Former Australia captain Steven Smith has undergone successful elbow surgery – and will likely return to competitive cricket next month.
Smith, who injured an elbow during the recent Bangladesh Premier League, was banned for ball-tampering during last year’s Test series against South Africa.
The suspension will end prior to Australia’s World Cup and Ashes campaigns in the United Kingdom later this year.
The ban prevents participation in T20I, ODI or Test cricket, but does not extend to domestic T20 cricket around the world like the BPL.
‘The surgery went very well. 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,’ Smith’s manager, Warren Craig, told the Cricket Australia.
‘The intent is that he will play in the Indian Premier League and then the World Cup, and then the Ashes.’
Earlier this week, coach Justin Langer reiterated the importance of the timing of Smith and former vice-captain David Warner’s returns.
Warner is also serving a ban for ball-tampering.
‘We’ve got to keep working on how they are with their elbows, first. They’re going to need to get some cricket before coming back into the squad. It’s all part of the management. We’ll have to wait and see,’ said Langer.
‘Reintegration has been going on for some time now. We know it’s been a tough time for them, it’s been a tough time for Australian cricket, but we know the word integration has been going for the last nine or ten months, or eleven, it’s getting closer, isn’t it.
‘We’re talking about two great players, we’re not talking about two really good players. Two great players, who on paper we’d be crazy not to have them in the team. It’s about how much cricket they get to play between now and then. They’ll find opportunities. We’ll find opportunities, but I can’t say anything else.’