Steve Smith's brilliance in the field is a boost for the Australians.
Steve Smith's brilliance in the field is a boost for the Australians.

Star duo give Aussie cricketers extra ring of confidence

WITH Steve Smith and David Warner back in Australia's World Cup and Ashes teams, rival batsmen will feel like they've stepped into "an electric chamber" with the pair fielding nearby.

Coach Justin Langer told News Corp Australia there were no concerns Smith and Warner couldn't throw down the stumps in high-pressure moments due to their delicate elbows.

"David Warner's pace in the field is unbelievable," Langer said.

"And Steve Smith's catching ability and ability to read the play in the field is incredible.

"From the ring, yeah (they can run players out). Not from the outfield, but that's OK - that's not their role in the team at the moment.

"Their role in the team will be to provide energy in the ring. If you've got an inner ring of Smith, (Glenn) Maxwell and Warner - my God, it's like walking into an electric chamber.

"They've got so much energy and that's very exciting for us."

Smith and Warner both underwent elbow surgery in January.

But Smith, whose injury was serious, bowled two overs against West Indies without strapping earlier this week and could be used by captain Aaron Finch during the World Cup.

Steve Smith is shaping well with the bat, ball and in the field.
Steve Smith is shaping well with the bat, ball and in the field.

The former captain has been working hard on his leg spin at training in England and also bowled repeatedly in grade cricket during his 12-month suspension last year.

Langer refused to dwell on Warner's shift to No.3, with this year's successful opening stand of Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja retained in a warm-up clash against the West Indies.

Assistant coach Ricky Ponting said playing at Warner at No.3 kept rival countries - as well as his top order - "on their toes".

But it's understood Warner is almost certain to replace Khawaja as Finch's opening partner when Australia's World Cup defence begins against Afghanistan in Bristol next Saturday.

Close mates Warner and Finch opened together when Australia won the 2015 World Cup and averaged 50 runs between that tournament and "sandpapergate" last March.

David Warner looks set to open against the Poms on Saturday night.
David Warner looks set to open against the Poms on Saturday night.

While there were external suggestions that Warner, due to his public perception, or Smith, owing to his modest ODI form in 2017-18, could miss selection when their bans expired, Langer said that was never considered.

"One Hundred per cent (they were walk-up starts)," Langer said.

"They're great kids, they're great players and they've paid their penance. One thing we are in Australia is we're very fair on people.

"They've had a 12-month ban. That is a very, very strong message to be sent to our players and to the world of cricket actually.

"They've paid their dues and, in my mind, as long as they were willing to come back into the team and keep living the values and keep performing and come back fit, as I suspected they would be, I said at my first press conference that I thought they would come back in.

"It's great to have them back."

Warner lit up last month's Indian Premier League while Smith has averaged 139 from his four practice matches for Australia after recent scores of 76 (82 balls), 91 not out (108) and 89 not out (77).

News Corp Australia


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