Sydney, Mar 6 : Shane Warne believes the returns of David Warner and Steve Smith will give Australia a strong chance to win the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. The legendary leg-spinner said Smith and Warner would benefit from their respective 12-month bans – it’ll “freshen your mind up, you become hungry again”, he said.
Warne speaks from personal experience as he himself once received a 12-month ban, in 2003, after testing positive for a banned diuretic. However, Warne said it ultimately had little effect on his playing career. In fact, it improved him. "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," Warne told an Australian TV channel. "You freshen your mind up, you become hungry again, and realise how important cricket is to you."
He expects something similar for Warne and Smith. The duo’s bans lapse on March 29, and they will be available for selection thereafter. They are expected to walk straight back in to the Australian XI, but whether they can hit the ground running is a question only time will answer, an ICC report today said.
Warner is expected to play a part in Australia’s trip to the United Arab Emirates for a five-match one-day international series against Pakistan. Smith, however, is recovering from an elbow injury, and it remains to be seen when he returns.When they do make their comebacks, Warne said they will "have a point to prove". That’s also why he tips Australia to win the World Cup.
"Have a look at their records. Absolute class, as good as anybody in the world those two players," said Warne. "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."
"That’s why I reckon Australia can win the World Cup," he said. That said, he also reckons England and India are favourites, and tipped New Zealand to surprise a few people. "New Zealand always do well in big ICC events and World Cups," he told a New Zealand media channel. "They're always there or thereabouts. So write them off at your own peril. But I think England and India are the two favourites going into it."
"By the time the World Cup comes around, everyone will know their best team. Everyone has got games leading up, they'll be experimenting with different batting orders – every team will do the same – bowlers in different positions, and all sorts of stuff just to try and find their best XI," Warne said.
"But New Zealand will be fine. They've got good enough players to get the right balance in their team. They just go under the radar a bit. Everyone talks about other teams but New Zealand always do well," he said. The World Cup begins on May 30, with England taking on South Africa at the Oval. (UNI)