In a big blow for banned Australian cricketer Steve Smith, he will need to undergo surgery for an elbow injury with less than three months left in his year-long suspension, which is slated to end weeks before the World Cup.

The 29-year-old is set to go under the knife to repair a ligament in his right elbow on Tuesday and is expected to be in a brace for six weeks, according to Cricket Australia. The right-hander will also require extensive rehabilitation after the surgery.

This means that he will be recovering from injury and low on match practice ahead of his re-entry into international cricket when his ban for the ball-tampering scandal ends on March 28. Australia have two tough assignments in England post that, their 50-over World Cup defence and the Ashes.

Earlier this week, Smith had dropped out of the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 tournament after playing just two matches.

“Smith has suffered an elbow injury. We are not sure how he picked it up, but the last two days he could not bat in training due to the problem,” Comilla Victorians’ head coach Mohammad Salahuddin had told AFP.

“He had an MRI test here but the result was not very clear. He sent the report to Australian physicians who advised him to return home immediately,” he added.

Smith, who was leading Comilla in the tournament, scored just 13 runs in his two matches, including a duck in the last match, in which his team was dismissed for a lowly 63 runs.