There is doubt over Steven Smith’s participation in Australia’s game against Afghanistan tomorrow in Mumbai. Smith has been troubled by vertigo and said on match eve he was “not feeling great at present” but was hopeful he would be fit for the game.
“I’ve had a bit of vertigo stuff the last day or so, so it’s just been a bit annoying,” Smith said before training at the Wankhede. “Hopefully I can get through training today and be all good. But, yeah, it’s not a nice place to be. Occasionally, I’ve had a few episodes [before]so I can tell you it’s not the funnest space to be in, but yeah, I’ll go out and have a hit [in the nets] and hopefully be okay and we’ll see how we go.”
When asked if the issue would put him in doubt for Australia’s eighth game of the league stage with their semi-final berth still not confirmed, Smith said: “No, I think I’ll be okay. Yeah, I’m not feeling great at present but I’ll have a hit and see how we go so hopefully all good.”
Soon after the press conference, Smith went on to bat in the nets without any visible discomfort initially. He started by facing a few throwdowns from the Australia support staff members before taking a short break, during which he shadow-batted behind the nets. He soon returned to face more throwdowns, while rotating in the nets with Glenn Maxwell, and displayed his trademark strokes that included the flicks and drives. He also stepped down the track while unleashing some lofted drives.
Smith then switched to the other nets where he only faced several types of local spinners for a long duration to prepare for the possible threat Afghanistan’s spin attack could pose. Later, though, he started to look pretty unwell and was down on all fours behind the nets while still padded up and was also seen holding his head in apparent pain when he lay down on the ground. He soon walked off the field with one of the support staff members while his team-mates continued to bat in the nets.*
Smith has spoken about his vertigo issues earlier too. Last year, when he was recovering from a concussion he had suffered while fielding against Sri Lanka in a T20I at the SCG, Smith had said he had had a “vertigo incident” as well which had made his recovery difficult.
In the seven innings of this World Cup so far, Smith hasn’t really been at his best although he has been off to some starts. He has scored 205 runs, averaging 29.28 per innings while striking at just 86.13, with one half-century. Smith admitted his performance had been “a little bit disappointing at times”.
“Yeah, it’s been a little bit disappointing at times,” he said. “I’ve been in the middle of a few partnerships that have helped build a foundation for sure, but yeah, definitely would have liked to have gone on with it a little bit more. I’ve got in on some tricky surfaces, obviously the first one against India was a tricky one, the South Africa one where I felt like I was batting nicely – questionable sort of lbw and then got a got a good one early I suppose against Sri Lanka.
“I was batting nicely against Netherlands and then was batting reasonably the other day against England. So yeah, a couple of starts where I would have liked to have gone on with it a little bit more, but it wasn’t to be. But I still feel like I’m hitting the ball quite well, so hopefully some runs at the back-end of the tournament.”
*This story was updated after Smith’s late issues in the nets.
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