Smith hits the nets to begin World Cup prep

Star batter says he is 'starting to feel good' after being sidelined following the Ashes with a wrist injury

Can Steve Smith identify his bats blindfolded?

Steve Smith has taken his first steps towards an international return ahead of next month's ODI World Cup, sharing footage of his first net session since being sidelined with a wrist injury following the Ashes.

Smith today posted footage to his Instagram of himself batting in the indoor nets at NSW's Cricket Central facility at Sydney Olympic Park, showcasing a range of shots including a ramp and several sweetly struck drives, one of which hit the camera positioned next to the non-striker's end stumps.

"A good first hit out today in the nets, finally my wrist is starting to feel good," the 34-year-old told his 3.5 million followers.

"It's been annoying for a while. I hit them good today so hopefully some positive signs for what's coming up."

Smith returns to the nets for the first time after his wrist injury // Instagram (@steve_smith49)

It was revealed last month the right-hander batted through the final three Tests of Australia's Ashes campaign with tendon damage in his left wrist after being hurt while fielding on the final day of the second match at Lord's.

He required a cortisone injection during that period and still contributed dual half-centuries at The Oval as England won two of the final three matches to square the series 2-2, with Australia retaining the urn after a weather-affected draw in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.

"I must have just landed awkwardly," Smith told AAP of the injury last month.

"It was quite painful at Headingley (for the third Test).

"Even in the lead in, I didn't hit that much in the nets. I was just trying to find a way to hold the bat that wasn't painful.

"After that, some shots I played, cross-bat and back-foot punching I was sore. Trying to decelerate the bat was hard, or defending sometimes was sore. But it wasn't awful."

Smith has been absent from Australia's ongoing white-ball tour of South Africa while he recovers from the injury, with his replacement Marnus Labuschagne staking a huge claim for a late inclusion in the 15-player World Cup squad following a match-winning 80no in the first ODI last Thursday and a century in the second on Saturday.

Smith isn't Australia's only injury concern ahead of the 50-over showpiece beginning on October 5, with captain Pat Cummins (fractured wrist), Mitchell Starc (groin soreness) and Glenn Maxwell (ankle soreness) all missing from the tour of South Africa.

Cameron Green was also substituted out of the first ODI against South Africa with concussion and isn't expected to return until the fifth match of the series on Sunday.

The remaining four were included in Australia's World Cup squad last week and are not currently in doubt for tournament. They will re-join the squad for the upcoming three-match series in India beginning on September 22.

Australia has eight 50-over matches scheduled – including tonight's third ODI in Potchefstroom – before their World Cup opener against India in Chennai on October 8.

"We've got Mitch (Starc) and Pat (Cummins) coming back in hopefully for the Indian series before the World Cup and there's still a lot of games to go yet, so no doubt the quicks will play a huge part … in the World Cup," Australian fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said.

"The more match practice we can get without overstressing ourselves and doing too much and forcing injuries, will give everyone a good run at it."

Hazlewood was rested for the second ODI but will return for tonight's third match before likely sitting out game four and again returning for game five.

Australia's 2023 ODI World Cup fixtures

Warm-up match: September 30: v Netherlands, Thiruvananthapuram (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

Warm-up match: October 3: v Pakistan, Hyderabad (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

October 8: v India, Chennai (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

October 12: v South Africa, Lucknow (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

October 16: v Sri Lanka, Lucknow (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

October 20: v Pakistan, Bengaluru (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

October 25: v Netherlands, Delhi (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

October 28: v New Zealand, Dharamsala, 4pm AEDT

November 4: v England, Ahmedabad (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 7: v Afghanistan, Mumbai (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 11: v Bangladesh, Pune, 4pm AEDT

November 15: First semi-final, Mumbai (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 16: Second semi-final, Kolkata (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

November 19: Final, Ahmedabad (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

*Can be changed up until September 28