Steve Smith could miss T20 World Cup to be fresh for Ashes | Steve Smith aiming to fit and fresh for Ashes series; could miss the T20 World Cup
Steve Smith, Australia’s premier batsman, has hinted at the possibility that he may not be available for the upcoming T20 World Cup. The rescheduled tournament, moved from 2020 to 2021, will be held in Oman and UAE in October and November, and given the intense schedule and quarantining required of the players, there may be some sacrifice required to ensure priorities are being met.
For Steve Smith, that priority remains the Ashes. Smith, who withdrew from the limited overs tours of West Indies and Bangladesh owing to a left elbow injury, is aiming to be as fit as possible for the huge schedule which includes the second-half of IPL 2021, T20 World Cup and Ashes. As a result, if Australia do qualify for the T20 World Cup Final, it will mean that the Aussie Test players in the UAE will have no red-ball preparation ahead of the showpiece five-match series.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Smith said, “There’s still a bit of time between now and (the T20 World Cup), and I’m tracking okay at the moment – it’s slow, but I’m going okay.”
“I’d love to be part of the World Cup, for sure, 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 has been impregnable in Ashes campaigns, with his last being an amazing redemption story, amassing 774 runs at a Bradmanesque average of 110.57. In the 2017/18 series in Australia, Smith also dominated, slamming 687 runs at 137.40.
Given such success, it is no surprise that Smith wants to continue that momentum and help Australia hold the urn for three straight campaigns – a feat Australia has not achieved since 2002/03.
“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 also revealed that his elbow injury was affecting him during the first half of IPL 2021. Currently, he is working hard to ensure he returns to full comfort and fitness.
“I still wasn’t quite 100 per cent (during the IPL), it was still bothering me a bit, and I was playing over there medicated – taking some painkillers and anti-inflammatories every time I batted,” he said.
“It got to a point where it wasn’t really improving much, and it probably got a little bit worse while I was over there.”
Now, Smith is limiting himself to 15-minute batting sessions as a conditioning method to get his elbow up to speed. He also reiterated The Ashes as his main priority.
“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.
“I actually woke up a little bit sore after my last hit, so next hit, I’ll stay at 15, and that’s how it works.
“The Ashes is the primary focus from my point of view, (so) I need to be in a position where I can bat for long periods of time, and at the moment I can’t do that, which is annoying.”