Mitch Marsh has suffered yet another injury setback and will miss at least five white ball games for Australia in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup in October.
The all-rounder has been ruled out of this week’s final two ODIs against Zimbabwe, and the three-match series against New Zealand that follows, with an ankle complaint.
He has returned to Perth to undergo rehab and has been replaced in the Australian squad by Josh Inglis.
Watch Australia v Zimbabwe. Every ODI Live & Exclusive to Fox Sports on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Steve Smith told reporters in Townsville that Marsh’s priority is to be ready for Australia’s T20 World Cup title defence.
“It’s disappointing for Mitch but there’s some pretty important stuff coming up,” he said, according to cricket.com.au.
“He was a big part of our T20 World Cup campaign last year and I’m sure there’s big plans for him this year.
“The priority is to get him right for that.”
Marsh was a key figure in Australia’s run to a maiden men’s T20 World Cup title last year, notably scoring 77 off 50 balls in the final to be named player of the match.
He has, however, struggled to regularly play for Australia since.
Marsh was rested during Sri Lanka’s five-match T20 series in Australia in February with an eye on the tour of Pakistan that was to follow.
But Marsh ultimately missed out on that tour as well after injuring his hip flexor during a training drill.
The 30-year-old returned for June’s tour of Sri Lanka and featured in the first ODI against Zimbabwe on Sunday, making two runs off three balls and taking 1-22 from six overs.
Marsh will now be back on the sidelines until at least Australia’s T20 tour of India in mid-September, with the World Cup to follow just weeks later.