Opener Graeme Smith will miss next month's Champions Trophy due to an ankle injury, South Africa Cricket has confirmed.
Scans yesterday revealed the Test skipper suffered a stress fracture to his left ankle and the 32-year-old, who has been playing for Surrey in English domestic cricket, will fly to his homeland today for further consultation.
"It's a big blow for me personally to be missing out on the Champions Trophy next month," he said.
"The ODI squad is creating something special and I was looking forward to being part of that family. I will no doubt be supporting from my living room and I know the players, under AB's (De Villiers) leadership will be giving all that they can during the tournament."
Proteas team manager Mohammed Moosajee admits it may take some time for Smith to return to full fitness.
"Graeme has been troubled by left ankle pain over the last few months and despite extensive treatment and physiotherapy, it has recently deteriorated significantly while playing for Surrey in England," he said.
"He underwent a rescan of his left ankle in London on Wednesday, and it was determined that since his last scan, the condition has progressed to a stress fracture. Surgery will be required, and he has been advised to follow a rest and rehabilitation programme over the next four to six months.
"This unfortunately rules him out of the upcoming ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales and the selectors will name a replacement in due course."