Sydney, April 15: Steve Smith and David Warner's year-long international exile has come to an end following their inclusion in Australia's squad for the Cricket World Cup.
Smith and Warner were stripped of their roles as captain and vice-captain respectively and banned for 12 months for their involvement in a ball-tampering scandal during the Test series against South Africa in March 2018.
Their suspensions expired last month and the pair – who did not feature in the one-day international series against Pakistan in the Middle East – will be in action at the World Cup in England, starting in June.
However, the 15-man squad – led by captain Aaron Finch – does not include in-form batsman Peter Handscomb and fast bowler Josh Hazlewood, while the likes of D'Arcy Short, Kane Richardson, Ashton Turner and Matthew Wade also missed out.
Handscomb has averaged 43 in 13 games this year, including a maiden ODI hundred against Indian, but there is no room for the Victorian following Smith and Warner's return.
Despite being sidelined since January due to injury, Hazlewood was confident of earning a World Cup spot but Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Jhye Richardson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jason Behrendorff are Australia's preferred pace options.
Starc and Richardson's inclusion for the showpiece 50-over tournament is subject to fitness.
"Steve Smith and David Warner come back into the squad. Both are world-class players and it has been pleasing to see them produce some good form in the IPL," Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said.
"Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson have both been named subject to fitness. The advice from the Cricket Australia medical team is they are progressing well and barring any setbacks will be available for selection ahead of our opening match against Afghanistan on June 1.
"Given the depth of talent and competition for spots there were a number of tough calls we had to make to settle on our squad of 15.
"Unfortunately, from the recent squad which toured India and the UAE, Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner and Kane Richardson have made way for the above inclusions, but all three have been included in the Australia A squad for the tour of England.
"Josh Hazlewood has also been named in the Australia A squad. Having not played at the highest level for some time, we feel this will provide him with the best preparation to get some quality cricket under his belt. Our focus is to have Josh back bowling at his best for the commencement of a big Ashes Tour."
Australia’s World Cup squad: Aaron Finch (captain), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa