, Smith might have to rethink and rejig the side’s batting order but speaking on Butler's batting position, the RR skipper did not outrightly give away anything. While hinting that Buttler might slot right back in at top due to his outrageous record as an opener, Smith, speaking after the game, quipped that he’d want to keep the Englishman’s batting position a suspense.
“Jos is a quality player and we'll see what happens when he comes back. Hard to take the opening slot away from someone like him. Jos coming back next game is a big plus for us. We'll wait and see what we think is best. Jos has an incredible record up top so I daresay he'll slot back in there,” the RR skipper said.
“We will wait and see where I bat once Jos is available. Like to keep them guessing.”
In his innings of 69, Smith spent a vast majority of his time giving the strike to Sanju Samson, who dismantled the CSK attack with an outrageous 32-ball 74, hitting 9 sixes in the process. The RR skipper expressed his satisfaction over the youngster’s knock and noted that the Man of the Match performance will do a world of good to the Keralite’s confidence.
“Sanju Samson, looked like everything he hit went for six. MS smacked a few in the end, and Faf got going too, but nice to get a W in front of the RRs. Sanju was incredible, and all I had to do was give him the strike. This should give him a lot of confidence."
Jofra Archer, as expected, made a massive impact in the game, albeit with the bat. In his cameo of 27, Archer struck four consecutive sixes and Smith heaped praise on his ‘terrific’ talisman who shone on all fronts in RR’s season-opener on Tuesday.
"Jofra at the end was magnificent, getting us up to that total and then the boys did a good job with the ball... He came in and played an incredible inning tonight. He is a terrific player for us and did well with the ball as well.”
Smith and RR will now get three days off, after which they will take on Kings XI Punjab at the Dubai International Stadium on September 27.