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Smith, Warner on track for IPL: Langer

Australia coach Justin Langer remains in regular dialogue with Steve Smith and David Warner, who are set to return from injuries in the Indian Premier League.

Smith, Warner on track for IPL: Langer

Australia coach Justin Langer remains in regular dialogue with Steve Smith and David Warner, who are set to return from injuries in the Indian Premier League.

JUSTIN LANGER, coach of Western Australia hits balls for slips catching practice during the Sheffield Shield match between Western Australia and South Australia at WACA in Perth, Australia.
JUSTIN LANGER, coach of Western Australia hits balls for slips catching practice during the Sheffield Shield match between Western Australia and South Australia at WACA in Perth, Australia. Picture:Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

Steve Smith has resumed batting in the nets, with Australia coach Justin Langer expecting the sacked skipper and David Warner to be fit for the start of the Indian Premier League later this month.

Smith and Warner have entered the final month of the year-long bans they are serving as part of Cricket Australia's response to the Cape Town cheating scandal.


The suspended superstars both underwent elbow surgery in January but have since been making steady progress in their respective recoveries.

"From all accounts they should both be ready for the IPL, which is really positive," Langer said.

"Dave's probably a little more advanced but my understanding is they'll be ready to go in the not-too-distant future."

Smith posted a clip of him batting on social media late on Thursday night.

"Great to have my first hit back," he wrote.

"The elbow is feeling good!"

Smith and Warner will be eligible for selection from March 29, meaning they're free to play the final two games of next month's five-match ODI series between Australia and Pakistan in the UAE.

The squad for that series is yet to be announced but the expectation is the gifted batsmen will be overlooked and instead warm up for the World Cup by taking part in India's star-studded Twenty20 league.

Despite recent speculation, Smith and Warner both remain on track to be part of Australia's World Cup squad that must be submitted by April 23.

The next major step in their reintegration will come in Brisbane, where the World Cup squad is set to take part in a training camp in early May that will involve some practice games against New Zealand.

Langer remains in near-constant dialogue with both Smith and Warner.

"I speak to them all the time. We're in touch all the time," Langer said.

"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."

Smith and Warner's looming comebacks have created a clear sense of uncertainty regarding Australia's likely batting order at the 50-over tournament.

Aaron Finch, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner and D'Arcy Short are the batsmen in the current ODI squad, with two of them obviously set to make way for Smith and Warner.

"You should never assume anything when you're playing cricket for Australia," Langer said in India, where Australia's five-match ODI series starts on Saturday.

"They're not here ... we're planning to pick the best XI to win these games (rather than selecting a team with Smith and Warner's returns in mind).

AAP


AAP




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