David Warner and Steve Smith return: Australia cricket, news, ODI, sandpaper
The bans are set to come to an end in a little under two weeks and ahead of their anticipated return, David Warner and Steve Smith have met with the Australian squad in Dubai.
Smith and Warner were both handed 12-months bans for their roles in the now infamous ball-tampering scandal that rocked the cricketing world.
Along with the bans both were stripped of their captaincy tags with Smith not allowed to be considered for the lead role for a further 12 months after the bans end.
The Aussie squad is currently in Dubai after their one-day series victory against India and are preparing for the upcoming series against Pakistan.
“It’s been awesome,” Warner told cricket.com.au.
“It’s like we didn’t really leave, the boys were very accepting of us coming in and with open arms.
“(There were) a lot of big hugs and cuddles. It’s been great.
“It’s good to see the spirit they’re in after a great series win in India and I am obviously looking forward to watching them play against Pakistan here and hopefully they win that series as well.”
The duo were caught up on the changes new coach Justin Langer had implemented in their time away from the group.
“I guess it’s just been going through the values that are instilled in the team at the moment and making sure we are on the right path looking forward to what’s coming up; a huge World Cup and an Ashes series in England,” Steve Smith said.
“It’s pretty exciting times ahead for the team and just making sure everyone’s on the right path and heading in the same direction.”
With the Ashes series in England on the horizon, the Australian squad showed recent flashes in their latest Test match series against Sri Lanka.
But with Smith and Warner set to return the competition for spots in the batting line-up will be at a premium.
Coach Justin Langer believes bringing the duo back into the group sooner will only help with the harmony among the team and take them to the next level.
“It’s great to have them back in the team, it’s like two brothers coming home,” Langer said.
“They have been received really well, we had a good night together last night and had some great meetings today so it’s been really positive.
“As a coach when you have got two guys with as many runs and experience as they’ve got coming back into a team that’s playing well, that’s very exciting.”
Australia will kick off their ODI series against Pakistan on March 22, while Smith and Warner will head to India for the Indian Premier League which gets underway on March 24/
Originally published as ‘Like we never left’: Banned duo return