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Will go with Smith’s decision if he wants to skip T20 World Cup: Paine

Australian Test skipper Tim Paine has said he will go with Steve Smith’s decision if he desires to skip the ICC T20 World Cup in order to be fit for the gruelling Ashes series beginning in December.

Australia’s top batsman, Smith had to withdraw from the current white-ball series in the West Indies and Bangladesh due to a left elbow injury, but is hopeful of recovering in time for the T20 World Cup, scheduled to run from October 17 to November 14.

However, the former Australian captain has said that he is willing to sacrifice his participation in the T20 World Cup in the UAE if it can help him remain fit for the Ashes beginning December 8.

“What’s important to me is that he is fit to go whether that is the T20 World Cup or the Ashes. Obviously, from a selfish point of view, I would like love him to be 100 per cent fit (for the Ashes) if that means he misses that tournament (T20 World Cup),” Paine said during a virtual press conference on Monday.

“He’s a professional and knows his body; if he doesn’t feel like, he is right then. Clearly he is the best player in the world…he’s been dealing with it (elbow injury) for a while now. When one gets old it becomes harder to keep pushing through. Now, he’s got the time, he (can) take that time to get 100 per cent right, and then not just the Ashes but to try and prolong his career for another four, five or six years,” said Paine.

Smith had recently said that he is weighing the option of skipping the T20 World Cup in UAE due to the elbow problem, which began when he changed his grip last summer.

“I want to put myself in a position where I can have that kind of impact. If that does mean not partaking in the World Cup, then we’ll have to go down that path, but hopefully we don’t have to go there,” Smith had said recently.

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