The ball-tampering scandal rocked Australian cricket team during their South Africa tour last March. It led to the suspension of then skipper and vice-captain, Steve Smith and David Warner respectively, along with opener Cameron Bancroft. While the latter’s ban has been lifted, Smith and Warner are serving the last two weeks of their suspension. Ahead of Australia’s series versus Pakistan in UAE, head coach Justin Langer revealed plans of the tainted duo’s return to the national setup in Dubai when they will be en route to joining their respective franchises ahead of IPL 2019.
Fresh from a historic ODI series win over hosts India, coach Langer spoke of the on and off-field plans for the ICC World Cup (this summer) which will also involve Smith and Warner. “It’s the perfect opportunity to get us all together, to talk about some of our plans for the World Cup. Keep reiterating the messages about our game-plans on the field, keep reiterating the messages about what’s important for us as a group off the field. Because they go hand in hand. It’s going to be really good to see them. We’re all looking forward to catching up,” Langer told.
Langer’s task will be cut out in terms of reintegration of both Smith and Warner for the World Cup and Ashes 2019 (which will commence soon after the marquee event). He pointed out, “This is just part of the process. What’s happened has happened. We have to keep moving forward. We’ve had lots of conversations with the boys … we keep talking about the World Cup coming up.”
The Australian cricket team is scheduled to take on Pakistan in a five-match ODI series starting from March 22. Smith and Warner, however, will proceed ahead to India and join their respective IPL franchises, Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), which will commence from March 23.