Graeme Smith, the South Africa captain, has sustained a fracture to the fourth finger of his left hand that could put him out of the upcoming home Test series against India. Smith sustained the injury when he was hit by a Shoaib Akhtar bouncer in the first ODI against Pakistan last month and has aggravated it by playing in the last two ODIs of the same series and the two-Test series in the UAE.
"It is the same hand that was injured during the ODI series against Pakistan three weeks ago," South Africa's team manager Mohammed Moosajee said. "It was aggravated by the continuous wear and tear involved with fielding and batting and flared up while he was fielding during the current Test match." Smith was unable to bat in South Africa's second innings in the second Test against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
The injury has put Smith's participation in the first Test against India, which starts in Centurion on December 16, in doubt. The fracture is a non-displaced one but Smith has a history with hand injuries having suffered four separate injuries to his hands in the last two-and-a-half years.
Moosajee said the team doctor had advised Smith three weeks rest but because of his history, the team management was not sure when he would be fit again. "It will be a race against time to get him fit for the Test series against India," Moosajee said. "In our experiences with Graeme, there have been times we said he would need a six-week lay-off and he was ready in four, and other times we said three weeks and it took him longer."
Smith broke his right middle finger during the 2010 Indian Premier League, while a fractured little finger on his left hand kept him out of the ODI series in India in February. Mitchell Johnson broke his right hand twice during South Africa's home and away series against Australia in 2008-09.