South African cricket captain Graeme Smith has been ruled out of action for at least three months after undergoing a surgery to repair torn ligaments in his right ankle.
Smith underwent the surgery at a hospital in Pretoria after X-rays confirmed the tear, team's physiotherapist Shane Jabaar said.
"The X-ray conducted by an ankle specialist in Pretoria confirmed that Graeme had torn two ligaments on the lateral side of his ankle," said Jabaar.
"He will wear a cast for six weeks. Graeme will be out for a period of eight to twelve weeks depending on rehabilitation."
The flamboyant batsman was earlier ruled out of the tour of Sri Lanka starting later this month and 29-year-old coloured cricketer Ashwell Price named as stand-in captain.
Left-handed batsman Jacques Rudolf, who was playing club cricket for Lancashire in England, has been called upon to replace Smith.
Smith said he was disappointed to miss out on action but was confident of a good show from the team.
"After all the hard work put in during the pre-season, it is unfortunate that I had to sustain this injury. I have no doubt that Ashwell will do well as captain and the team will pull together to make a success of the Sri Lankan tour," he said.
The team leaves for a two-Test tour of Sri Lanka at the end of next week. After the Tests, the visitors will be involved in a tri-series with India as the third team.