Recuperating from an elbow injury, star Australia batsman Steve Smith says Test cricket remains his top priority and he is ready to skip the T20 World Cup to be in the best shape for the Ashes series against England.
The 32-year-old had withdrawn from the ongoing white-ball tour of the West Indies due to the elbow injury.
“There’s still a bit of time between now and (the World Cup), and I’m tracking okay at the moment -– it’s slow, but I’m going okay,” Smith told cricket.com.au on Friday.
The T20 World Cup was shifted from India due to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from October 17 to November 14, while the Ashes is schedule to begin on December 8 in Brisbane.
“I’d love to be part of the World Cup, for sure. But from my point of view, Test cricket, that’s my main goal -– to be right for the Ashes and try to emulate what I’ve done in the last few Ashes series I’ve been involved in,” Smith said.
Returning to action after a year-long ban due to his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Smith had amassed 774 runs in four Tests at an average of 110.57, including two hundreds, to emerge as the star performer in the last Ashes series.
“I want to put myself in a position where I can have that kind of impact,” he said.
“If that does mean not partaking in the World Cup, then we’ll have to go down that path, but hopefully we don’t have to go there.”
Smith said he had felt pain in his left wrist after a change in his batting grip and needed painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication during his recent stint in the now-suspended Indian Premier League.
“I’ve made a bit of progress with it the last few weeks. I started some batting, just 10 minutes at a time, and basically my path now to getting back to playing is building up from there,” he said.
“Because it’s a tendon (injury), it’s basically how you (feel when you) wake up the next day, so I start at 10 minutes and if I wake up the next day and I’m good, then I can go up to 12 minutes, and if I wake up well again, I go up to 15.
“Currently that’s where I’m at – 15 minutes – and I’ve got to build up to 45 to get myself to a point where the medicos believe I can be comfortable.”