Cricket: Steve Smith pulls out of New Zealand tour

By David Leggat

Australian captain Steve Smith batting. Photo / Photosport.co.nz
Australian captain Steve Smith batting. Photo / Photosport.co.nz

First no David Warner, now no Steve Smith on Australia's Chappell Hadlee trip to New Zealand.

Skipper Smith is out of the three-game series starting at Eden Park on Monday after straining medial ligaments in his left ankle in Thursday's ODI win over Pakistan in Adelaide.

Smith has been told he can resume training in seven to 10 days.

Blockbusting opener Warner was omitted from the squad when it was named early this week, giving him time to rest up before Australia's high octane tour to India.

Now Smith, arguably the best batsman in the game, is gone and Australia will play the series without their two best batsmen.

Smith is averaging 43.67 in his 95 ODIs including eight centuries. Warner's average is 44.84 from 93 matches, with 13 centuries, seven of which have come in the last four months.They were significant figures when Australia walloped New Zealand 3-0 across the Tasman last month, scoring three centuries between them, one in each game, which helped set up totals beyond New Zealand's capabilities.

It opens a door for New Zealand, if their bowlers are good enough, but the flipside is players like to test themselves against the best.

Australia will still be good, but certainly not as good as they would have been.
The stand-in captain will be named later today.

Warner has been vice captain, meaning a hefty chunk of Australia's leadership group will not be in New Zealand.

However one possibility which has emerged is Australia's selectors might lean on Warner to step back in to take charge on the field, which would fly in the face of the reasoning for leaving him out in the first place.

- NZ Herald

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