[caption id="attachment_811053" align="alignnone" width="628"]<img class="size-full wp-image-811053" src="https://www.cricketcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Steve-Smith-AFP.jpg" alt="" width="628" height="353" /> Steve Smith kept a close watch on Sunderland's opponents and shared his insights with the batters. @ AFP[/caption] <p></p> <p></p>A lot of brains behind <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/tag/sunderland">Sunderland</a> s progress to the final in the inaugural National Premier T20 Championships can be attributed to former <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/teams/australia/">Australia</a> captain <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/players/steven-smith/">Steve Smith</a>. During his time away from competitive cricket, Smith, currently facing a race against time to regain fitness after having undergone surgery seven weeks ago to repair a damaged ligament in his right elbow, took on the role of his local club Sunderland. (<strong>ALSO READ: <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/news/steve-smith-david-warner-will-add-a-bit-of-spice-to-the-world-cup-morne-morkel-809130">'Steve Smith, David Warner will add a bit of spice to the World Cup'</a></strong>) <p></p> <p></p>According to a report in <em>cricket.com.au </em>on Tuesday, Smith, who played for Sunderland earlier this summer while serving his 12-month suspension, kept a close watch on their opponents and shared his insights with the batters, which also includes Austin Waugh, the son of former Australia captain <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/players/steve-waugh/">Steve Waugh</a>, who was also present. <p></p> <p></p>Smith, whose ban expires on March 28, is set to make a return in the glitzy <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/tag/indian-premier-league">Indian Premier League</a> (IPL) which begins on March 23 which will be crucial to pave his way into the Australian team for the <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/tag/icc-world-cup-2019">ICC World Cup 2019</a> and the five-Test <a href="https://www.cricketcountry.com/tag/ashes">Ashes</a> campaign in November.