In a massive setback for the struggling Australian team, skipper Steve Smith was ruled out of the T20 series against India due to a shoulder injury.
Vice-captain David Warner will stand in as captain for the three-match series, Cricket Australia confirmed on Saturday.
Injured Smith will be replaced by emerging all-rounder Marcus Stoinis for the rest of the series. Smith is returning home to get treatment of his shoulder and is likely to be fit before Ashes, which is scheduled to take place next month.
“Smith landed awkwardly on his right shoulder while diving in the field during the fifth ODI against India last Sunday,” team doctor Richard Saw stated in a Cricket Australia release.
The Kangaroos lost the five-match ODI series 4-1 against the ‘Men in Blue’, which helped Virat Kohli-led India to reclaim the number one spot in the ICC rankings.
“Following the match he complained of shoulder soreness, which has not settled and is restricting his ability to bat and throw,” Cricket Australia stated.
“Subsequently he has had an MRI scan which has excluded serious injury, but we believe the best course of action is for him to not continue to aggravate his shoulder and allow it to recover,” it added.
Smith will return to action in the domestic Sheffield Shield competition.
“He will have further investigation upon his return to Australia but we remain confident he will be available for the start of the Sheffield Shield season,” the Australian Cricket Board said.
Smith had attended Australia’s practice on Friday as it took place after afternoon showers forced India to abandon their session for a second successive day.
Australia have looked out of sorts in the limited-overs series and with the skipper being ruled out, it will be a big task for Warner to salvage some pride ahead of next month’s Ashes.
(With PTI inputs)