Skip­per in­jured, sent home to rest for Ashes se­ries

Sunday Mail - - SPORT -

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.

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