Johannesburg : South Africa forced Test captain Graeme Smith to withdraw from the Champions League Twenty20 tournament on Monday to allow him to fully recover from knee surgery in time for the international season.
Cricket South Africa said Smith's 6-8 week recovery period following last week's operation on his right knee will be complete before the Sept. 23 start of the Champions League, but the left-handed opener is out of the event as "a precaution."
Smith aggravated an old injury playing for Pune Warriors in the Indian Premier League in April and underwent a successful cartilage operation on Friday, CSA said.
"Although his rehabilitation period will be over by the time the Champions League commences, we feel that he will not be match-ready at the time," Proteas team manager Mohammed Moosajee said. "He will now undergo a guided rehabilitation program in the coming weeks and hopefully he will recover in time for the start of a very busy international summer."
The Proteas host Australia in two Tests, three one-dayers and two Twenty20s from Oct. 13, followed by a three-Test and five-ODI series against Sri Lanka. South Africa, the second-ranked Test team, then tours New Zealand for three Tests, three ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals in early 2012.
Smith, who has given up the T20 and one-day captaincy for South Africa, would have played for his regular provincial side Cape Cobras in the 10-team Champions League in India.
The Cape Town-based Cobras - South Africa's domestic T20 champions - signed Smith's international teammates Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher in the offseason. They are likely to play at the Champions League, alongside fellow Proteas Dale Steyn, JP Duminy, Robin Peterson and Justin Kemp.
Former South Africa batsman Herschelle Gibbs was also selected in last week's Cape Cobras squad for the coming season.