Graeme Smith will not be part of South Africa’s Champions Trophy campaign which begins from June 6 against India, after a chronic injury on his troublesome left ankle flared up on Wednesday (May 8), with scans in London revealing a stress fracture.
Smith, who is currently playing for Surrey, was to fly back to South Africa from England to have surgery on his ankle. The operation may keep him out for several months. No replacement for Smith has been announced yet.
“Graeme has been troubled by left ankle pain over the last few months and despite extensive treatment and physiotherapy, it has recently deteriorated significantly while playing for Surrey in England,” said the South Africa team manager, Dr. Mohammed Moosajee.
“He has been ruled out of the Champions Trophy and once he has seen an ankle specialist, we will have a clear indication on how long he will probably be out for,” said Moosajee.
Smith’s absence will leave South Africa considerably short on experience after Jacques Kallis, the veteran allrounder, had declared himself unavailable due to “personal reasons”.
A disappointed Smith said: “It’s a big blow for me personally to be missing out on the Champions Trophy next month. The ODI squad is creating something special and I was looking forward to being part of that family. I will no doubt be supporting from my living room and I know the players, under AB’s leadership will be giving all that they can during the tournament.”
Smith had missed South Africa’s last One-Day International against Pakistan at Willowmoore Park two months back with a problem in his left ankle.
The injury is also a jolt to Surrey with Smith being in good form at the top of the order. He captained Surrey in the county matches.
Thirty-two-year-old Smith has amassed 6,917 runs in 190 ODIs at an average of 39.07. His highest score of 141 was against England in the Champions Trophy at SuperSport Park in Centurion in 2009, a match which the Proteas lost.