India v Australia T20s - Men's
Langer's focus remains on India tour
Australia coach won't factor in the impending return of Steve Smith and David Warner during white ball tour of India
Sam Ferris in Bengaluru
1 March 2019, 07:54 AM AEST
Head coach Justin Langer says the looming return of suspended duo Steve Smith and David Warner won't be factored in when Australia pick their teams in the upcoming ODI series against India.
Langer shot down any notion the selectors will have Smith and Warner in the back of their mind when they choose the teams for the five-match ODI series against India, starting on Saturday in Hyderabad.
"We're planning to pick the best XI to win these games," Langer said in Bengaluru on Friday.
"It's about us winning games of cricket and then selections and positions usually look after themselves.
"We can't plan for them (Smith and Warner) to be here because they're not here.
"For us to win last night (in Bengaluru) is a great performance for us in T20 cricket now it's time to extend that to one-day cricket and pick the best team we've got."
While it's expected Smith and Warner will feature in the World Cup in less than three months' time, Langer said winning games of cricket is his top priority and warned against his players assuming the suspended duo walk back into a successful team.
"I think you should never assume anything when you're playing cricket for Australia," he said.
"Every game is important. We are looking to win every game that we can and usually positions and spots in teams look after themselves if we look at winning games of cricket."
The 12-month bans for Smith and Warner for their involvement in the plot to artificially alter the condition of the ball in last year's Cape Town Test end on March 28.
Australia play two ODI matches against Pakistan after that expiry date, but Langer expects the pair to be ready for the start of the Indian Premier League, which begins on March 23.
Their returns to international cricket haven’t been without challenges; both players were forced to leave the Bangladesh Premier League early with elbow injuries that required surgery, albeit minor surgery for Warner.
"I think Dave's probably a little more advanced (in his rehabilitation) but my understanding is they'll be ready to go in the not-too-distant future," Langer said.
In positive signs for Smith, he posted a video on Instagram of himself batting in the SCG nets for the first time since the operation, along with a comment that read "The elbow is feeling good!".
Great to have my first hit back today. The elbow is feeling good! 😀 A post shared by Steve Smith (@steve_smith49) on
Langer says he speaks to the pair "all the time" and that dialogue will continue as their bans come closer to concluding.
"I've been in touch with them for the last nine months and as it gets closer to them coming back in the squad, I'm not sure it increases how much we speak to each other, it's been consistent. That will remain the same."
Qantas Tour of India
First T20: Australia won by three wickets
Second T20: Australia won by seven wickets
First ODI: March 2, Hyderabad
Second ODI: March 5, Nagpur
Third ODI: March 8, Ranchi
Fourth ODI: March 10, Mohali
Fifth ODI: March 13, Delhi