Former Australia Test captain Steve Smith will undergo elbow surgery that could delay his return to international cricket after his ban for ball tampering ends in March.
Smith has left the Bangladesh Premier League to have a ligament repaired in his right elbow. He will wear a brace for six weeks and have a timeframe for his recovery assessed upon its removal.
Australia coach Justin Langer suggested the 29-year-old could return to the set-up if a five-match ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE across March and April is confirmed.
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However, Smith's injury setback may make it difficult for him to feature ahead of the Cricket World Cup in England, which begins in May.
"Steve Smith will have surgery to repair a ligament in his right elbow," said a Cricket Australia spokesperson.
"He is expected to wear a brace for six weeks before starting rehabilitation. Return-to-play timeframes will be clearer once the brace has been removed."
Smith is serving a one-year suspension for his part in the ball-tampering scandal during the third Test against South Africa that also resulted in bans for David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.