Former Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne has said that Australia will welcome Steve Smith and David Warner back into the side with “open arms” when their international bans expire. Warne, who claimed 708 wickets for Australia in 145 tests, is also hopeful of their inclusion in the team which, according to him, will strengthen Australia’s chances of winning the World Cup 2019.
Both Smith and Warner have been under suspension for a period of 12 months, which is set to end on March 29. The duo was suspended for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year. They can return to top-level cricket at the end of this month.
“I think Smith and Warner will be accepted with open arms. They have done their time. They are not bad people, they just made a bad mistake,” Warne told Sky Sports.
Warne also argued that players of their class should be made part of the World Cup squad. “When you have got that sort of class as a cricketer, they will go straight back into the World Cup squad,” he said.
During the Australian tour of India, the Aussies picked up a 3-2 ODI series win against the hosts, gathering momentum in time for the May 30-July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.
“The way Australia are playing at the moment, I wouldn’t write them off and I think they can win the World Cup. They just beat India in the T20 series and to chase 360 in India without Smith and Warner is an ominous sign for the rest of the World Cup competition,” Warne said.
While the bans of both Smith and Warner end just in time for them to feature in the last two One Day Internationals of the five-match series against Pakistan, the duo has not been included in the squad. Recently, both of them have undergone elbow surgery and are recovering. The Cricket Australia management decided in favour of allowing them to go for an extended stint at the IPL 2019 before returning to Australia in early May for a training camp in Brisbane.