Steven Smith, David Warner geared up for return to competitive cricket
The tainted Australian duo of ex-skipper Steven Smith and his deputy David Warner were spotted training in the same indoor facility in Toronto on Wednesday ahead of the inaugural Global T20 Canada League. The six-week tournament will see the duo make their return to competitive cricket after a span of three months with Smith set to play for Toronto Nationals while Warner will turn up for Winnipeg Hawks.
Coach of Toronto Nationals Phil Simmons spoke to AAP about the importance of Steve Smith to the side ahead of the inaugural match. "Steve had had a couple sessions in the nets today and he seems to be alright for what he has gone through over the past few months; he seems to be alright. It's great to have Steve among us and I know he is going to do all he can to help us to the top of the table in this league."
In the Sandpaper gate scandal that rocked the cricketing world, Smith and Warner bore the brunt of the anger as the duo were exiled for one year, while the Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months for his involvement. Upon returning to Australia in hostile situations, the ex-skipper and his deputy spoke to the media, both emotional wrecked from the aftermath of the controversy.
"I think it's important for Steve just to play cricket and enjoy it again because (the ball-tampering scandal) was very hard on him for him.", Simmons added.
The Universe Boss Chris Gayle, who will turn up for Vancouver Knights, wasn't far behind in extending his support, who had previously deemed the one-year ban as "harsh".
"They've already paid a penalty for what they've done, and just for them to go on with their lives and have some fun, just like any other cricketer,” he said.
"People make mistakes, you have to give people a chance, and everybody should have to try (move) on from this situation, and rest it to the grave."
Both Smith and Warner looked happy to be in the thick of the cricketing action once again. David Warner seemed relaxed ahead of his return to cricket, joking around with the officials while going through the motions in training, while Steve Smith cheekily said that he hasn't lost it.
Darren Sammy, skipper of Toronto Nationals, couldn't help but heap praise for Steven Smith and the impact he has had on his fellow teammates in such a short time.
"They might not be able to copy what he does in terms of experience and batting situations and the process in which he prepares for a match, but it's good to see how he goes about his business and good to learn from for the youngsters."
The Global T20 Canada league will provide much-needed game time to the Aussie duo as they target a return to the national squad ahead of the 2019 World Cup, which begins only a couple of months after the completion of their one-year ban.