Steve Smith’s immediate return to international cricket post ban has been put on hold with the former captain set to go under the knife to fix a sore elbow which has forced him to return home from the Bangladesh Premier League.Smith will undergo surgery to repair a ligament in his right elbow and is expected to wear a brace for six weeks. That will be followed by an extensive rehabilitation which means Smith is unlikely to return to international cricket immediately after the suspension ends.

Smith’s year-long suspension from first-class and international cricket for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town last year ends on March 28.

Smith was initially expected to return to international cricket in a one-day series against Pakistan in April. With that possibly in doubt, Smith could be heading to the World Cup in June without any international game time. He could, however, play partly in the IPL.

The former captain, who was leading Comilla Victorians in the Bangladesh Premier League, returned to Australia overnight as his elbow problem flared up. A Cricket Australia spokesperson while confirming the need for surgery said that Smith’s return to playing will be made clearer once the brace is removed.

“Steve Smith will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a ligament in his right elbow. He is expected to wear a brace for six weeks before commencing rehabilitation. Return to play time frames will be clearer once the brace has been removed,” the spokesman said.

First Published: January 12, 2019, 1:29 PM IST