Steve Smith eyes World Cup through IPL route even as uncertainty looms over his fitness

Smith suffered an elbow injury during the BPL in Bangladesh.

Steve Smith
Steve Smith. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

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The year-long ban ordeal for former Australia captain Steve Smith is nearing its end though the dashing batsman is now having a stint with injury. The 29-year-old was ruled out of the game after sustaining an elbow injury during a game in this year’s Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) and was ruled out of the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL). Speculation was also rife on whether the cricketer will be able to play the World Cup due to start in May end.

Smith’s manager Warren Craig though has tried to put to rest the doubts over his return to the game saying his surgery has gone well and that his chances of appearing in the mega event are high. The New South Wales cricketer had left the BPL for Australia after the injury for treatment. He is undergoing a rehabilitation process that will see him in a brace for six weeks. There are also reports that Cricket Australia (CA) might not risk Smith to play in the World Cup and instead send him to England as a member of an ‘A’ squad as preparation for the Ashes this year.

Amid all the uncertainties, Smith himself is targeting a comeback to competitive cricket through playing the Indian Premier League (IPL) which is due to start next month.

“Until the brace comes off, we don’t know for sure but all current opinion is that he’ll then have about three and a half weeks (before being ready to play),” Craig was quoted as saying by “The intent is that he will play in the IPL and then the World Cup and then the Ashes.”

Smith, along with former Australia vice-captain David Warner, was handed a ban for the ball-tampering offence during a Test series in South Africa last March. The two players took part in franchise cricket in this time and though Warner also endured an elbow injury, his return still seems imminent.

CA working with Smith on his return

The report also quoted a CA spokesperson as saying that the board is working to ensure that Smith gets match-fit as soon as the situation permits so. “Return-to-play timeframes will be clearer once the brace has been removed near the end of February. We are working with Steve to ensure he is ready to return to play as soon as practical,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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