Big blow for Pune Supergiants as Australia captain heads home with wrist problem
Australia captain Steve Smith has been forced to cut short his IPL campaign with newcomers Pune Supergiants due to a wrist injury.
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Smith, who on Friday night registered his maiden T20 hundred, has been a key man for Pune in their first season, scoring 270 runs at 45, and as such the news comes as a major blow for a side that is languishing in sixth spot on the ladder and has already been beset by injuries.
Only yesterday, Smith's Pune and Australia teammate Mitchell Marsh withdrew from the tournament with a side strain, while marquee international signings Kevin Pietersen (calf) and Faf du Plessis have also been sidelined for the franchise.
Cricket Australia confirmed the injury would be more closely assessed once he returns to Sydney, with an eye to Australia's next assignment - a triangular ODI series against West Indies and South Africa in the Caribbean, beginning early June.
"Steve has been struggling with pain in his right wrist for the last week during his stint in the IPL," said Cricket Australia Sports Science and Sports Medicine Manager Alex Kountouris.
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"We have been working with his IPL franchise Pune to monitor this and unfortunately it has not resolved. As such, he will return home from India for further assessment and treatment ahead of the Qantas Tour of the West Indies.
"From the information we have so far, this doesn’t appear to be a serious injury but we are keen to give him the time to recover and rehabilitate before heading to the West Indies at the end of May."
Smith's injury opens the door for his Australia teammate Usman Khawaja, who was last week named as Pietersen's international replacement at the Supergiants.