Smith, Warner, Starc not in squad for ODIs against Pakistan

Smith, Warner, Starc not in squad for ODIs against Pakistan
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There was speculation that Australia’s ODI series against Pakistan – starting March 22 in Sharjah – would be the setting for Steven Smith and David Warner’s returns from their bans for ball tampering. But neither of them will be playing any part in the five matches scheduled in the UAE.
“While their bans will be finished on March 28,” chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns said, “Steve and David have been working through rehabilitation from elbow surgery and it has been agreed the best pathway for them to return to play is in the Indian Premier League [starting March 23], a strong competition which features some of the world’s best players.
“David will play with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Steve with Rajasthan Royals. Cricket Australia will continue to liaise with both Steve, David and their IPL clubs to monitor progress as we build towards the ICC World Cup and the Ashes.”
Australia’s 15-man squad for the series was released on Friday with another big name missing due to injury. “Mitchell Starc’s recovery from his left pectoral muscle strain has been set back by a slight recurrence as he commenced bowling,” Hohns said. “This has ruled him out of the Pakistan series and while frustrating for all involved, our focus is to have Mitch ready for the World Cup.”
Starc has been out of action since the second Test against Sri Lanka in February, when he picked up two five-wicket hauls. He was expected to be fit in time for these ODIs against Pakistan – which are the last that Australia play before they have to name their squad for the World Cup in May – but that timeline hasn’t worked out. So, in the end, the selectors have trusted the same group that is currently in India to keep going for another tour.
Out-of-form Aaron Finch has been retained as captain, offspinner Nathan Lyon has another chance to press his case in limited-overs cricket, and the likes of Peter Handscomb, Ashton Turner and Alex Carey can keep pushing their case to be included in the middle order of Australia’s first-choice XI.
“The squad has started this tour well against a very good Indian side,” Hohns said. “They won the T20I series and have pushed the hosts in the opening two matches of the ODI series in challenging sub-continent conditions.
“The squad is making pleasing progress ahead of the World Cup, and with three matches remaining in India and the five-match series against Pakistan to come, we believe they will benefit further from the continuity of playing together.”Kane Richardson, the fast bowler who picked up a side strain last week, also kept his place, with Hohns hopeful that he would recover in time for the first game against Pakistan.Smith and Warner, meanwhile, have resumed batting since sustaining elbow injuries in the Bangladesh Premier League earlier this year. The former Australia captain instagrammed a video of his return to the nets on March 1 while his erstwhile deputy is set to play grade cricket again this weekend in Sydney. Both men have been in touch with Australia’s team management, including coach Justin Langer, and all three of them were part of discussions that culminated in delaying their comeback to international cricket.