Australia news – Steven Smith reveals he damaged his wrist during the Lord’s Ashes Test

Australia news - Steven Smith reveals he damaged his wrist during the Lord's Ashes Test

Steven Smith has revealed that he carried his left wrist injury through the final three matches of the Ashes series after damaging it at Lord’s while fielding during the second Test.

He is hopeful of being fit for Australia’s subsequent three-match ODI series in India which starts on September 22 in Chandigarh but it leaves him just three matches and a warm-up game to prepare for the 50-over World Cup in India beginning in early October.

Smith told Fox Cricket that he hurt his wrist in the field at Lord’s, after making a match-winning 110 in the first innings, but the full extent of the damage was not revealed until he began training again at home in Sydney in preparation for the South Africa tour.

“I did it at Lord’s. I don’t actually know the moment, it was when we were in the field,” Smith said. “It wasn’t until that night I was like, ‘geez, what have I done here, it’s a bit sore’.

“I played the next game and then I had a cortisone [injection] before Old Trafford. I got back [to Australia] and I was like, ‘[It’s] still not quite right. I still can’t do a lot of things properly.’

“I had another scan. There was a small tear in the tendon as well as a couple of other things.”

Smith and Mitchell Starc were late withdrawals from the South Africa tour last Friday. Starc has some residual groin soreness after the Ashes series and needs more time to recover. Pat Cummins also has a fractured left wrist from landing heavily on it in the field in the final Ashes Test at the Oval. Cummins won’t play in the South Africa limited-overs series but will join the group ahead of the fourth ODI in Centurion.

Marnus Labuschagne has been recalled to Australia’s ODI squad for South Africa in Smith’s absence after being left out of the World Cup squad of 18. Ashton Turner has replaced Smith in the T20I squad for South Africa.

Smith’s injury does compromise Australia’s ability to settle their top four ahead of the World Cup. David Warner was absent for the first two matches of Australia’s last ODI series in March in India due to a fractured elbow. Mitchell Marsh opened the batting for the first time in his ODI career alongside Travis Head with extraordinary success, to the point where Warner batted at No. 4 for the first time in his career when he returned for the final game in Chennai, having only once previously not opened in 141 ODIs for Australia.

But Marsh’s power-hitting ability inside the powerplay, as showcased by his recent form across all formats, makes him an irresistible option in the top three for Australia’s selectors meaning Smith could be forced to slide to No. 4 despite batting at No. 3 in his last 23 ODI innings since the 2019 World Cup and averaging 60.70, striking at 90.05 and scoring four centuries. Eleven of Smith’s 12 ODI centuries have come at No. 3 and he averages 54.56 at first drop compared to 35.61 at No. 4.

Smith was also set to open in the T20I series against South Africa while Warner rested with the aim of trying to regain his spot in Australia’s first-choice T20I side after being squeezed out for the last World Cup in Australia in 2022. Smith did play in Australia’s final match of the tournament against Afghanistan, but only in the absence of Aaron Finch and Tim David after carrying the drinks for most of that tournament.

Smith has never opened in T20I cricket but was dominant for Sydney Sixers in just five innings in last summer’s BBL, plundering two extraordinary centuries and striking at 174.74. The selectors had hoped to give Smith a chance in South Africa with a view to possibly cementing him at the top of the order for the T20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA next year, where his ability against spin on low, spinning pitches could be a major asset given it has generally been a weak point for Australia’s T20 batting line-up.

“I did speak to [Australian coach] Andrew McDonald about it,” Smith said. “He said I’d get more opportunities somewhere to press my case. It’s kind of the dream job. Everyone wants to open the batting in T20s.

“There’s not much accountability there, you just sort of go out there and play. You’ve got two fielders out for the first six overs, and if you get going then you’re already in when the field goes out, so it’s a nice time to bat.”

Australia play five T20Is in India immediately after the ODI World Cup but as with the upcoming South Africa series, some of Australia’s three-format players will likely be rested in order to be ready for the home Test series against Pakistan which begins just 10 days after the fifth T20I in Hyderabad.

Following five home Tests against Pakistan and West Indies in December and January, Australia will have three home T20Is against West Indies and three away against New Zealand where they will likely bed down their best side ahead of the T20 World Cup in June.

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