Skipper injured, sent home to rest for Ashes series
AUSTRALIAN captain Steve Smith yesterday left his country’s tour of India because of a shoulder injury, the team announced.
The 28-year-old batsman’s injury is a new blow to Australia as they lost the one-day series in India and are preparing for a key Ashes series against England in two months.
They play their first T20 against the Indians in Ranchi on Saturday.
“Smith landed awkwardly on his right shoulder whilst diving in the field during the fifth ODI against India last Sunday,” the team doctor Richard Saw said in a statement.
“Subsequently he has had an MRI scan which has excluded serious injury, but we believe the best course of action is for him to not continue to aggravate his shoulder and allow it to recover.”
All-rounder Marcus Stoinis will take Smith’s place in the T20 squad for the three-match series and David Warner will captain the side.
Smith, who made a significant impact during Australia’s 2-1 Test loss against India in March, has struggled to match up his form in the limitedovers format.
The star batsman scored 142 runs in the five ODIs with his team going down 4-1 to slip to third in the rankings behind South Africa and top-ranked India.
Smith had voiced his batting concerns after the final ODI in Nagpur, saying the series has been “disappointing” as a leader.
“To be honest, I wasn’t feeling great at the start of the series, I wasn’t holding the bat the way I liked to and I was having a few issues there that I was working on,” Smith said last week.
“But I think I’ve slowly found a nice tempo which I’m after. I would have loved to score a lot more runs.
“I’ve got myself in on a few occasions and not gone on to get the big runs that I previously have been. From that aspect, as the leader of the team, it’s been disappointing.”
IN DOUBT: Australian captain Steve Smith could be in doubt for The Ashes with a shoulder injury.