Smith in doubt for India T20 opener

Skipper has MRI scan on sore shoulder but there are no concerns over Ashes availability

Australian captain Steve Smith is in doubt for the first T20 against India in Ranchi due to a shoulder problem.

Smith had an MRI scan on his sore right shoulder following training on Thursday and after he sat out most of Friday night's session, a CA spokesperson confirmed he's in doubt for the first match of the three-game series, which starts at 12.30am AEST on Sunday morning.

The results from the MRI scan are still being examined by team medical staff but it's understood there are currently no concerns about his availability for the Magellan Ashes series this summer.

Physio Alex Kountouris examines Smith's shoulder //
Physio Alex Kountouris examines Smith's shoulder //

While the injury is not yet serious enough to rule him out of any cricket, the Aussies would be reluctant to take any risks with their skipper and best batsman ahead of the Tests against England.

On Friday, Smith watched on as his teammates completed fielding drills at the JSCA Stadium before he headed to the nets for some throw downs with batting coach Graeme Hick.

After batting for around 20 minutes, a visibly frustrated Smith left the nets, gathered his bag and headed for the team rooms.

He later emerged and had a long discussion with team doctor Richard Saw and physio Alex Kountouris as well as selector Mark Waugh, coach David Saker and head of high performance Pat Howard.

Smith discusses his injury with medical staff in Ranchi //
Smith discusses his injury with medical staff in Ranchi //

A decision on his availability for the clash in Ranchi will be made before the toss. 

Vice-captain David Warner would be expected to lead the side if Smith is ruled out, although Aaron Finch, who captained a below-strength side in their series against Sri Lanka in February, is also in the squad.

Should Smith be ruled out, it could lead to a promotion up the order for damaging right-hander Glenn Maxwell, who's enjoyed success as an opener in T20 cricket before but is unlikely to unseat Warner and Finch as openers in this series.

Smith chats with David Saker and Pat Howard at training //
Smith chats with David Saker and Pat Howard at training //

"We're really lucky that we've got a really flexible batting order," wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Paine said.

"Glenn has opened the batting in a few Twenty20s for Australia in the subcontinent and has done really well.

"But Finchy and Davey Warner are probably two of the better T20 opening batsman in the world so I'd expect they would probably open. But I'm really not sure.

"It's great that we've got the flexibility and there's a number of guys who could do it."

Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Axar Patel.

T20 Fixtures

October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad