Australia Test captain Tim Paine has opened up on star batsman Steve Smith’s possibility of missing the T20 World Cup to prepare for the home Ashes series. Steve Smith’s elbow injury forced him to miss the upcoming white-ball series in the West Indies and Bangladesh and indicated it could lead him to skip the T20 World Cup, too. And Tim Paine also believes the 32-year old should not hurry himself to return.
Steve Smith’s elbow problem has been a long-standing one as he underwent surgery for the same during the 2019 Bangladesh Premier League. The right-handed batsman also revealed to be playing with a troubling elbow for the Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 and had got worse. Hence, Smith decided to skip the West Indies and Bangladesh tours and recover.
And while Steve Smith might be an ordinary T20 player, the former Australian captain is magnificent in the longest format. Smith has an excellent record against England in Tests, regardless of the Ashes series taking place home or away. Smith was the top performer from both sides during the breakneck 2019 Ashes series, smashing 774 runs in four Tests to help Australia retain the urn in England for the first time since 2001. He would once again be critical to Australia’s chances at home.
It’s important now that he takes the time to get it right: Tim Paine
Australia Test skipper Tim Paine believes it’s crucial for him to know whether Steve Smith is ready to go, irrespective of the series. The Tasmanian keeper-batsman would love for Smith to be fit for the Ashes and understands that he knows how to care for his body, trusting him to make the right call. Paine also hopes that the premier Test batsman does not rush his return so he could extend his career by a few more years.
“What’s important for me is that he’s fit to go, whether that’s at the T20 World Cup or the Ashes. Obviously from a selfish point of view, I would love him to be 100 percent fit and if that means he misses that tournament (World Cup) then so be it. But Steve is a professional, he’ll know where his body is at and if he doesn’t feel like he’s right then he’ll make the right call. It’s important now that he takes the time to get it right, not just for the Ashes but to prolong his career for another four or five or six years,” Paine told in a virtual press conference.