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Australia head coach Justin Langer firmly believes that former captain Steve Smith, ex-vice captain David Warner and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft can play instrumental roles in leading the national team to World Cup and Ashes glory next year.
The trio are currently banned from playing international cricket due to their involvement in a ball tampering scandal during the tour of South Africa earlier this year.
It is understood that Warner played a leading role in the scandal, which occurred on the third day of the third Test against South Africa in Cape Town in March, as he told Bancroft to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper.
As a result, Warner and Steve Smith were banned for 12 months by Cricket Australia, while Bancroft was suspended for nine months. Smith won’t be allowed to captain Australia for two years, while Warner won’t be considered for leadership roles in the future.
However, Smith, Warner and Bancroft have been featuring in domestic competitions. Smith and Warner will now Sydney Premier cricket this weekend, with the former playing for Sutherland and the latter for Randwick-Petersham.
“If our environment’s right and they’re playing well, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be welcomed back in to help us win the World Cup and help us win the Ashes next summer,” Langer said on Mark Howard’s podcast The Howie Games. “If we can have an environment of great young leaders and welcome those guys back, we can be a real force and perhaps a team that’s smiling a lot more than the team was before it happened.”
Despite what they’ve done, Langer is backing the trio to have a successful return to international cricket, and also revealed what each of them bring to the team.
“Steve Smith is one of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life. He’s also a complete cricket tragic,” he said. “He’s a ripping young bloke. And what a player. As committed to batting and being great as anyone you’ll ever meet.
“Cameron is as elite a professional as anyone I’ve ever met. He was the heartbeat of Western Australia and from all accounts, talking to Darren Lehmann, he was the heartbeat of the Australian team.
“He is that tough, he would literally cut his legs off to play cricket for Australia. He is that sort of character that you love to have around the place.
“Davey’s the marathon man of Australian cricket, people don’t remember that. He’d played every single game of cricket. He’d play Test, One Day, T20, IPL, cricket all year round.
“He was being hailed as a great leader in that finally Australia was playing good T20.”