The much-anticipated international return of David Warner and Steven Smith will be extended a little longer as the two players, whose bans end on March 28, aren’t part of the Australia ODI squad for the final two matches of the series against Pakistan in UAE. The Australian selectors, on Friday (March 8), decided to retain the same ODI squad that was picked for the India tour, with Mitchell Starc continuing to be sidelined due to a left pectoral muscle strain.
Warner and Smith, who are recovering from their respective elbow injuries, will be part of the Indian Premier League which will serve as the pathway for their return to the Australia squad. Warner is part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad team while Smith with join the Rajasthan Royals setup for the 12th season of the IPL which gets underway from March 23.
Australia ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa
“After consultation with members of the National Selection Panel, Greg Chappell and Head Coach Justin Langer, Interim EGM Team Performance Belinda Clark, CA Medical Team and both players, it has been agreed Steve Smith and David Warner will not be available for selection for the final two matches of the series against Pakistan,” said Trevor Hohns, Chairman of the National Selection Panel.
“While their bans will be finished on March 28, Steve and David have been working through rehabilitation from elbow surgery and it has been agreed the best pathway for them to return to play is in the Indian Premier League, a strong competition which features some of the world’s best players. David will play with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Steve with Rajasthan Royals. Cricket Australia will continue to liaise with both Steve, David and their IPL clubs to monitor progress as we build towards the ICC World Cup and the Ashes,” Hohns said.
Meanwhile, the injury problems continue to hamper Starc, who suffered a recurrence of his muscle injury – while kept him out of the India tour – when he tried to commence bowling. “Unfortunately, Mitchell Starc’s recovery from his left pectoral muscle strain has been set back by a slight recurrence as he commenced bowling. This has ruled him out of the Pakistan Series and while frustrating for all involved, our focus is to have Mitch ready for the World Cup,” Hohns said.
Kane Richardson has been retained in the 15-member squad despite his recent injury – a left side strain – that ended his India campaign even before the series started. “Despite returning to Australia last week, Kane Richardson has been included in the squad as we monitor his recovery from the left side strain injury. We are hopeful he will recover in time for the Pakistan series,” Hohns added.
The ODI series against Pakistan begins on March 22 in Sharjah, with the venue also hosting the second ODI on March 24. The third ODI will be played in Abu Dhabi on March 27 while Dubai will host the last two matches on March 29 and 31.