Banned Australian cricketers Steve Smith, David Warner: 'It's like we never left'

Rex Christensen
March 21, 2019

David Warner and Steve Smith said it felt as though they had never left the Australia squad after they met up with them for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in March 2018.

Australia captain Smith and his deputy Warner were both given 12-month suspensions last March from state and global fixtures for their roles in an infamous ball-tampering scandal.

"Those guys have not played any high level cricket for a long time", Ponting told the Times of India newspaper, saying Smith and Warner "still have to prove they are the best players".

After the end of their bans, both players would have been available for selection for the final two games of the five-match series against Pakistan, which begins on Friday.

A "nervous" Smith and Warner spent less than 24 hours with Australia's 15-man ODI squad in the UAE last weekend but the short stopover was enough to generate hundreds of headlines around the world.

Warner added: "There's been a big change, which is great, and it's about accepting that and playing what our role in the team should be moving forward".

"But them going about their own business, preparing and getting their mind right to play is the most important thing for the side".

"It's good to have him back as a Rajasthan Royals player", India vice-captain Rahane said.

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"Brothers leave home for different reasons in families so it's nice to have them back in there, they've been received really well, we had a good night together last night, we had some great meetings today so it's been really positive", Langer said.

"The reality is there's going to be a lot written and said about their returns".

Both Smith and Warner revealed that the big focus of their discussions with the team while in Dubai were around the values that have been instilled in the team in their absence following the sandpaper scandal in South Africa.

"If they don't have a good IPL, then there will be a few more question marks regarding their names", said Ponting, who is head coach for IPL side Delhi Capitals.

Warner, now hipster-bearded, is expected to feature for Sunrisers Hyderabad along with Afghan spin sensation Rashid Khan and New Zealand's Kane Williamson against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday. But I think the Ashes will bring out the best in Stuart Broad, that's for sure'.

Steve Smith and David Warner are nearing returns for Australia.

"The elbow is tracking really well, I've been batting for the last two weeks, I'm able to play all shots and I've got my power back". They are not bad people, they just made a bad mistake. I love the consistency that Morgan has, no matter if they play well or don't play well, it's always the same message.

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