Pakistan series ‘potential’ for Smith, Warner return: Aussie coach


­–Justin Langer says ‘I’ve heard about Pakistan league [PSL], it’s high quality’

Australia coach Justin Langer says there is “potential” for Steve Smith and David Warner to feature in a one-day series against Pakistan in the UAE just days after their ball-tampering suspensions are served, reported Cricket Australia.

A five-match ODI series hosted by Pakistan has long been mooted for March next year as teams look to fine-tune for next year’s World Cup in England. It had been pencilled in between March 15 and 29, but new reports suggest Pakistan has proposed hosting Australia from March 31 to April 13.

The year-long suspensions of Smith and Warner expire on March 29.

If those dates are confirmed, it could see the banned duo return to the national team within 48 hours of their suspension lifting and the five matches could be valuable for Justin Langer to refine the reintegration of the players ahead of the World Cup.

“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 today.

“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.”

If the Pakistan series is played before the bans are lifted, Smith and Warner’s would not be expected to play for Australia until the World Cup warm-up matches in England just prior to the tournament’s start.

Smith and Warner are both due to play in next year’s IPL however a number of Australia’s leading ODI players have already opted out of the tournament given the tight timeframes and national commitments in the lead-up to the World Cup.

Players selected to meet Pakistan will not be released for the IPL by CA until after that series, while a mandatory training camp has been scheduled for early May for the 15 players who make the official World Cup squad.

Dates for the IPL have yet to be confirmed, but the crowded calendar of national commitments would dramatically shorten the window Smith and Warner could feature for their IPL franchises.

Smith is also due to play in the Pakistan Super League, while Warner will captain a side in the Bangladesh Premier League, and the former captain said he believed the T20 diet would be adequate preparation for the World Cup.

“These days, the way the one-day game is played it’s almost an extended T20 so T20 cricket is a good way to prepare,” Smith told reporters last week in his first media appearance since the Cape Town saga.

“The IPL is one of the best (T20) tournaments around the world and from what I’ve heard about the Pakistan league [PSL], it’s high quality, so I think that will be adequate preparation.

“I’ve been working hard at my game, I’ve been concentrating on a few weaknesses, I want to come back better,” he said.