In a major setback to the Rajasthan Royals, their opener Graeme Smith has been ruled out of the IPL due to a finger injury, as has allrounder Dimitri Mascarenhas after turning his ankle. Smith fractured his right middle finger while fielding during Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Ahmedabad, and is now in a race to be fit in time for the ICC World Twenty20 which starts on April 30. Mascarenhas hurt his ankle during his run-out in the same game, but put in a brave effort with the ball, taking two wickets off successive deliveries.
Smith confirmed his absence on his Twitter page, as did Shane Warne on his, while also mentioning Mascarenhas' setback. "Unfortunately Smith and Dimma [are] going home due to injury," said Warne on Twitter. "Big setback for us as Smith and Dimma are very good players for Royals and their experience will be hugely missed.
"We wish them a speedy recovery and hope to see them back in Royals colours again soon; had some one on one chats with players, spirit is good."
Smith hurt himself while pulling off a diving catch to end Sehwag's onslaught on 75 in a match Rajasthan lost by six wickets. "I have a double fracture in my right middle finger, so will be missing the IPL," Smith said on his Twitter page. "I hurt it taking the catch off Sehwag last night, when I landed my finger got hooked in the ground."
The injuries add to the all-round worries of Rajasthan, who have had a poor start to their campaign, losing their first two games. Warne's team is already missing Australian allrounder Shane Watson (busy with the Tests in New Zealand till the end of March) and Indian allrounder Ravindra Jadeja (banned from this season's IPL), while the big-hitting Yusuf Pathan also picked up an injury in the previous game.
The overseas batsmen now available for Shane Warne's team are Hampshire's Michael Lumb and Australian pair of Damien Martyn and Adam Voges.
This is the second finger injury Smith has picked up in little more than a month. He had hurt his little finger on the left hand during the build-up to the Eden Gardens Test in February, which kept him out of the one-dayers against India.
South Africa coach Corrie van Zyl said he was awaiting medical reports from Rajasthan Royals to determine the seriousness of this injury. "It's difficult to speculate without all the facts. Doctor (Mohammed) Moosajee said that an injury like that usually takes three to six weeks to heal," he told Sport24. "We are hoping that he will be able to start training again after four weeks to be ready for the first game [of the World Twenty20]."
Over the last two years, Smith has had several long-standing injury problems. He first suffered a tennis elbow injury during the IPL in India in April 2008 and that forced him to miss the last three ODIs against England the same year. He later broke his hand while facing Australia's Mitchell Johnson in the third Test in Sydney but batted in the second innings to try and save the game. He missed the subsequent ODI series and decided to delay the surgery on his injured tennis elbow until after the return series against the Australians at home last year.