Champions Trophy 2013 May 8, 2013

Injured Smith out of Champions Trophy


South Africa's Graeme Smith will miss the Champions Trophy in England next month, because of the flaring up of a long-term ankle injury that will require surgery*.

Smith had scans in London on the ankle on Wednesday and Surrey announced that he would return home to South Africa immediately to undergo an operation. South Africa are set to feature in the opening fixture of the Champions Trophy, against India on June 6, in just over four weeks' time.

Cricket South Africa confirmed in a release on Thursday morning that Smith will miss the tournament. "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. Surgery will be required, and he has been advised to follow a rest and rehabilitation programme over the next four to six months," team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee, was quoted as saying in the release. "This unfortunately rules him out of the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales and the Selectors will name a replacement in due course."

Smith said: "It's a big blow for me personally to be missing out on the Champions Trophy next month. Our ODI squad is creating something special and I was looking forward to being part of that family."

Titans opening batsmen Henry Davids and Lions youngster Quinton de Kock are the likeliest candidates to replace Smith in the ODI squad. It is a second setback for South Africa, as they are also without Jacques Kallis for the tournament, after the allrounder had opted to skip it due to personal reasons.

On having to cut his county stint short, Smith said: "To have to head home now, so early in my time at Surrey is very frustrating but I leave the team in a good place and hope to be back with them as soon as possible."

Smith is contracted for three years and, although Surrey are resigned to the fact that his brief tenure as captain is already at an end for this season, they are confident he will return in 2014. He will not play against Durham in the Championship match beginning at The Oval on Friday and leaves Surrey in the bottom two of the first division.

Surrey's team director, Chris Adams, said: "Graeme has made an impressive start as a leader and the squad have really responded to his leadership. It's clearly disappointing for all, especially Graeme, but we wish him a speedy recovery."

Smith missed South Africa's fifth ODI against Pakistan in Benoni at the end of March and at the time Moosajee had referred to a "chronic left ankle problem".

He added: "We have been trying to manage him but unfortunately the impingement syndrome slowed him down today and he is quite symptomatic. He has had surgery on this ankle a while ago and I think the load and the volume of cricket for the year, and particularly during this ODI series, has troubled him."

Nevertheless, Smith, who described his ankle problem as "an ongoing problem", honoured his contract with Surrey, aware that he was regarded as a prestigious signing who could bring stability to the club following a traumatic period brought about by the death on the London underground of their England Lions batsman Tom Maynard.

Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, has already been signed as Smith's replacement, but he was not scheduled to arrive until the start of the Champions Trophy and will see out his IPL contract with Mumbai Indians.

*05.50GMT, May 9: This article has been updated after CSA confirmed Graeme Smith will miss the Champions Trophy

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 11, 2013, 19:02 GMT

    this will be a good time for us to throw de cock into the deep end and see how he does,we realy need our youngsters to get exposed to the pressures of international cricket and tournaments.

  • Jurie on May 10, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    @highveldhillbilly - you got that right brother, Alviro is the man, R 100 says they go with him and 702 said the same thing this morning!

  • Vikram on May 10, 2013, 3:56 GMT

    I believe Ricky Ponting would be with Surrey pretty soon.

  • Michael on May 9, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    It's bad luck all round,but most of all for Smith. Hope he recovers soon.

  • S on May 9, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    Smith is by far the best captain SA has ever had. He has masterfully lead the SA test side to number 1 side in the world. 4 English captains retired after Smith was done with them. Fans across the world will miss him, like they will miss Kallis.

  • Sandy on May 9, 2013, 13:48 GMT

    Looks like they don't want to be part of chocking any more. Kallis drops out because of personal reasons, Smith says he needs surgery. SA are a very good team but they can handle pressure. They are comfortable where things are slow like test cricket. Sad but I don't think they will win a Shorter version tournament anytime soon.

  • Sharky on May 9, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    It's good that AB and Faf can sometimes rely on the ex-ODI captain, Graeme Smith, for insight when needed. And Graeme has played some brilliant ODI innings' in the past, but in the future I want to see Graeme Smith playing only Test Cricket and no limited overs cricket. I don't like throwing in a lot of youngsters at once, but I've reckon last year already that Graeme Smith can be the only out of form ODI player to make way for a youngster like De Kock, Ingram, Miller, ect. I would also like to see more all-rounders back in the ODI squad, like the time when South Africa has won the first ever Champions Trophy. It would be a fairy tale to win the last ever Champions Trophy again. South Africa's Test squad got the perfect balance, but for limited overs; Consider all-rounders for middle and lower order as A.Morkel, R.Mclaren, D.Miller, J.Botha, W.Parnell, R.Peterson, J.Ontong, C.Morris, F.Du Plessis, J.Kemp, ect. Jacques Kallis absence will be a HUGE blow to South Africa.

  • Cliffontong on May 9, 2013, 10:37 GMT

    I really hope they select Alviro, I think he'd be a great pick.

  • Kunal on May 9, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @Gert James: Wait! Isn't this the wrong article for your post? Anyway, Kallis has been honest enough to say he doesn't think he is in good touch to be warranted of a place in the XI. On the contrary, he should be applauded for this.

  • Dummy4 on May 9, 2013, 9:41 GMT

    Should I say thats good news...a blessing in mask!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.