Pakistan v Australia: Steve Smith and David Warner out of UAE tour

Top-order batsmen, whose 12-month bans expire on March 28, not in squad for five-match ODI series

Steve Smith, left, and David Warner, seen in Bangladesh Premier League action, have not played international cricket for nearly 12 months. AFP
Steve Smith, left, and David Warner, seen in Bangladesh Premier League action, have not played international cricket for nearly 12 months. AFP

Cricket fans in the UAE will not get to watch Steve Smith or David Warner in action here after the duo were on Friday left out of Australia's squad for the five-match one-day international series against Pakistan.

The decision was taken by the selection committee despite Smith and Warner being eligible for the final two ODIs, scheduled to be held in Dubai on March 29 and 31, given their ball-tampering bans expire on March 28.

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said it had been decided they would be better served playing their way back into contention at the Indian Premier League, which starts in Chennai on March 23.

"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," he said.

"David will play with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Steve with Rajastan 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.

Smith and Warner were handed 12-month bans by Cricket Australia (CA) for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal that erupted during a Test match in South Africa last year. However, they were allowed to play league cricket around the world during this period, which explains their eligibility to appear in the IPL.

It was always unclear whether either of the pair would be fit to play in ODI series as both top-order batsmen were recovering from elbow surgeries.

Smith went under the knife in January after being forced to drop out of the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 tournament with a ligament problem.

Warner also returned home from Bangladesh with an injured elbow, though less serious than Smith. He, too, had surgery and could play this weekend for his club side.

According to a report that appeared on the CA website last month, Smith's road back to full fitness was more complicated because his injury and surgery were considered more serious than that of Warner. Smith remained in an elbow brace until the end of February, but he picked up a bat again and had a session at the Sydney Cricket Ground last week.

Meanwhile, injured fast bowler Mitchell Starc was also omitted after failing to recover sufficiently from a pectoral muscle injury picked up during the second Test against Sri Lanka in Canberra a month ago.

Sharjah will host the first two matches on March 22 and 24, followed by one game in Abu Dhabi on March 27, and then two more in Dubai.

Updated: March 8, 2019 08:57 AM


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