Former Australia captain Michael Clarke has opined that Team Delhi’s new recruit Steve Smith might pull out of the Indian T20 League 2021 citing injury after being picked for a low price at the auction.

Smith, who is one of the modern-day greats, was picked for Rs 2.2 crore by the Delhi franchise at Thursday's auction.

The 31-year-old was released by Rajasthan for his below-par performance in the last edition of the Indian T20 League held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and they appointed Sanju Samson as their new skipper. Interestingly, Smith was earlier retained by Rajasthan for Rs 12.5 crore in 2018. However, under his leadership, the team finished at the bottom of the points table in 2020.  

“You talk about Steve Smith – if he’s not the best batsman in the world, he’s not far away. Virat Kohli is number one, but Smithy is in the top three," Clarke said on the Big Sports Breakfast Podcast.

"I know his T20 performances haven’t been as good as he would have like – last year’s IPL he wasn’t great. I’m very surprised he has gone for the amount of money he has, just under $400,000 – which is still good money.

"But when you look at what he was getting (last season) and his role as captain of Rajasthan, don’t be surprised if there’s a little hamstring strain the day the plane is meant to fly to India.

"For him to go away for an eight-week tournament and quarantine before the tournament starts – call it 11 weeks. I don’t think he is going to give up 11 weeks away from his family and his partner for $380,000.

"I’m really interested to see if he gets a tight hamstring and doesn’t go. Or if it goes the other and he says I do wan't to go and play in this T20 World Cup and I do want to get picked up for more money in the next IPL. I am going to go there, I don't care for the money and will prove people wrong."

In the last edition of the league, Smith amassed 311 in 14 matches at an average of 25.91, scoring just three half-centuries. The right-handed batsman has accumulated 2333 runs from 95 matches in the Indian T20 League. Overall in his T20 career, Smith has amassed 4438 runs in 209 matches at a decent average of 30.60.

Feature image courtesy: IPL, BCCI 2021.