• Warne compares 2003 ban to Smith-Warner exile

    Former ODI star Shane Warne is confident the return of batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner will inspire Australia to World Cup triumph later this year.

    Smith and Warner are currently serving bans from international cricket after being involved in the ball-tampering drama that marred last year’s Test tour of South Africa.

    Their suspensions will end prior to the start of the World Cup in the United Kingdom in May. The pair will likely be named in Australia’s squad for the limited-overs showpiece in England and Wales.

    ‘Sometimes having an enforced layoff – like I’m used to, I had 12 months off myself – what that means is you become really fresh,’ Warne¬†told Fox Sports. He¬†was banned for a year in 2003 after using banned diuretic drugs.

    ‘You freshen your mind up, you become hungry again, and realise how important cricket is to you. That’s why I reckon Australia can win the World Cup.

    ‘They’ll walk straight back in, they’ll be hungry. They’ll be a bit nervous in the first few games, but that’ll be good for them, they’ll be excited and I would expect them to play as good as they always have.’

    Australia won the World Cup in 2015, 2007, 2003, 1999 and 1987 – and presently occupy sixth position in the International Cricket Council’s rankings for ODI teams. They are in India this month, contesting five ODIs – and trail two-nil.

    Photo: Getty

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    SA CRICKET