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Steven Smith returns home with injury, David Warner to lead

Australia’s captain Steven Smith is flying home early from India, leaving David Warner to lead the side in the Twenty20 internationals, after failing to shrug off a shoulder problem he picked up during the fifth ODI in Ranchi.

Smith has been unable to bat or throw without discomfort since landing on his right shoulder during that match, forcing the selectors to call in Marcus Stoinis as his replacement for the three T20 fixtures.

“Smith landed awkwardly on his right shoulder whilst diving in the field during the fifth ODI against India last Sunday,” team doctor Richard Saw said. “Following the match he complained of shoulder soreness, which has not settled and is restricting his ability to bat and throw.

“Subsequently he has had an MRI scan which has excluded serious injury, but we believe the best course of action is for him to not continue to aggravate his shoulder and allow it to recover. He will have further investigation upon his return to Australia but we remain confident he will be available for the start of the Sheffield Shield season.”

Since a dominant Test tour of India earlier this year, Smith’s return of runs has reduced significantly, and he has not made a century since that series. After the ODI series concluded, Smith noted that he had not always been as comfortable at the batting crease as he is used to, searching for his best grip on the bat, among other things.

“To be honest, I wasn’t feeling great at the start of the series, I wasn’t holding the bat the way I liked to and I was having a few issues there that I was working on,” Smith said in Nagpur after India completed a 4-1 series win. “But I think I’ve slowly found a nice tempo which I’m after. I would have loved to score a lot more runs.

“I’ve got myself in on a few occasions and not gone on to get the big runs that I previously have been. From that aspect, as the leader of the team, it’s been disappointing. But I guess sometimes that’s cricket. You have those periods where you’re not playing or getting the scores you really like.”

Updated: October 7, 2017 — 6:11 am

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