More problems for Australian cricket team ahead of this year’s showpiece event World Cup 2019, which is scheduled to be held in the UK. If the reports of Cricket Australia are to be believed, banned former captain Steve Smith needs elbow surgery and may not be ready for his return to international cricket on March 28, or for the World Cup for the matter. Cricket Australia officials confirmed on Saturday that Smith, who was sent home from the Bangladesh Premier League, had ligament damage, putting his World Cup and IPL aspirations in jeopardy.

The 29-year-old Smith played only two matches for his franchise Comilla Victorians in the ongoing Bangladesh Premier League, where he scored 16 and zero. Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were banned by the cricket board following the infamous ball-tampering scandal which shook the Australian cricket.

“Steve Smith will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a ligament in his right elbow. He is expected to wear a brace for six weeks before commencing rehabilitation,” a CA spokesperson said.

“Return to play time frames will be clearer once the brace has been removed.”

Smith and fellow banned batsmen Warner were slated to return for action for the Kangaroos during the five-game ODI series against Pakistan in April. The series was seen as a vital tune-up before the World Cup in England.

But a six-week minimum rehabilitation period would potentially put his return back.

Selectors have to pick a 15-man World Cup squad by April 23 and may need to select and hope he’s fit for the tournament which begins for Australia on June 1st against Afghanistan.

Both Smith and Warner have played in Canada, also in the Caribbean and Bangladesh in T20 competitions, and on home soil they have played NSW Premier Cricket with success. While it’s uncertain when and where Smith and Warner will return to the national team, limited-overs captain Aaron Finch said last month both players will be warmly welcomed back.