Steve Smith has admitted his struggles with vertigo this week and was ruled out of Australia's clash against Afghanistan on Tuesday. The mercurial Aussie batter has struggled for runs throughout this year's Cricket World Cup in India having only surpassed 60 once this campaign.
However, one of Australia's greatest ever batters remains pivotal to the team as the World Cup heads towards the knockout stages. Australia will be looking to avoid a clash with the thus-far undefeated hosts in the semi-final.
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Smith appeared to be suffering from vertigo during his press conference on Monday and was subsequently ruled out on Tuesday. The former Aussie captain couldn't complete the warmup and failed to take his place in the side.
"I've had a bit of vertigo stuff the last day or so, it's just been a bit annoying," Smith said to reporters. "Hopefully I can get through training today and be all good. But it's not a nice place to be."
Smith has dealt with vertigo before during his career - earlier this year and back in 2020. He admitted it was tough to battle through, despite being optimistic he will take part in Australia's second last group stage match. "I've had a few episodes, so I can tell you it's not the funnest space to be in," Smith said.
Smith's vertigo comes as Australia were set to field what appears to be their best starting XI at this World Cup. Travis Head's return to the team after a broken hand threw up some selection drama.
Glenn Maxwell is back after a concussion in a golfing accident ahead of the England victory. And Mitchell Marsh is also available after returning home for personal reasons. This leaves Australia with a conundrum in the middle order.
With both players available, it appeared Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green would both make way, but Labuschagne for a reprieve with Smith unavailable. Green had returned to the starting line-up against the old enemy and scored a strong 47 off 52 balls to help Australia towards the end of the innings.
Labuschagne was Australia's top scorer with 71 off 83 balls. Both will appear unfortunate not to make the team, but selectors appear to prefer Smith in the middle order when fit.
Steve Smith's admits struggles at World Cup
Smith averages 41.56 across 27 innings at World Cups, but has struggled this time around. Having only surpassed 70 in one innings, the mercurial batter has admitted his struggles.
"It's been a little bit disappointing at times," Smith said. "I've been in the middle of a few partnerships that have helped build a foundation, but I definitely would have liked to have gone on with it a little bit more.
"I've got in on some tricky surfaces; the first one against India was a tricky one. But I still feel like I'm hitting the ball quite well, so hopefully (I'll score) some runs at the back end of the tournament."
Australia are seeking a win against Afghanistan to secure second or third on the table and avoid a clash against India. This would see them play South Africa in the knockout clash, after South Africa were demolished against India.
AUSTRALIA XI: David Warner, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Marnus Labuschagne, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.
AFGHANISTAN XI: Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, Hashmatullah Shahidi (capt), Azmatullah Omarzai, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhil, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Naveen-ul-Haq
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