Steven Smith to play through the pain in match against South Africa
Australian skipper Steven Smith insisted that he will play in the match against South Africa on Sunday despite not being 100% fit, cricket.com.au reports. The 27-year-old also indicated that the chances of him featuring in Australia’s final group stage on the ongoing tri-series against West Indies are less.
Smith had suffered a thigh strain during Australia’s clash against the West Indies bu the skipper managed to shrug off the niggle and played on to score 74 in what unfortunately proved to be a losing cause as the hosts won the match by 4 wickets. The right-hander underwent three separate net sessions on the eve of the clash against the Proteas and though feeling the pain, is ready to lead his side as they continue to push for a final berth.
"I think I can manage it," he said. "It's been a bit sore but I'll have a run around today. I understand my body a lot better these days and I can manage these little injuries. It's one of those injuries where I might not be able to go at 100 percent, but I think I'll be right for the game."
While Australia have traditionally had different captains for the different formats of the game, Smith has assumed the captaincy in all three formats over the past year replacing Michael Clarke after the latter’s retirement from first ODI and later Test cricket, before being handed the responsibility in the shortest format of the game as well replacing Aaron Finch just prior to the 2016 World T20.
Many pundits, including Australian legend Ian Chappell, has suggested in the past that David Warner should be handed over the T20 captaincy in order to lighten the workload of Smith and the calls have only got louder after Warner led Sunrisers Hyderabad to their maiden triumph in the 2016 edition of the IPL.
Smith, however, feels that the heavily-packed international calendar was something the players needed to adjust to whether they like it or not and believes it is upto the players themselves to decide which games to play and which ones to omit.
"We have a pretty full on schedule, there's always lots on so you don't get those opportunities too often to get a big pre-season in. You have to run with it. That's part of playing international sport, particularly playing cricket for Australia," he said.
Smith is hopeful of fully shaking off his minor injuries before Australia's next international assignment against Sri Lanka in July.
"Sri Lanka is still a fair way away, it's about five weeks until the first Test match there ... the body has been pretty good," he said.