El­bow in­jury ruins Smith’s come­back plans

Sport360 - - News - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ✉ ed­i­to­[email protected]

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.

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