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Smith, Warner reunited with Australia squad

By Opta
David Warner (left) and Steve Smith reunited with the Australia squad in Dubai

Dubai, March 17: Steve Smith and David Warner have met their Australia team-mates in Dubai as they prepare to return to international cricket following lengthy suspensions.

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.

Australia, under new leadership in the form of coach Justin Langer, defeated India 3-2 away from home in a one-day international series this month, and are now preparing to take on Pakistan in the same format.

Smith and Warner, although eligible for selection, will not feature in the Middle East, as they recover from elbow injuries, and are due instead to compete in the Indian Premier League, before their anticipated involvement in the World Cup and then the Ashes in England.

"It's been great to be back around the group, they've been really welcoming again and it's almost like we never left, so everything is on the right track," Smith said.

Asked what the reunion has involved, the 29-year-old added: "It's just been going through the values that are instilled in the team at the moment, making sure we are on the right path looking forward to what's coming up - a huge World Cup and an Ashes series, it's a pretty exciting time ahead for the team so just making sure everyone is heading in the same direction. It's been very beneficial and really good."

Warner said: "It's been awesome, like we didn't really leave. The boys have been really accepting of us coming in with open arms and a lot of big hugs and cuddles. It's good to see the spirit they are in after a great series win in India."

Langer feels the returning duo have plenty to offer the team after a period in the wilderness.

"It's great to have them back on the team, it's like two brothers coming back home," he said. "Brothers leave home for different reasons in families so nice to have them back in there. They've been received really well, we had a good night last night and some great meetings today so it's been really positive.

"They've gone through a really tough time, a 12-month suspension is unprecedented really, so they are excited and because they are so excited they have a hunger to play well and make a lot of runs to help the team be successful. When you are a coach with two guys with as many runs and experience as they've got coming back into a team that's playing it's pretty exciting."

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Story first published: Sunday, March 17, 2019, 8:10 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 17, 2019
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