Steve Smith is prepared to sacrifice playing at this year’s T20 World Cup to ensure he is fit for the Ashes series against England, with the star batsman making clear Test cricket is his priority.
The former Australia captain pulled out of their current limited-overs tour of the West Indies with an elbow injury and said recovery was proving a slow process.
“There’s still a bit of time between now and [the World Cup], and I’m tracking OK at the moment – it’s slow, but I’m going OK,” he told cricket.com.au on Friday.
The World Cup is scheduled to take place from 17 October to 14 November in the United Arab Emirates and Oman after being moved out of India due to the coronavirus situation.
“I’d love to be part of the World Cup, for sure,” he added.
“But from my point of view, Test cricket, that’s my main goal – to be right for the Ashes and try to emulate what I’ve done in the last few Ashes series I’ve been involved in.”
Smith was the standout performer during the last Ashes on his return from a ban for ball-tampering.
Despite bearing the brunt of hostile English fans, he smashed an incredible 774 runs in four Tests, at an average of 110.57, including twin centuries on his Test return at Edgbaston.
It underlines how crucial he will be to Australia over the five-Test series due to get under way on 8 December in Brisbane.
“I want to put myself in a position where I can have that kind of impact,” he said.
“If that does mean not partaking in the World Cup, then we’ll have to go down that path, but hopefully we don’t have to go there.”
Smith said his injury began with pain in his left wrist at the start of last summer following a change in his batting grip, then moved to the elbow.
He needed painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication while batting during the recent Indian Premier League and has been working on rehab ever since.
“I’ve made a bit of progress with it the last few weeks,” he said. “I started some batting, just 10 minutes at a time, and basically my path now to getting back to playing is building up from there.
“Because it’s a tendon [injury], it’s basically how you [feel when you] wake up the next day, so I start at 10 minutes and if I wake up the next day and I’m good, then I can go up to 12 minutes, and if I wake up well again, I go up to 15.
“Currently that’s where I’m at – 15 minutes – and I’ve got to build up to 45 to get myself to a point where the medicos believe I can be comfortable.”
© Agence France-Presse