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Ankle injury forces Smith out of Chappell-Hadlee series

Melbourne [Australia]: In a major blow to Australia, skipper Steve Smith has been ruled out of the upcoming Chappell-Hadlee series against New Zealand due to an ankle injury.

The 27-year-old batsman confirmed the news, saying he would not join the squad heading to New Zealand for the three-match ODI series starting on Jan. 30 in Auckland after having suffered strained medial ligaments in his left ankle.

“It was decided an hour ago that I’ve been ruled out of the New Zealand series. I’ve got a medial ligament injury to my left ankle, they think it’s a 7-10 day injury and I wouldn’t be fit for the first game, I’d be very unlikely for the second game and a possible for the third game. We’ve got a lot coming up so they think it’s an opportunity to rest it and be right for India,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Smith as saying.

Smith revealed that he was feeling pain in the field during his side’s 57-run win against Pakistan in the final ODI at Adelaide Oval on Thursday, and remained uncomfortable when he woke up on Friday morning, thereby leading to the decision being made.

“It’s a bit of a shock. I just landed really awkwardly on my foot and I felt something straight away. I was a little bit concerned, I’ve never really injured my ankle like that. I was in a bit of pain last night, I injured it and went off and got it strapped and looked at and was in a reasonable amount of pain in the field,” he said.

However, Smith expressed confidence that he would be fit to depart for Australia’s Dubai training camp ahead of the India tour beginning February 23 in Pune.

“They think it’s just a medial ligament sprain but I’m having an MRI this afternoon to see if there’s any more damage. I’m confident I’ll be fine to train in Dubai after that and for the first Test in India, Smith insisted.

As a result, the national selectors and Cricket Australia board directors will now have to make a hurried decision over who will lead the side in New Zealand, with vice-captain David Warner already being rested for the series in order to prepare more fully for the looming Test series in India.(ANI)