Monday 17 June, 2019

Langer: Smith, Warner could return against Pakistan

Banned Australia pair David Warner and Steve Smith.

Banned Australia pair David Warner and Steve Smith.

Australia head coach Justin Langer said there is "potential" for Steve Smith and David Warner to face Pakistan in a One-Day International (ODI) series once their bans expire in 2019.

Pakistan and Australia are set to contest a five-match ODI series in the UAE in March next year – in line with the end of Smith and Warner's ball-tampering suspensions – though it is yet to be finalised.

Banished Australia captain Smith and Warner were banned for 12 months from international and state cricket for their roles in the ball-tampering controversy against South Africa at Newlands in March.

Smith and Warner could return ahead of next year's Cricket World Cup in England if dates for the ODI showdown against Pakistan are confirmed.

"There's potential for that, but that's part of the process [to work through to reintegrate the banned players]," Langer told reporters in Melbourne.

"There's lots of conversations going on about what's best for our bowlers, for the guys returning, and we'll work through that.

"We'll get the best outcome for Australian cricket and for them personally, but there's been no decisions made at this stage."

Smith and Warner have been playing grade cricket in Australia following the fiasco in the third Test against the Proteas.

Star Australian batsman Smith was deemed to have had knowledge of a plan to alter the condition of the ball, which Warner is alleged to have developed and instructed Cameron Bancroft – who was banned for nine months – to carry out with sandpaper, and failing to prevent its implementation.

Bancroft had been caught on camera using yellow tape on day three, sparking fierce backlash and leading to heavy suspensions.

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