Qantas Tour of the UAE
Smith, Warner set for UAE tour return
Suspended pair poised to reintegrate with Australia squad during upcoming ODI series
Sam Ferris in Delhi
12 March 2019, 07:27 AM AEST
Suspended pair Steve Smith and David Warner will begin their reintegration into the Australian setup later this month in the UAE.
The pair will link up with the ODI squad – which they were not considered for – ahead of its five-match series against Pakistan, which starts on March 22 in Sharjah.
What the reintegration looks like remains to be seen, but there will be eight days from when the Australia squad leaves Delhi after Wednesday's fifth ODI against India and the series opener against a depleted Pakistan outfit.
The 12-month bans handed down to Smith and Warner by Cricket Australia for their role in the Cape Town ball-tampering incident end on March 28, but by that stage the duo is expected to be India taking part in the Indian Premier League, which starts on March 23.
While the final two ODIs against Pakistan take place after the suspensions are lifted, on March 29 and 31, it was deemed by the players, the National Selection Panel, CA medical staff and Interim EGM Team Performance Belinda Clark that their best path back into the national team was through the IPL as both batsmen recover from respective elbow surgeries.
Warner made a blazing comeback to cricket with a century for NSW Premier Cricket club Randwick-Petersham on the weekend, while Smith has posted video of himself on social media batting in the nets.
Due to the restrictions of their bans, Smith and Warner have not been allowed to train with the national team but have practiced with NSW and against the members of the Australian pace attack when preparing to play.
Both batsmen experienced hostile net sessions against Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood this summer before they were injured in the Bangladesh Premier League.
It's likely the pair will use their time in the UAE familiarising themselves with the new team environment under captain Aaron Finch and coach Justin Langer.
Every player in the ODI squad in India has spoken glowingly about the feel and camaraderie in the camp, which has also been noticed by fast bowling legend Mitchell Johnson, who is following the tour as a commentator.
Johnson and champion batsman Matthew Hayden have spent time with the Australian team as mentors this tour to pass on advice and be sounding boards for the young squad.
What has stood out for Johnson has been the closeness of the group, and he says reintroducing Smith and Warner before the IPL and the pressures of a World Cup is a smart move.
"It was going to happen at some point and it's probably better than before they were playing," Johnson told cricket.com.au in Delhi.
"It gets them into the group and seeing how it's going at the moment, because all they've seen is from the outside.
"The feeling I got being in Ranchi and seeing all the guys together there was that there's a pretty good feeling around.
"The guys all seemed like they were bonding well and got on well.
"I think they (Smith and Warner) need to experience that, go off and play IPL then come back into the group and fit into what the team is doing at that time."