ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Aussie Cup campaign starts with surprise
Smith absent, Warner walks laps as World Cup preparation begins in Brisbane
Adam Burnett in Brisbane
3 May 2019, 02:44 PM AEST
Returning duo Steve Smith and David Warner were notable absentees from the main action as Australia's World Cup squad held its first training session at Allan Border Field in Brisbane, just over four weeks out from their tournament opener on June 1.
Smith was forced to remain back at the team hotel due to a virus, while Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis jogged or walked laps as the rest of the squad underwent an intensive fielding session under the eye of head coach Justin Langer.
But despite their at-best peripheral involvement on Friday, as well as the restrictions surrounding their official leadership duties as part of their sanctions following the ball-tampering scandal, Langer said both comeback players would be very much playing leadership roles within the World Cup squad.
"I've always talked about leadership – whether it's titled or untitled – we expect all our players to be leaders," the 105-Test veteran explained.
"They're both natural leaders … so we'll draw on their experience on and off the field, and we'd be absolutely crazy not to."
Former captain Smith has led Australia in 51 ODIs and still has a chance of re-ascending to the top job after he serves a two-year leadership ban, while Warner's penalty for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal means he will no longer be considered as a leader within the Australian set-up.
Langer was viewing the pair's return only in positive terms though he did concede the experience had been a chastening lesson in humility.
"They're big boys, they've worked through a really tough 12 months, they'll be thicker skinned for it," he said.
"There's certainly going to be challenges for both of them, though; when you've come from the titled position of captain and then you're not, well there's going to be a certain degree of humility that comes with that.
"But one of our key values is humility, so that's a great opportunity for them to develop that.
"It's going to be a huge opportunity for (Smith) to share with the group what he's learned on and off the field – he's an all-time great cricketer.
"We'd be absolutely crazy not to draw on that, and we will draw on that, just as we will with the way Davey plays his cricket – the ways he runs between wickets, his body language on the field.
"They're the things that epitomise great players and great Australian cricket teams. So we'll use that leadership and we'll use it on and off the field."
Australia's World Cup campaign begins on the opening day of the northern hemisphere summer against Afghanistan in Bristol, and there may have been some consideration for that first-up opponent with the addition in Brisbane on Friday of leg-spin trio Mitchell Swepson (Queensland), Lloyd Pope (South Australia) and Tom O'Connell (Victoria) bowling in the nets alongside World Cup spinners Adam Zampa and Nathan Lyon.
"I think spin will play a huge part in this World Cup," Finch told Melbourne radio station SEN this week.
"I think spin, once the wickets dry out towards the end of the tournament, that'll be a big factor."
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
May 25: (warm-up) England v Australia, Southampton
May 27: (warm-up) Australia v Sri Lanka, Southampton
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE