South Africa's Test captain Graeme Smith will miss the Indian Premier League to have surgery to fix a chronic ankle injury and ensure he is fully fit for the Proteas' tour of England.
Smith required an operation on his left ankle, which had been troubling him for two months, and would need eight to 10 weeks to recover, Cricket South Africa said on Sunday.
As a result, the left-handed opening batsman won't be able to play for Pune Warriors in the IPL Twenty20 tournament, which begins this week. Smith's participation in the IPL last year, his first season for Pune, was curtailed due to a knee injury and he also missed the Champions League at the end of 2011 to have surgery on that knee.
CSA said Smith, 31, would have the ankle operation on Tuesday so he can recover in time for the three-Test tour to England, which starts in July.
"My ankle has been troubling me for some time so it will be a relief to have it repaired, especially looking ahead to the crucial year of cricket ahead," Smith said.
South Africa's Test series in England is highly anticipated as a top-of-the-rankings contest. England are the current top-ranked team ahead of South Africa but are under pressure from the Proteas for their No. 1 status.
South Africa are also due to go to Australia at the end of 2012.
Smith is approaching two career landmarks: he's set to play his 100th Test in the series-opener in England and is on course to match Australian Allan Border's record of 93 Tests as captain during the tour.