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Smith and Warner to "walk back into the side", says Ian Chappell 

Aditya Joshi
ANALYST
News
436   //    24 Jun 2018, 14:30 IST

Australia v New Zealand - ODI Game 3
Australia v New Zealand - ODI Game 3

What's the story?

Former Australian skipper Ian Chappell has called for the outright returns of banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner into the national side, once their suspension period ends. Despite no one-day cricket practice for these players until before the World Cup next year, Chappell is confident that they can "walk straight back into the side".

He also admitted being "shocked" by the current Australian side's debacle in England, as the visitors are struggling with the series scoreline 4-0, but the major degree of annihilation was on display in the third ODI at Trent Bridge, Nottingham as England racked up 6/481 in their 50 overs.

The heart of the matter

In an interview with ESPNCricinfo about the current challenges that await this new-look Australian side currently and their struggle to build up a decent side leading to their title-defence attempt in the ICC World Cup next year, he said, speaking of Smith and Warner, who were banned by Cricket Australia for a year following their role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa,.

They're far away the two best batsmen. It doesn't matter virtually what version of the game you're playing, they're the two best players. And with their class - 12 months is a long time out of the game but they're going to be playing different types of cricket. So I'd expect them to walk straight back into the side for the World Cup.

He also spoke about picking Ashton Agar over Nathan Lyon, preferred Aaron Finch at the top of the order, emphasised on the very limited control of the coach over the on-field execution by the team, among other things.

When asked about the horror returns for the Australians in the series what was being labelled as their shot at "redemption", Chappell was quite unperturbed by the course of events and his responses had an obvious air about them.

Well, I thought it was going to be tough for the Australians in England but I didn't see it as bad as it has been. Obviously, the 481... that was a disastrous day and I expected that the bowling will struggle because you lost your three frontline bowlers. I didn't think it would be as one-sided as it has been.

In case you did not know...

Over the last one year, Australia, of all nations with ODI status have had the worst win/loss ratio. Dating back to their tour of New Zealand in 2017, 2 wins and 15 losses in their last five series has put them even beyond Papua New Guinea and Nepal on the list. Unsurprisingly, they are now ranked sixth, which is the lowest for them since 1984.

However, it has to be noted that in all but four of these matches, they have failed to field a full-strength side because of injuries and red-ball prioritizing.

What's next?

Australian management has some tough choices to make now, as the World Cup seems alarmingly close and there is no apparent team plan in sight. Indeed they are missing some of their players, but even if they are able to reconcile at some stage, there is still a lack of defined team balance and the concrete distribution of roles in the side, something Michael Clarke's side of 2015 had perfected from the summer of 2013/14 itself, two years in advance.

It has to be noted though that in the aforementioned time window, Clarke was often not available for ODIs and George Bailey deputized in his absence. Even in the absence of the regular personnel for the job, Bailey made sure that the side gelled well and the players were not affected by a switch in leadership roles.

With the batting struggling and the consideration of George Bailey's experience kept in mind, he might be a handy choice once again to lead the side in case Tim Paine's one-day troubles go to a point where he cannot function as a stand-alone captain in the side and has to be dropped in favour of youngster Alex Carey.

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Aditya Joshi
ANALYST
Cricket is great if you're into things like wasted youth, failed relationships, sun damage and broken dreams
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