Steve Smith, who has been banned for a year due to the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test against South Africa, will see his ban end by March 2019. However, his international return has been derailed further by an elbow injury which he sustained while playing for the Comilla Victorians in the Bangladesh Premier League. Smith, who has been playing T20 cricket and club cricket as he serves out his ban, was forced to return home from the Bangladesh T20 League with the injury. He is expected to undergo surgery on a damaged ligament in the elbow on Tuesday and will be forced to wear a brace for six weeks before he can commence rehabilitation.
This has potentially derailed Smith’s plans to make an international comeback as he aims to get selected in the Australian squad for the ICC Cricket World Cup in England which will be played in May. A Cricket Australia spokesperson said, “Return to play time frames will be clearer once the brace has been removed.” This development rules him out of the Pakistan Super League and it also gives him an outside chance to play in the limited-overs series against Pakistan scheduled to be held in end-March, the time his ban ends.
Smith is also in doubt to play for the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League which is scheduled to begin on March 23. Even if Smith plays for Rajasthan Royals, if he is included in the World Cup squad, he will have to leave the IPL in early May to be part of a preparatory camp in Brisbane where they will play two games against New Zealand before heading to the World Cup.
If Smith does not play any international cricket, the selectors will be placed with a massive dilemma whether to pick him in the squad for the World Cup. All the teams must announce their World Cup squads before April 23, which is the final date announced by the International Cricket Council (ICC).