Indian Premier League 2020
CA to monitor Smith from afar as he arrives at the IPL
Medical staff and Cricket Australia and Rajasthan Royals to work collaboratively on Steve Smith's return to play
18 September 2020, 10:03 AM AEST
Cricket Australia will work closely with medical staff at Steve Smith's Indian Premier League franchise as the star batsman continues his recovery from a head knock last week.
Smith few to the UAE on Thursday ahead of the start of the IPL this weekend having missed the entirety of Australia's ODI series against England after he was hit in the head during a training session.
The right-hander has passed multiple concussion tests since being hit, but CA medicos took a cautious approach and ruled him out of all three games against England, with skipper Aaron Finch saying on Wednesday that Smith "was a little bit groggy and just wasn't 100 per cent".
Smith also missed part of last year's Ashes series in England after being concussed by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the second Test at Lord's.
The 31-year-old will captain the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL and the franchise, coached by Australian assistant Andrew McDonald, will be hoping he's be available for their tournament opener on Tuesday night.
CA's head of sports medicine Alex Kountouris, who will work with Rajasthan doctor Rob Young in determining when Smith can return to play, said the organisation's conservative approach to concussion is based on extensive research.
"Steve is making progress and working with our medical team through the concussion protocols required to return to play," Kountouris told News Corp.
"Unfortunately, he was not ready to play the final ODI against England. We are working collaboratively with his IPL franchise on his return to play from here once he arrives in the UAE.
"The conservative management of Steve through this injury is consistent with our approach to put the player's welfare first, as we did with him during the Ashes last year.
"That says a lot about the environment within our Australian teams. We are striving to create environments where players trust that our medical team will always put their welfare first and therefore speak openly with them, whether this is about concussion, other injuries or mental health.
"Cricket Australia has strict protocols when it comes to head impacts and concussions and, as we've seen over the last 12 months, we're not willing to compromise on those."
Smith was one of 13 Australian and eight English players who flew from the UK to the UAE on Thursday on a chartered flight organised for those playing in the IPL.
The Australian will be joined at Rajasthan by England stars Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, although the allrounder has been in New Zealand for family reasons and it's not yet clear when he'll be available to play for the Royals.
"He is really looking forward to that opportunity (of captaining) again," coach McDonald told Nine Media of Smith recently.
"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.
"There will be a few guys that we need to get him up to speed on. But he is looking forward to (it) ... he does enjoy captaining, he loves being engaged in the game."
A total of 19 Australian players and 10 Aussie coaches are involved in the IPL this year, which starts on Saturday and runs until November 10.