It was another small and slightly symbolic milestone. For the first time in more than a year, Steven Smith and David Warner were hitting cricket balls as part of an Australian squad. Warner middled more than Smith, which is pretty much what it has been like for the past six weeks at the IPL, ESPN reports.
Warner had an easier afternoon that Smith under the pristine blue skies of a perfect Brisbane autumn day. He faced a bit of spin and then plenty of throwdowns from head coach Justin Langer. As at the IPL, most of his shots came out of the middle.
"You rarely see him out of form," Glenn Maxwell said of Warner before the session started. "He's such a good player and you look at his stats over there in the IPL, what he's done for Hyderabad - he's got an unbelievable record. I think he's scored over 500 runs every time he's been over there, which is amazing consistency and hopefully that continues in the one-day stuff here."
Smith, his troublesome elbow still well strapped and occasionally being flexed, also began in the spinners' net before facing the challenge of the pacemen. Mitchell Starc, Sean Abbott and Michael Neser ran in hard (the latter two part of the Australia A squad) with more deliveries squirting off both edges of Smith's bat than the centre - which didn't escape Smith's notice at one stage - but a couple of leg-side flicks showed promise.
"They're both superstars," Maxwell said. "Steve made back-to-back fifties at the end there [at the IPL] as well and I watched both of them go about it as well, and they were absolutely brilliant over there. They're striking the ball really nicely so there'll be no worries about them coming back in."
Allrounder Glenn Maxwell is confident former skipper Steve Smith and ex-deputy David Warner will overcome illness and play in Australia’s World Cup warm-up matches against a New Zealand XI in Brisbane.
Smith and Warner have been hampered by viruses as they return to the national team since their well-documented 12-month bans. However, Maxwell is tipping the duo to feature in the World Cup squad’s three unofficial games against the Kiwis starting on Monday.
“I assume so. They have been sick the last couple of days so, hopefully, they are up and running,” Maxwell said. “But I am pretty sure most of the guys will be ready to go.”
Maxwell said the pair had been welcomed back into the squad with open arms, denying there had been any awkward dressing room moments after the infamous ball tampering scandal.
“It’s been business as usual. Everyone has slotted straight back in,” he said. “The way they came in [to the dressing room], we wanted to hear how they had enjoyed the IPL; wanted to hear how Davey enjoyed his time opening the batting with [England’s Jonny] Bairstow [for Sunrisers Hyderabad].
“And they are both superstars. I watched both of them go about it [in IPL] and they were both absolutely brilliant over there. There will be no worries about them coming back into the team.
“Everyone had their stories from where they had come from over the past month and we just wanted to hear what everyone had been up to.”
Maxwell looked forward to what Smith and Warner could produce in Australian colours after successful IPL comebacks for Rajasthan Royals and the Sunrisers respectively.
Asked if he had seen Warner in better form, Maxwell said: “You rarely see him out of form – he is such a good player. You look at his stats over there (IPL) and what he has done for Hyderabad, I think he has scored more than 500 runs every time he has been over there which is amazing consistency.
“Hopefully, that continues with the one-day stuff for us.”