Australia batsman Steve Smith said that he is ready to give the T20 World Cup a miss this year to be fit for the Ashes. Smith, who is in rehabilitation for tennis elbow, said that while he would like to be part of the World Cup squad, Test cricket remains his priority.
"There's still a bit of time between now and (the T20 World Cup), and I'm tracking okay at the moment - it's slow, but I'm going okay," Smith told cricket.com.au.
"I'd love to be part of the World Cup, for sure, but from my point of view, Test cricket, that's my main goal - to be right for the Ashes and try to emulate what I've done in the last few Ashes series I've been involved in," he said.
Australia will host the Ashes this year with the first Test set to be held from December 8 at the Gabba in Brisbane. Smith has scored 2800 runs in the 11 Ashes Tests over the course of his career at an average of 65.11 with 11 centuries.
The 2019 Ashes marked Smith's return to Test cricket after he was banned for the 2018 ball tampering scandal and the former Australia captain went on overdrive, piling on 774 runs in seven innings.
Smith said that he was not fully fit during the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL), in which he scored 104 runs in six matches for the Delhi Capitals.
"I still wasn't quite 100 per cent (during the IPL), it was still bothering me a bit, and I was playing over there medicated taking some painkillers and anti-inflammatories every time I batted. It got to a point where it wasn't really improving much, and it probably got a little bit worse while I was over there," he said.
Only Test, Tolerance Oval, 28 Feb - 01 Mar 2024
4th Test, Ranchi, 23-26 Feb 2024
3rd T20I, Auckland, 25 Feb 2024
2nd T20I (N), Auckland, 23 Feb 2024