Surgery to de­lay Smith’s come­back

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport -

STEVE Smith will un­dergo el­bow surgery on Tues­day, al­most cer­tainly ru­in­ing the sus­pended su­per­star’s hopes of an in­ter­na­tional come­back in March.

Smith, who is set to be in a brace for six weeks fol­low­ing the op­er­a­tion, is on track to be fully fit long be­fore Aus­tralia starts its World Cup de­fence on June 1.

Aus­tralia’s sacked skip­per, cur­rently serv­ing a 12-month ban for his role in the Cape Town cheat­ing scan­dal, is up­beat he will be cleared to re- turn in the early stages of the In­dian Premier League.

But the prospect of Smith re­turn­ing for Aus­tralia dur­ing an ODI se­ries against Pak­istan in late March, which had been floated by na­tional coach Justin Langer and Cricket Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive Kevin Roberts, is over bar­ring a mirac­u­lous re­cov­ery.

Aus­tralia must sub­mit its 15-man World Cup squad by April 23, al­though it can make changes with­out need­ing ap­proval un­til May 23.

It means Smith’s best-case sce­nario is that he will have a month of IPL cricket to con­vince se­lec­tors he is ready to be part of Aus­tralia’s World Cup de­fence.

Langer and Smith spoke yes­ter­day, when CA medi­cos made a swift but far from straight­for­ward de­ci­sion af­ter re­view­ing scans of the lig­a­ment in­jury that forced the 29year-old to cut short his stint in Bangladesh’s Twenty20 league.

It is be­lieved the op­er­a­tion is a reat­tach­ment, as op­posed to a re­con­struc­tion.

The lat­ter would have re­sulted in a much longer stint on the side­lines and po­ten­tially more se­ri­ous ram­i­fi­ca­tions for Smith’s World Cup hopes.

SET­BACK: Steve Smith

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