Steve Smith went under the knife to repair a ligament in his right elbow and will have it in a brace for six weeks. @ ICC

Australia batsman Steve Smith, who left the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) midway to attend to his right elbow, successfully underwent surgery on Tuesday.

Smith, whose 12-month suspension term for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal ends on March 29, faces a race against time to regain fitness ODI series against Pakistan which will be Australia’s final outing before the defending champions head to England and Wales for the ICC World Cup 2019.

Smith went under the knife to repair a ligament in his right elbow and will have it in a brace for six weeks. Once the brace is removed, Cricket Australia will have an idea about his return date, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald on Wednesday. (ALSO READ: Steve Smith, Cameron Bancroft have buried David Warner very quickly: Michael Slater)

Smith’s rehabilitation process will begin in February. It’s unlikely that the he will be fit for competitive cricket when his suspension expires. He is also expected to miss out playing for the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this year.

A vital member for Australia to defend their World Cup crown, Smith may head into the quadrennial event without any game time under his belt.