Steve Smith has revealed how he played through a nasty wrist injury throughout the Ashes, which has since seen him ruled out of Australia's white-ball tour of South Africa. Cricket Australia announced last week that Smith and Mitchell Starc will both stay home while their teammates travel to South Africa for T20 and ODI games.
Smith has been dealing with a tendon injury in his left wrist, while Starc is experiencing groin soreness on top of a shoulder injury he picked up in the fourth Test. Both players will get a well-earned rest following a gruelling tour of England for the World Test Championship final and the Ashes.
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Speaking to Fox Cricket this week, Smith revealed he actually tore a tendon in his wrist in the second Test at Lord's - but played the remainder of the series. The 34-year-old received a cortisone injection before the fourth Test at Old Trafford and played through the pain.
“I did it at Lord’s. I don’t actually know the moment, it was when we were in the field,” Smith said. “It wasn’t until that night I was like, ‘Geez, what have I done here, it’s a bit sore’.
"I got back (to Australia) and I was like, ‘Still not quite right. I still can’t do a lot of things properly’. I had another scan. There was a small tear in the tendon as well as a couple of other things."
Smith said he will need to wear a brace on his wrist for the next few weeks, but is expecting to rejoin the Aussie team for ODI games in India after the South Africa series. The ODI World Cup is also on the near horizon in October.
Cricket journalist Bharat Sundaresan picked up the moment that Smith was seen receiving some treatment on his wrist during a net session in the middle of the Ashes. "Maybe nothing but a bit of an ache and a pain that comes with having played 100 Tests, but Steve Smith did get some treatment for some part of his left arm/wrist, which he did feel a couple of times later," he wrote on Twitter at the time.
Maybe nothing but a bit of an ache & a pain that comes with having played a 100 Tests but Steve Smith did get some treatment for some part of his left arm/wrist, which he did feel a couple of times later. Also totally relate with him here as a fellow restless-legged person #Ashes pic.twitter.com/Y3MrbheIFc
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) July 16, 2023
Aussie stars dealing with injuries after Ashes series
Captain Pat Cummins will also miss the South Africa series after fracturing his wrist in the fifth Ashes Test. Chairman of selectors George Bailey said Starc's issue is not related to the shoulder injury he sustained.
"The compacted Ashes series and the World Test Championship was a heavy load for the group, and we are taking a conservative approach to the build-up to the World Cup," Bailey said. "With the World Cup the priority of the squad, it was determined on advice that it was best for Steve and Mitchell to join the group in India by which time we expect them to be fully fit and available for the Indian ODI series, plus the World Cup warm-up fixture."
Smith's injury means Marnus Labuschagne has received a massive reprieve after he was initially left out of the ODI squad ahead of the World Cup. It also means the T20 side will need to find a new opening batter after Bailey earlier revealed that Smith would bat at the top of the order in the shortest format of the game.
Michael Clarke had blasted the decision to open with Smith as 'embarrassing' in light of the fact he was only selected to play one game at last year's T20 World Cup. The first of three T20 games against South Africa gets underway on August 31, while the five-match ODI series begins in Bloemfontein on September 7. Australia's opening World Cup game is against hosts India in Chennai on October 8.
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