Australia’s injury worries went from bad to worse as prolific batter Steve Smith looked under the weather in Mumbai during a training session ahead of their World Cup match against Afghanistan on Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium.
Photographs and clips carried by Australian websites showed Smith collapsing to his knees before getting down on all fours at a training session. He was then spotted sitting on a plastic chair, in very obvious discomfort.
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Smith later revealed to the media that he had suffered vertigo symptoms.
“I’ve had vertigo stuff over the last day or so. It’s been a bit annoying. Occasionally, I have had a few episodes, so I can tell you it is not the funnest space to be in, but yeah, I will go out and have a hit and hopefully be okay and we will see how we go,” he said at a press conference.
The Australians are currently third in the standings with five wins out of seven matches. A win over Afghanistan could secure their spot in the semis behind India and South Africa.
A media report in Australia’s Cricket.com.au reported that “Smith looked unwell after facing throwdowns and net bowlers for more than hour, falling to his hands and knees, then sitting with his head in his hands, then laying on the outfield behind the nets, before eventually leaving the ground with the team physiotherapist.”
The Australians have already had their fair share of injuries, with Glenn Maxwell being waylaid by a freak golf buggy incident and opener Travis Head missing a significant chunk at the start of the tournament.
They were also missing Mitchell March in the previous game, as the all-rounder flew home to attend the funeral of his grandfather Ross, who passed away on Friday. Marsh was expected to rejoin the squad in Mumbai by Monday.
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For the Afghans, the equation is simple yet complicated: If they can win their two remaining matches, they will qualify for the semis, in what will be the story of the ongoing World Cup.
The match will also have political tones with Cricket Australia cancelling their ODI series with Afghanistan earlier this year. This led to Naveen ul Haq to recently question whether the Aussies would again boycott this game and forfeit two points.
Smith chose to refuse any comments on the issue, saying: “It is far above my pay grade… We obviously played against Afghanistan in the T20 World Cup at home recently and we are playing tomorrow so it is not a question for me,” he added.