Smith To Have Ankle Surgery, Could Miss Champions Trophy

by
Reuters
South Africa's test captain Graeme Smith has left English county Surrey and returned to South Africa to have surgery on a chronic ankle problem that has put his participation in next month's ICC Champions Trophy in doubt.

South Africa's test captain Graeme Smith has left English county Surrey and returned to South Africa to have surgery on a chronic ankle problem that has put his participation in next month's ICC Champions Trophy in doubt.

Smith has had long-term difficulties with his left ankle that have required surgery in the past and the injury flared up again in the home one-day international series against Pakistan in March.

He started the County Championship season as planned, but Surrey said on their website on Wednesday that the 31-year-old would require more surgery to fix the problem.

Although no time-frame has been put on his recovery, with South Africa's opening game of the Champions Trophy against India on June 6, he is facing a race against time to be fit.

"To have to head home now, so early in my time at Surrey is very frustrating but I leave the team in a good place and hope to be back with them as soon as possible," Smith said on Wednesday.

Surrey team director Chris Adams added: "Graeme has made an impressive start as a leader and the squad have really responded to his leadership.

"It's clearly disappointing for all, especially Graeme, but we wish him a speedy recovery."

Smith has had five innings in the County Championship this season, scoring a modest 120 runs at an average of 30 with just one score over 50.