Elbow injury ruins Smith’s comeback plans
Australia captain Steve Smith’s participation in the Ashes could be in doubt as he needs elbow surgery.
Smith’s 12-month ban following the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal is set to end on March 28.
The 29-year-old could have found himself back in contention for the baggy green again ahead of the World Cup and the Ashes, which are both to be staged in England.
However, following the ligament problem in his right elbow which forced him to stop playing for the Comilla Victorians in the Bangladesh Premier League, it remains to be seen how much recovery time the 29-year-old will now face.
Cricket Australia revealed Smith is set to undergo surgery on January 15, and is expected to be in a brace for around six weeks, followed by a period of rehabilitation.
“Return to play timeframes will be clearer once the brace has been removed,” a spokesperson for Cricket Australia said.
Smith’s ban applies to international and domestic cricket, but he has featured in T20 leagues in Canada and the Caribbean.
The former Australia captain had spoken of the “dark days” which followed the fall-out from the balltampering scandal in South Africa.
The injury is also expected to affect his chances of being picked in the national side for the World Cup as well as the Ashes series in England later this year.
Test skipper Tim Paine urged Australia’s public to give Smith and his deputy David Warner, who is also banned, a second chance, saying he hoped “they’re welcomed back” into the national team, where their absence has left a big void.
Smith, who is unable to hold a leadership position until 2020, had talked about the possibility of a return to international action for Australia in England, adding he would be ready to face the “incredibly hostile” home crowd if he were back in the fold. The 2019 World Cup opens with hosts England against South Africa on May 30. Australia are scheduled to play their first group match against Afghanistan in Bristol on June 1.
“Return to play will be clearer once the brace has been removed” – CA
Sidelined: Steve Smith.