MELBOURNE: : Multan Sultans have been dealt a blow with Australian batsman Steve Smith ruled out of the Pakistan Super League 2019 due to an elbow injury.
According to Cricket Australia, Smith will undergo surgery and is expected to wear a brace for six weeks before commencing rehabilitation.
The HBL PSL 2019 will be held from 14 February to 17 March, Smith is not expected to regain full fitness in this period. “I am disappointed I won’t be able to play in HBL PSL but I wish Multan Sultans all the best for this year’s tournament,” said Steve Smith.
“I was looking forward to playing the tournament and helping the team try to win the trophy. We have a talented team and I am confident that they will do very well, he added.
On Smith’s injury, the PCB said: “We are sad to lose a player of Steve’s calibre but we wish him a speedy recovery. Hopefully we will see him in future editions of HBL PSL, the league fans would miss seeing him live in action this season,” said a PCB spokesman.
Multan Sultans will now seek a replacement for Smith at the Replacement Draft later this month. The Replacement Draft date with the pick order would be announced in due course.
Smith also appears unlikely to be fit to resume his international career when his ban expires at the end of March potentially leaving him short of time to prepare for the World Cup.
The injury also makes it highly doubtful he would be fit to play any part in the one-day series against Pakistan that had been suggested as his international comeback if the fixtures lined up with the end of his year-long ban. The timescale for his recovery will also put him in doubt for the IPL which starts on March 23.
However, the main concern for the Australia selectors will be if the injury means he is not able to play any international cricket before the World Cup squad has to be named on April 23.
Smith arrived back in Sydney on Sunday and was assessed by Cricket Australia medical staff. Depending on Smith’s recovery he may be available to take up part of his IPL deal with Rajasthan Royals, but those Australian players selected in the World Cup squad have to leave by early May for a preparation camp in Brisbane where they are set to play two matches against a New Zealand XI.
During his ban, Smith has played T20 in Canada and the Caribbean before his aborted spell in Bangladesh. He has also played regular grade cricket for Sutherland and has trained with the New South Wales and Sydney Sixers squads but now faces an even bigger challenge to be ready for the demands of a World Cup campaign.