Graeme Smith has revealed that he has been struggling with worsening tennis elbow during the England tour, and says he will need to take some time out over the next few months to be ready to face Australia.
Smith will take his place at the head of South Africa's side for the five-match ODI series which starts at Headingley, on Friday, but concedes that he needs some time away to get his elbow treated otherwise he could be forced to have surgery. With South Africa facing home-and-away series against Australia, beginning in December, Smith has his eyes firmly set on that challenge meaning he could miss the series against Bangladesh in October.
"I have managed to sneak that [the injury] under the radar," Smith told the Press Association. "That is what has been bothering me the whole tour and it is just getting worse and worse. I had a scan the other day and I will have to have a break at some stage to get it better.
"It will be about planning with the medical staff, missing some stage of the winter, to make sure I am ready for the big challenge at the end of the year. I don't want to reach the point where there is no other decision in terms of what you have to do. Then you're out."
Although Smith is going to battle through the one-day series, allrounder Albie Morkel may have to be sent home as he struggles to overcome his shoulder injury. Morkel picked up the problem playing in the Twenty20 for Durham and had already been ruled out of the first ODI.
"It is probably not looking good for him at the moment," Smith said. "I guess we will have to see where he is by the weekend and see whether or not he will progress.
"If not we might have to look at someone else. If he is not going to get any better we might have to act but he is in the hands of the physio at the moment."