Sydney: Steve Smith and David Warner’s year-long exile has likely left them hungrier than ever and their return can spark Australia to World Cup glory, Shane Warne said Wednesday.
The star pair’s ban from state and international cricket for ball-tampering expires later this month and they are expected to be rushed back into the Australian side for the defence of their title at the showpiece tournament in England this year.
Both players have recently undergone elbow surgery and the great unknown is how they will perform back on the world stage, particularly in what is sure to be a hostile atmosphere in England.
But Warne has no doubt they will be as good as ever, benefiting from the break rather than their skills being blunted.
Warne was suspended in 2003 for a year after testing positive to banned diuretic drugs.
Many wrote him off, but the leg-spinning legend quickly bounced back and enjoyed several more years playing at the highest level with the Australian team.
“Sometimes having an enforced lay off — like I’m used to, I had 12 months off myself — what that means is you become really fresh,” he said. “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,” Warne added. “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.”
Both players are expected to feature at the upcoming Indian Premier League as they tune-up for the World Cup.