Steve Smith has attested that his ultimate aim is to fully recover from his elbow injury in time for the Ashes, and has insisted that he will be willing to skip the World T20 if the need arises. Currently nursing an elbow injury, Smith revealed that he cannot bat more than 10-15 minutes per day.
Steve Smith first started facing elbow troubles during the Bangladesh Premier League in 2019, where a nagging injury forced him out of the competition mid-way. The former Australian skipper has since lived with a dodgy elbow, but not until recently did the severity of the injury forced the talisman to spend time off the field.
Smith was one among multiple Australian players to pull out of the West Indies tour, but, unlike the rest, the 32-year-old withdrew owing to injury, with elbow troubles resurfacing to make life difficult. The extent of the injury is still unknown, but, speaking to cricket.com.au, Smith insisted that there are no guarantees that he will be fit in time for the World T20 in October.
Smith asserted that his recovery is slow, and stated that, should he be put on the spot to take a decision, he will prioritize Ashes over the WT20.
"There's still a bit of time between now and (the T20 World Cup), and I'm tracking okay at the moment - it's slow, but I'm going okay," Smith told cricket.com.au on Friday (July 2).
"I'd love to be part of the World Cup, for sure, but from my point of view, Test cricket, that's my main goal - to be right for the Ashes and try to emulate what I've done in the last few Ashes series I've been involved in."
Smith amassed a stunning 774 runs in the 2019 Ashes, in which the Aussies retained the urn on English soil, and the right-hander stressed that he wants to have the same kind of impact in the forthcoming Ashes series. The 32-year-old also revealed that he was, in fact, not fully fit during the first half of the IPL, in which he’d turned up to play for the Delhi Capitals.
"I want to put myself in a position where I can have that kind of impact. If that does mean not partaking in the World Cup, then we'll have to go down that path, but hopefully we don't have to go there.
“I still wasn't quite 100 per cent (during the IPL), it was still bothering me a bit, and I was playing over there medicated - taking some painkillers and anti-inflammatories every time I batted. It got to a point where it wasn't really improving much, and it probably got a little bit worse while I was over there.”
Smith also revealed that, currently, as things stand, he is not able to bat more than 10-15 minutes, and added that he is taking things slow. The 32-year-old admitted that he currently is incapable of batting long periods of time, but hoped for the pain to disappear by the time the Ashes beckons.
"I've made a bit of progress with it the last few weeks. I started some batting, just 10 minutes at a time, and basically my path now to getting back to playing is building up from there. Because it's a tendon (injury) it's basically how you (feel when you) wake up the next day, so I start at 10 minutes and if I wake up the next day and I'm good, then I can go up to 12 minutes, and if I wake up well again, I go up to 15.
"Currently that's where I'm at - 15 minutes - and I've got to build up to 45 to get myself to a point where the medicos believe I can be comfortable. I actually woke up a little bit sore after my last hit, so next hit, I'll stay at 15, and that's how it works.
"The Ashes is the primary focus from my point of view, (so) I need to be in a position where I can bat for long periods of time, and at the moment I can't do that, which is annoying. But I'm getting there slowly, which is hard - for someone who wants to hit a million balls, it's not great being capped at 15 minutes. But I understand now that this sort of thing can take some time, and if I want to get myself right for the summer, then I need to take these measures seriously and take my time.”
This time around, the Ashes will be played Down Under, and the five-Test series will kick-off at the Gabba on December 8.