Oz 'comeback kid' Smith out of IPL with back problem

Sydney, May 10 (ANI): Australian youngster Steve Smith will be retiring early from the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament due to a lower back complaint, although he is expected to be fit for his vice-captain role for the Australia A squad in England next month.

Smith, who has been playing for the IPL franchise Pune Warriors, is likely to miss the remainder of the tournament and the club agreed to let him return home for treatment, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The report further said that the IPL team respected Smith's upcoming playing commitments and advised him that it was best for him to treat his injury in Australia.

According to Cricket Australia (CA), Smith's complaint was minor and he should be fit to vice-captain Australia A in a series of lead-up matches before the back-to-back Ashes in July-August.

Although Smith was considered to be unlucky to miss out on the Ashes selection and the one-day squad for June's ICC Champions Trophy, the CA insisted that the 16-man squad for the Ashes is still not finalised, hinting that Smith may yet have a hope of fighting for a place in the squad if he performs well for Australia A.

Test skipper Michael Clarke is also battling a chronic back problem, which flared up in India, while Ryan Harris (achilles) and Mitchell Starc (ankle) are other Ashes players recovering from injury, the report added. (ANI)