Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Morkel tips Warner to bring 'spice' to Cup
South African crosses paths with David Warner for first time since Cape Town as former Protea joined a NSW Blues training session
28 February 2019, 11:16 PM AEST
Former South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel has backed David Warner to add "spice" to this year's World Cup and tipped the batsman to make an instant impact on his return from a ball-tampering suspension.
Morkel and Warner crossed paths on Thursday for the first time since the Newlands scandal last March at the unlikely surrounds of a NSW Blues training session at the SCG.
The former Protea has settled in Sydney with his wife, Roz Kelly, a former Big Bash host during the league's time on Network Ten, and was keen to roll his arm over ahead of a return to the UK where he will play with Division One side Surrey.
Morkel made contact with Pat Cummins about training in Sydney and the Australia quick who is in India for a white-ball tour, put him in touch with NSW Blues coach Phil Jaques who was only too happy to have a veteran of 86 Tests with 309 wickets to his name attend.
Morkel was slotted in to the Blues nets rotations – something captain Peter Nevill admitted had several players doing a double-take to see the former Protea listed on the whiteboard – and sent down several overs.
Warner, who is recovering from surgery to clean up his elbow joint, arrived at the SCG nets in his NSW kit but only for treatment on his elbow and did not pad up to face the South African.
The pair are former IPL teammates at the Delhi Daredevils, and chatted at the nets in their first meeting since the rancour of last-March's ill-fated series.
"It's the first time I've seen Davey since South Africa," Morkel told reporters at the SCG nets.
"Obviously as a cricket supporter I'm rapt for him to get back on the field.
"It will be great to see him and Steve (Smith) play and it will be great for Australia as well."
The former Protea said he expected Warner to make an immediate impact on his return to the international scene.
"He is a world class player. Against him, as a bowler I always felt under pressure," Morkel said.
"You needed to be on the money from the word go and they're the sort of guys you want in your team.
"Players who have that x-factor to take the game away from you. There's no doubt in my mind that when he's fit and ready he will be back for Australia.
"I just hope they can get fit as quick as possible and get ready for that World Cup.
"It'll add a bit of spice to the World Cup, which is good for the game.''
Smith and Warner will be eligible for national selection again on March 29 following the end of their 12-month bans for their roles in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
That same day, Australia will meet Pakistan in Dubai in the fourth ODI of a five-match series that will be serve as pivotal preparations for this year's 50-over World Cup.
The schedule may line up for an immediate return but it appears unlikely either of the pair will be fit to take the park at the first opportunity as they recover from separate elbow surgeries.
Smith had his first hit at the SCG's indoor nets today, posting video of him facing up to throw-downs on his social media. He had been required to wear a brace for several weeks following his major surgery and is expected to target a return in the Indian Premier League.
A post shared by Steve Smith (@steve_smith49) on
That is also the expected destination for Warner rather than Australia's ODI series against Pakistan.
The pair would then – if selected in the 15-man World Cup squad that must be named by April 23 – link up with their teammates at a training camp in early May at Brisbane's Bupa NCC for a training camp that will include a series of 50-over practice matches against New Zealand at Allan Border Field.
Australia's World Cup fixtures
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