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Steve Smith, Starc ruled out of South Africa tour due to injury, eye comeback in ODI series against India

Injured Australian stalwarts Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc will miss the limited-overs tour of South Africa but are expected to be fit for the ODI series in India ahead of the World Cup.

Australia captain Pat Cummins is recovering from a wrist fracture suffered during the Ashes in England, while Smith is nursing a tendon injury on his left wrist, which has sidelined him for four weeks, according to Cricket Australia.

Both will miss the three T20Is in South Africa from August 30 to September 3, which will be followed by five ODIs from September 7 to 17.

The pair will return for the three-match ODI series against India beginning on September 22 along with left-arm pace bowler Starc, who is also not in the squad for the South Africa series.

Starc, who played a crucial role in Australia’s 2-1 ODI series victory against India in March, suffered “groin soreness” upon his return from the Ashes, where he also suffered a shoulder injury.

Australia has included tall left-arm quick Spencer Johnson, who is a member of the T20I side, to its ODI squad for South Africa as well.

“The compacted Ashes series and the World Test Championship was a heavy load for the group, and we are taking a conservative approach in the build-up to the World Cup,” said Australia’s chairman of the national selection panel, George Bailey on Friday.

“With the World Cup (from October 5) the priority of the squad, it was determined on advice that it was best for Steve (Smith) and Mitchell (Marsh) to join the group in India by which time we expect them to be fully fit and available for the Indian ODI series, plus the World Cup warm-up fixture,” Bailey added.

In Cummins’ absence, Mitchell Marsh, who was earlier named Australia’s T20I captain for the series against South Africa, will also lead the side in the five-match ODI series.

The three ODIs against India will be played on September 22, 24 and 27 at Mohali, Indore and Rajkot, respectively. They will serve as the Kangaroos’ preparation for the World Cup beginning October 5.

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