Cape Town: South Africa opener Graeme Smith has been ruled out of next month's Champions Trophy with a left ankle injury, the country's cricket board said on Thursday.
Smith, South Africa's Test captain, has had long-term problems with his left ankle and needed surgery in the past but the injury flared up again in the home one-day international series against Pakistan in March.
The 32-year-old was playing for English county Surrey but would return home after scans in London on Wednesday showed a stress fracture to the troublesome ankle, Cricket South Africa said in a statement.
The left-handed batsman would require surgery and could need up to six months to return to the field again, South Africa team manager Mohammed Moosajee said.
The top-ranked Test team in the world will be led by AB de Villiers in the Champions Trophy as South Africa aim to leave behind their past failures in ICC tournaments.
South Africa are in Group B and will play the opening match of the June 6-23 tournament against India in Cardiff. Pakistan and West Indies are the other teams in the group.