Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 October 2019

Steve Smith and David Warner recalled to Australia T20 squad with one eye on World Cup

The 14-man squad named Tuesday will face Sri Lanka and Pakistan in coming weeks but with an eye firmly on next year's World Cup, which will be held in Australia

Steve Smith returned to international cricket over the summer to help Australia retain the Ashes against England. Getty
Steve Smith returned to international cricket over the summer to help Australia retain the Ashes against England. Getty

Ashes hero Steve Smith and fellow batsman David Warner have been recalled to the Australia Twenty20 squad to play Sri Lanka and Pakistan, marking an end to their time in the international wilderness in all formats.

Smith and Warner were banned for a year for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal but have returned to Australia's Test, one-day and now Twenty20 sides.

The 14-man squad named Tuesday will face Sri Lanka and Pakistan in coming weeks but with an eye firmly on next year's World Cup, which will be held in Australia.

"We are delighted to welcome Steve Smith and David Warner back into the T20 international fold," chief selector Trevor Hohns said.

"Steve is a world-class batsman in all formats, while Warner is Australia's highest ever T20 runs scorer. He was also the leading runs scorer at this year's Indian Premier League with Sunrisers Hyderabad."

The recalls of Smith and Warner closes the book on the darkest chapter in Australia's cricket history after the pair were banned from cricket alongside Cameron Bancroft for their part in "Sandpapergate" during the March 2018 Test against South Africa at Newlands.

Bancroft was caught by television cameras trying to rough up one side of the ball with sandpaper to make it swing. Captain Smith and vice-captain Warner were found to be involved and all three received unprecedented sanctions from Cricket Australia.

Smith returned to the Test fold in spectacular fashion this summer, scoring 774 runs including three centuries and one double century as Australia drew 2-2 with England to retain the Ashes.

"It is almost a year to the day until Australia hosts the men's Twenty20 World Cup and we have selected this squad with that in mind," Hohns added.

"We have looked to put a squad together that we think can take us through to that tournament."

Despite their success in other formats, Australia have never won a Twenty20 World Cup, with an appearance in the 2010 final their best showing.

They are currently ranked fifth in the world but will be desperate to succeed on home soil in October-November next year.

Aaron Finch retains the captain's armband, with wicketkeeper Alex Carey and paceman Pat Cummins sharing vice-captain duties.

The batting ranks are bolstered by the return of Ashton Turner from a finger injury, while Adam Zampa got the call ahead of Nathan Lyon as the preferred spinner.

Cummins and Mitchell Starc will likely open the bowling attack, backed up by Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Billy Stanlake.

The three-match series against Sri Lanka begins in Adelaide on October 27, followed by another three Twenty20s against Pakistan opening on November 3 in Sydney.

Updated: October 8, 2019 10:35 AM

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