Australia Test captain Timm Paine has urged Steven Smith not to rush his comeback even if it means that he misses the T20 World Cup to ensure that he is fit for The Ashes later this year. Australia managed to retain the urn in England last time around thanks to Smith's heroics that saw him notch up 774 runs at 110.57, which included twin centuries at Edgbaston.
Smith is not part of Australia's white-ball squad for the series against West Indies as he is recovering from an elbow injury. “What’s important for me is that he’s fit to go, whether that’s at the T20 World Cup or the Ashes,” Paine said.
“Obviously from a selfish point of view, I would love him to be 100 percent fit and if that means he misses that tournament (World Cup) then so be it.”
“But Steve is a professional, he’ll know where his body is at and if he doesn’t feel like he’s right then he’ll make the right call,” he added.
“It’s important now that he takes the time to get it right, not just for the Ashes but to prolong his career for another four or five or six years.”
Australia will go into the all-important Ashes series at the back of just one Test after tours of Bangladesh and South Africa were called off due to Covid-19 concerns.
But Paine remains unfazed. “We know the conditions here, we know what to expect in Australia,” he said.
The tickets for the five-match series went on sale on Monday (July 5) and many were believed to be snapped up, with the matches in Brisbane and Perth gaining the most attention.
The Ashes will begin on December 8 at The Gabba, after which the action will shift to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney before concluding in Perth.
All the stadiums will see full crowd return to the venues, with the exception of MCG, which will have an 85% capacity. Paine hopes that the Barmy Army too will be allowed to travel Down Under and support their team. I hope they do open up (the borders) because they bring a brilliant atmosphere,” he said of the English fans.
“The Barmy Army are a crucial part of the history of the Ashes and something the players love, whether they’re ripping into you or barracking for the English. It adds to the Test match, to the theatre, so fingers crossed those guys can get in.”