NEW DELHI, March 28, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Australia's Steve Smith has announced his return to the Indian Premier League, although his curious video statement left it unclear whether he would play or just commentate.
The 16th edition of the Twenty20 extravaganza begins Friday in Ahmedabad, with 10 teams and a host of global stars in attendance for the eight-week tournament.
"Namaste, India. I've got some exciting news for you: I'm joining IPL 2023," Smith, 33, said in the video posted on his social media pages on Monday.
"Yes, that's right, I'm joining an exceptional and passionate team in India."
The video drew considerable mirth on social media for Smith's robot-like performance in the 15-second clip, during which he does not blink once.
"DON'T blink if you're being held at gunpoint," quipped one Twitter user.
Another tweet read: "Most advanced robot I've ever seen....I hope it brings some spare batteries with it in case it runs out of energy in India."
One fan advised Smith, who recently led Australia in two Tests and three one-day internationals in India, to use his bat and not the microphone on his Indian return.
"Such an awkward video I don't think he should do commentary," the fan wrote.
"Just because you can play doesn't mean you can talk and this video is such a weird one. Hope he just keeps playing cricket."
Smith last played for the Delhi Capitals in the money-spinning league in 2021 before he went unsold in the auction for the following season.
The star batsman kept himself out of this season's mini-auction in December but can be picked up as an injury replacement by any team.