Steve Smith believes playing in the Indian Premier League later this year would be an enjoyable alternative option if the T20 World Cup is postponed.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) last week stated it is still planning for the World Cup to start in Australia on October 18, but other options are being explored due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been reported that the competition will be put back to next year, with the IPL - which could not get under way as scheduled in March - taking place instead of the global event.

Smith, who returned to training with New South Wales on Monday, would prefer to play in a World Cup, but the former Australia captain would also relish the opportunity to lead the Rajasthan Royals later this year. 

The top-ranked Test batsman in the world said: "I think when you're playing for your country at a World Cup, that's the pinnacle for one-day or T20 cricket, so of course I'd prefer to play in that.

"But if that doesn't happen and the IPL's there, and they postpone [the T20 World Cup], then so be it. IPL's also a terrific tournament as a domestic tournament. 

"That's out of everyone's control at the moment, players are just doing what we're told and going where we need to go and playing whatever's on at that stage.

"I guess there'll be some more news about it soon, probably some decisions to be made soon, so I'm sure we'll all find out and know where we're going to be.

"I personally haven't really thought about it, I think it'd just be going off the advice of the professionals and the governments and essentially doing what we're told.

"If that happens then great, if not then there's just so much going on in the world right now that cricket kind of seems a little bit irrelevant. So, we'll get back when we're told to and until then it's sit tight, get fit and strong and freshen up mentally."

Cricket Australia are also considering a request from the England and Wales Cricket Board to tour England for a limited-overs series in September, two months later than planned.

Jos Buttler remains hopeful the 2020 Indian Premier League season will still go ahead, even if an April 15 start date is looking increasingly unlikely.

The latest edition of the IPL was due to begin on March 29, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India pushed the start date back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler, who was part of the England squad who flew home early from Sri Lanka due to the COVID-19 outbreak, is due to play for Rajasthan Royals once again.

Appearing on a Sky Sports podcast with former internationals Rob Key, Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton, the 29-year-old revealed he is yet to hear when - or indeed if - the tournament will start, but is optimistic even a shortened campaign may be possible this year.

"Nothing really at the moment," he replied when asked by Hussain if he was aware of any further updates on the situation.

"We saw that initially that it is going to be postponed until April 15, but at the moment everything seems very indefinite. It's hard to see this changing in the immediate future, so I don't see that as a possibility.

"But, as we know, things can hopefully change for the positive as well.

"That's such a massive tournament for world cricket, so hopefully there becomes a situation where some of it – or a shortened tournament – can go ahead."

England's tour of Sri Lanka was cut short midway through a warm-up fixture ahead of the first of two Tests against their hosts.

Buttler and his team-mates are now at home instead, though the 29-year-old is capitalising on some unexpected time off during his busy schedule.

"For me, actually, I'm just trying to make the most of this time and give myself a bit of a break, a mental break, and enjoy some time at home," he said.

Jofra Archer is "progressing as expected" as he recovers from a stress fracture in his right elbow and is set to make a return to action for Sussex in May.

The pace bowler suffered the injury during England’s tour of South Africa, featuring in just the first of four Test matches before withdrawing from the Twenty20 series against the Proteas.

In a statement released on its website, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Archer has undergone a repeat MRI scan and, following a review by the medical team, is focused on being fit for the first Test against West Indies in June.

The 24-year-old, who will again be assessed in April, had hinted at potentially being fit in time to play in the Indian Premier League for the Rajasthan Royals, but will instead make his comeback in the County Championship.

"Following a repeat MRI scan undertaken this week in London, Jofra Archer has been reviewed by the ECB medical team and is progressing as expected from the stress fracture to his right elbow sustained during the South Africa tour in January," the statement read.

"He will have a further scan in mid-April before a return to competitive cricket.

"Archer's focus will be playing for England, starting with the West Indies Test series, which commences in early June.

"He will play County Championship cricket in May for Sussex to ensure his preparation is optimal for Test cricket."

Archer helped England win the Cricket World Cup last year and has played in seven Tests so far in his international career, taking 30 wickets in the longest format at an average of 27.40.

He recently signed a two-year contract extension with Sussex, saying: "I am very happy to commit long term to the club."

Rajasthan Royals remain hopeful that Jofra Archer can play in the Indian Premier League despite the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealing he would miss the tournament.

The ECB on Friday stated that paceman Archer has been ruled out of England's Test tour of Sri Lanka and the IPL due to a low-grade stress fracture of his right elbow.

Archer is due to commence a rehabilitation programme with the ECB medical team with a view to facing West Indies in a three-match Test series in June.

Yet the Royals, who signed the quick for 7.2 crore (£800,000) in the 2018 IPL auction, have not given up hope of Archer playing in a tournament that gets under way at the end of March and finishes on May 24.

Rajasthan head coach Andrew McDonald told ESPNcricinfo: "It is a blow but these things always confront teams. These are the setbacks that you have to contend with.

"First and foremost, our thoughts are with Jofra. Getting an elbow injury when you are at the top of your game is far from ideal, but watching him from afar it's been great to see what he's been able to achieve.

"We'll see what happens. The ECB have been reasonably solid on ruling him out of the IPL, but we still hold out some hope that he may recover.

"We'll get those details over the next 24-48 hours as to the extent of the injury, and we'll work with the ECB as to what that may or may not look like.

"I'm sure he's keen [to play in the IPL]. He loves playing for Rajasthan, but injuries happen, and until more details come to light, we will always hold out hope for a player of that quality.

"It doesn't look good at the moment, but we won't be in any rush to replace him at this moment in time."

Kolkata Knight Riders splashed out a record INR 15.5 crore for Australia star Pat Cummins in the IPL auction on Thursday.

Cummins had been the subject of bids from both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals before Knight Riders gazumped their rivals.

The deal, worth roughly $2.2million, makes Cummins the most expensive overseas buy in IPL history.

The top-ranked Test bowler previously played in Kolkata in 2014 and 2015, along with Delhi Capitals in 2017. He missed the 2018 tournament with Mumbai Indians through injury.

Cummins has 17 wickets, at a rate of 29.35, in his 16 career IPL matches to date.

He is joined at Knight Riders by England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, whose reward for 2019 Cricket World Cup success is a much-improved deal.

Morgan, who is set to lead England again at the 2020 T20 World Cup, fetched INR 5.25 crore - more than double his wage for Kings XI Punjab in his most recent appearance in 2017.

Meanwhile, Cummins was not the only quick to welcome a big contract on Thursday, as debutant Sheldon Cottrell went to Kings XI for INR 8.5 crore.

And Indians signed Nathan Coulter-Nile for INR 8 crore.

Rajasthan Royals brought Jaydev Unadkat back for a third straight year, this time for a more modest INR 3 crore having spent top fees on the 28-year-old at the past two tournaments.

Glenn Maxwell went to Kings XI for INR 10.75 crore, while Royal Challengers sent INR 10 crore to Chris Morris.

Ajinkya Rahane has been traded to Delhi Capitals while Kolkata Knight Riders have released Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn ahead of the next Indian Premier League auction.

Batsman Rahane is Rajasthan Royals' most-capped player and scored 393 runs at an average of 32.75 in the 2019 campaign, including 105 not out against his new team.

As part of the deal, the Capitals have agreed to send leg-spinners Mayank Markande - who had only joined Delhi from Mumbai Indians in July - and Rahul Tewatia in the opposite direction.

Rahane is the second high-profile India international to arrive at Delhi during the off-season, with the franchise having previously completed a trade to bring in spinner Ravichandran Ashwin from Kings XI Punjab.

Uthappa and Lynn, meanwhile, will be in the auction pool after the two batsmen were among a list of 11 names to be released by the Knight Riders, along with England international Joe Denly and West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite.

Royal Challengers Bangalore, meanwhile, announced the departure of 12 players, with the cuts leaving Moeen Ali and AB de Villiers as the only overseas players on their roster.

Less than a year after he was purchased for 720Lakhs (£800,000), England all-rounder Sam Curran has been released by Kings XI, while international team-mates Sam Billings and David Willey were not retained by Chennai Super Kings.

The auction for the 2020 season takes place on December 19.

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