Doors open for Steve Smith, David Warner's Sheffield Shield return

The duo along with Cameron Bancroft was banned by Cricket Australia after their involvement in the infamous ball tampering saga.

The duo  is still serving their ban from international cricket. (AFP)

Cricket Australia has recently released its schedule for the upcoming 'summer' that now spans more than six months, reflecting an expanded KFC Big Bash League.

The JLT One-Day cup starts in Townsville on September 16 and the JLT Sheffield Shield final begins the following year on March 28, which incidentally is the date that Smith and Warner's one-year bans for their roles in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal come to an end.

This thus opens the gates for Steve Smith and David Warner's return to Sheffield Shield cricket. It means if NSW reach the Shield final, the duo could be picked by state selectors to make their return to Australian domestic cricket in the season finale.

Smith and Warner will play grade cricket in Sydney over the summer, and continue to be wooed by Twenty20 leagues around the world including South Africa, but would understandably be rusty early in their comebacks.

While selectors would be tempted to rush the pair straight back into their side should they reach the decider, both batsmen - as talented as they are - would be well short of match practice at first-class level and would replace two incumbents who had helped steer NSW into the final. 

In case New South Wales doesn't make the finals, the duo will play the Indian Premier League in a bid to catch the selectors attention for the 2019 World Cup squad. 

Earlier, former Australian cricketer Michael Hussey had voiced his opinion regarding the duo making a direct entry to the World Cup  2019 squad for Australia post serving their ban. 

"They’ve been quality players for such a long period of time, they’ve had success at the highest level and are important players for Australia.

"I think they probably do (return) as long as they tick all the boxes along the way."

Both Smith and Warner will make their returns later this month in the unlikely setting of Toronto in Canada's inaugural Global T20 tournament.

(Inputs from Cricket Australia's official website) 


By Anshuman Roy - 22 Jun, 2018

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