Steven Smith’s elbow problem clouds T20 World Cup and Ashes build-up | Cricket
Australia will again have uncertainty over Steven Smith’s elbow heading into a major tournament after he was ruled out of the tours to West Indies and Bangladesh.
Smith has suffered a recurrence of the problem he had earlier this year and kept him out of action for a period in February and March before he went to the IPL.
He returned to action briefly for New South Wales in late March before heading to India and the issue has now flared up again after his stint with Delhi Capitals where he played six matches before the tournament was suspended.
It is the same elbow that required surgery in early 2019 while Smith was still serving his ban from international cricket and briefly raised doubts as to whether he would be fit for that year’s one-day World Cup.
There are still four months before the T20 World Cup but although a timeline for Smith’s recovery has yet to be mapped out having him fit for the twin tilts at the global title then the Ashes is the priority.
“Unfortunately I can’t tell you how long or how serious it is but it’s something he’s had before and definitely flared up again in the IPL,” national selector Trevor Hohns said. “How long it will take to get it completely right I can’t tell you at the moment, I’ve had no further advice on that, but the main thing is for Steven from our view is to make sure he is fit for the T20 World Cup and of course the Ashes.”
Smith would likely bat at No. 3 in the T20I side – although that can be flexible depending on the game situation – and is locked in at No. 4 in the Test team.
Another player being managed with an eye on the home summer is allrounder Cameron Green who was added to the large preliminary white-ball squad before it was decided he would not make the trip.
He will instead start pre-season with Western Australia with an eye to having a strong lead-in to Test against Afghanistan then the Ashes in the Sheffield Shield, something that those Test players involved in the T20 World Cup won’t be able to do as they quarantine for two weeks after the tournament before going straight into the Afghanistan game in Hobart in late November.
Green played all four Tests against India last season where he impressed with the bat, hitting 84 in the second innings at the SCG, but was unable to pick up a wicket. He struggled to have an impact with the ball throughout the summer as he made his way back from a stress fracture of the bat but, barring a major downturn early next season, appears set to take the No. 6 spot again.
“At the moment we thought best to leave him here and prepare for the upcoming summer,” Hohns said. “We regard him as a very important component of our Test side who we’ll select in our Ashes squad. He can have a nice winter off, start training and building himself especially for our red-ball cricket.”
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