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Cricket Buzz: 'Smith, Warner will return stronger from bans'

March 09, 2019 20:15 IST
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Shane Warne has also backed David Warner to fire in the World Cup

IMAGE: Shane Warne has also backed David Warner to fire in the World Cup. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Australian batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner will come back stronger than ever from their 12-month bans and the latter will be the best player at the World Cup this year, former leg spinner Shane Warne has said.

Smith and Warner were banned by Cricket Australia for 12 months in March last year for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal in a test match against South Africa in Cape Town.


Their bans end on March 28 and both players will be reintegrated into the national team after their participation in the Indian Premier League in March and April.

"I think what you are going to see is a pretty quiet David Warner and Steve Smith. They are just going to try and let their bat do the talking and toe the line," Warne told The Telegraph in an interview

"I think they will come back better than they were. They're going to come out and destroy attacks and I back David Warner to be the player of the World Cup.

"Warner overstepped the line a lot in his early career. He then changed into a more placid player but was then told by Cricket Australia to be the enforcer and was doing what he was told."

Warne expects the duo to return with renewed vigour, like he did after his 12-month ban for failing a drugs test in 2003. Warne was suspended for taking a banned diuretic and missed Australia's World Cup winning campaign as a result.

"All I can go on is experience having a year off myself. The next four years were the best I ever had," Warne, who took 708 wickets for Australia in 145 test matches, added.

"I was hungry for the game. My body and mind were fresh and it is amazing how excited you are to play again.

"You get excited just going to the nets again because you have taken it for granted in the past."

Inzazam bats for new ODI WC format

Inzamam-ul-Haq feels the "single group of 10 teams" format of the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup will be beneficial for all competing nations, especially an "inconsistent" side like Pakistan.   

According to the format of the mega-event to be held in England, there is a single group of 10 teams with each playing the other nine sides, and the top four teams progressing to the knockout stages.      

And Pakistan's chief selector Inzamam said the format gives a fair chance to all teams to show their worth and make a comeback even after a bad start to the tournament.

"I totally support this format because all other playing formats tried by the ICC have not been very successful. I remember in the 2007 World Cup we had one bad day against Ireland and we had to exit the event in the West Indies," Inzamam told PTI on Saturday.

"In the single group format where each team plays against the other, it gives a chance to the established outfits to make a comeback if they falter in the early games. I think this format will suit Pakistan a lot because of our tendency to be inconsistent."

Inzamam was just making his mark in the Pakistan team when it won the 1992 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand which was held on a single group format.

And in the ill-fated 2007 World Cup, Inzamam was the captain and broke down into tears after Pakistan's early exit following loss to Ireland.

The former captain and veteran of 120 Tests further said that he is very optimistic about Pakistan's chances in the World Cup which begins from May 31.

"We have a good blend of players and if our batting struggles a bit we have the bowling attack to back them at all times," Inzamam said.

He also feels that there will be no room for complacency for any team in the game's showpiece event.

"You can't take Afghanistan lightly and you have to be as charged up as you would be against say Australia," Inzamam said.

Inzamam also defended the team management's decision to rest regular skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed and five other regular players for the upcoming ODI series against Australia in the UAE.

"We are looking to fill in a batting spot. We want someone in the number five and six positions who can push the scoring rate. But the fact is we just feel Sarfaraz needed proper rest before the World Cup and he remains our captain for the World Cup," he said.        

"Similarly the other players who have been rested have performed for us for a while now and we have no intentions to just drop them like that for the mega-event." 

Asked about his decision to select his nephew, Imam-ul-Haq in the team for the Australia series, Inzamam said: "He is my nephew but he is also a good batsman and he is proving himself now in international cricket. But there was never any favouritism or nepotism involved in my mind when the selectors picked him."

FICA ready to support Pakistan in setting up its own players' body: Irish

The Federation of International Players Associations (FICA) CEO Tony Irish Saturday said that the global players' representative body is ready to support Pakistani cricketers whenever they decide to form their own unit.

"It is really up to the Pakistani players when they want to do that but we will be there to support them whenever they decide," Irish, who is on a three-day visit to witness the Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches here, said.

Irish, who as FICA CEO was in the lead in advising foreign players against touring Pakistan in recent years because of the security issues, also said that their security consultant is very satisfied with the plans in place for the PSL matches.

"I am not a security expert but what I see for this event is pretty good. I am impressed. We would like to see more cricket being played in Pakistan but it is really dependent on the security situation," he said.

 "We think security situation needs to be assessed for every tour."

FICA has grown in importance as a global body after in 2015 it negotiated the players terms with ICC for its events held in 2015 and 2023.

He said things were looking positive for Pakistan in terms of hosting international teams in future.

Asked if the FICA would now support and ask other cricketing boards to send its teams to Pakistan, Irish said: "Every board makes its own decisions but I think the more the cricket is played in Pakistan with good security plans, it is good for the future."

Irish, however, refused to be drawn into the burning issue of Indian cricketers wearing military caps during their ODI against Australia in Ranchi on Friday.

"Not sure what happened but politics should be kept out of cricket," he said.

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