On top of his ban, Steve Smith is now confirmed to need surgery on a ligament tear in his right elbow he injured during play in the Bangladesh Premier League.
On one hand, it might be viewed as fortuitous that the remaining months of his ban from Australian cricket may be spent rehabbing, but on the other, it is not our elbow.
A Cricket Australia spokesperson described the scenario, indicting the Smith will have his arm immobilised for about six weeks, prior to beginning rehabilitation.
Our calculations put the recovery prior to rehabilitation right around the end of February. It is not known with any degree of certainty how long rehabbing the injury will require, but that may become easier to predict once Smith’s arm is out of the brace.
One thing more certain is that Smith will be much more ambidextrous in six weeks’ time. His ban ends at the end of March and the consensus is that Australia is desperate to have him back and will not shun him when he is once again eligible for selection.
The target for Smith is May and the World Cup in England, but it will take some good fortune to be ready for that, as outside of the shoulders and hips, the elbow is a complicated joint and torn ligaments are often slow to heal.
The good news for Australia is that after being completely humbled by India in Test cricket, they beat India in ODI play, which is somewhat of a surprise, other than for the fact that in ODI play, they did not have as much opportunity to play catch up.
The surprise for Australia during that ODI encounter was the exceptional performance of Nathan Lyon, who made a strong argument for holding his spot after his showing in Test play had the multitudes demanding that he be dropped.