- ICC Champions Trophy
Graeme Smith could miss Champions Trophy
Graeme Smith's involvement with South Africa in the Champions Trophy in England next month has been thrown into doubt because of the flaring up of a long-term ankle injury which is expected to bring his involvement with Surrey to a premature end.
Smith had scans in London on an ankle injury on Wednesday and is expected to return home to South Africa immediately for further medical assessment.
Although Smith is contracted for three years, Surrey are resigned to the fact that his brief tenure as captain this season is already at an end. He will not play against Durham in the Championship match beginning at The Oval on Friday and leaves Surrey in the bottom two of the first division.
He missed South Africa's fifth ODI against Pakistan in Benoni at the end of March and at the time Dr Mohammed Moosajee, South Africa's team manager, referred to a "chronic left ankle problem".
He added: "We have been trying to manage him but unfortunately the impingement syndrome slowed him down today and he is quite symptomatic. He has had surgery on this ankle a while ago and I think the load and the volume of cricket for the year, and particularly during this ODI series, has troubled him."
Nevertheless, Smith, who described his ankle problem as "an ongoing problem", honoured his contract with Surrey, aware that he was regarded as a prestigious signing who could bring stability to the club following a traumatic period brought about by the death on the London underground of their England Lions batsman Tom Maynard.
Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, has already been signed as Smith's replacement, but he was not scheduled to arrive until the start of the Champions Trophy and will see out his IPL contract with Mumbai Indians.
Morgan Smith, Smith's wife, referred to his expected arrival back in South Africa in a veiled message on Twitter. "Looks like I'm off to Cape Town tomorrow," tweeted @morgandean.
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo