Smith, Warner could turn up for Pakistan series
Australia have been handed a huge boost as their trump cards Steve Smith and David Warner are possibly in line for an instant return to the Australian team when their bans expire midway through the next one-day international (ODI) series against Pakistan which is to be played in the United Arab Emirates.
The five-match Pakistan series will start from March 22-31, Pakistan’s Cricket Board added in its release. Smith and Warner, who were given the bans in last year’s ball-tampering scandal are now eligible for selection again on March 29. This means that they are called up for the fourth ODI against Pakistan. It will be quite interesting to see how Steven Smith and David Warner approach the game.
Australia will lock horns with Pakistan in the first ODI in Sharjah on March 22, with the second match to be played right after 2 days at the same venue itself.
Both teams will then move to Abu Dhabi for the third match on March 27, with the last two fixtures in Dubai on March 29 and 31.
22 March – 1st ODI, Sharjah (d/n)
24 March – 2nd ODI, Sharjah (d/n)
27 March – 3rd ODI, Abu Dhabi (d/n)
29 March – 4th ODI, Dubai (d/n)
31 March – 5th ODI, Dubai (d/n)
As far as the ICC ODI team rankings are concerned, Pakistan are currently ranked fifth while Australia are sixth and are just two points behind.
“Australia are the world champions and this series will provide the Pakistan cricket team an opportunity to assess their World Cup preparations,” PCB Director Cricket – International, Zakir Khan, said.
The confirmation of dates for the Pakistan series means that Aussie cricketers with high-profile IPL contracts will not be immediately released for the lucrative league as they are being called up for the series.
The 12th edition of the IPL is expected to begin late March. Australian players with lucrative IPL contracts who are selected for the Pakistan series are expected to be unavailable for the cash-rich league until April 2.