South Africa’s Test captain Graeme Smith will miss the upcoming Champions Trophy starting next month because of an injury in his left ankle, Cricket South Africa said on Thursday.

[caption id="attachment_885" align="alignright" width="279"]Smith’s left ankle injury flared up again in the home ODI series against Pakistan in March (Photo: AFP) Smith’s left ankle injury flared up again in the home ODI series against Pakistan in March (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

Smith has been facing the problem and the recent flare-up came during the ODI series against Pakistan held in South Africa in March.

A statement by the country’s cricket board said that the left-handed batsman, who was playing for the English county Surrey, would return to South Africa after having scans in London on Wednesday which showed a stress fracture to his left ankle.

South Africa team manager Mohammed Moosajee said Smith, 32, would need to undergo a surgery and could take around six months to return to the game.

Moosajee said that despite extensive treatment and physiotherapy, Smith’s condition had worsened over the last few months and the latest scans in London showed that the trouble has developed into a stress fracture.

Over the next four to six months, the South Africa Test skipper has been advised to follow a rest and rehabilitation programme, and would also need a surgery, he added.

The manager said the selectors will soon announce Smith’s replacement.

Skipper of the top-ranked Test side Smith said that missing the biggest tournament of the year would be a big blow for him. He hoped all the players would play to the best of their potential under the captaincy of AB de Villiers.

South Africa, famous as ‘chokers’ for their past failures in ICC tournaments, will play the opening match of the eight-nation tournament against India in Cardiff.

The event will be held from June 6 to June 23 in Cardiff, Birmingham and the historic stadium of The Oval in London.

The Proteas are in Group B along with Pakistan, India and West Indies. The Group A comprises the defending champions Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and the hosts England.
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