London: Steven Smith returned to the nets for the first time since his elbow injury in an attempt to be fit for the 50-over World Cup, starting May 30.
Australia right-handed batsman took Instagram to share a video of him having a hit. He can be seen donning a New South Wales shirt. “Great to have my first hit back today. The elbow is feeling good!” Smith captioned the post.
Smith and David Warner are both coming towards the end of their 12-month suspension from the international cricket for the ball-tampering.
The duo are eligible to return to Australia colors on March 29, which is the day of Australia’s fourth ODI against Pakistan in the UAE, but Smith is unlikely to be ready for that while Warner could be overlooked even if he returns to playing by then with the Indian Premier League (IPL) that starts March 23, ESPNcricinfo reported.
“From all accounts, they should both be ready for the IPL, which is really positive. Dave’s [David Warner] probably a little more advanced but my understanding is they will be ready to go in the not-too-distant future,” Australia coach Justin Langer said.
Australia will head from India to the UAE to play five-match ODI series against Pakistan, the last international fixture ahead of the World Cup. The squad for the 50-over global tournament needs to be named by April 23, however, it can be changed later.
Langer has spent time with both Smith and Warner, with them training separately accompanying the New South Wales squad.
“I speak to them all the time. We are in touch all the time. [I have] been in touch with them for the last nine months and, as it gets closer to them coming back in the squad, I am not sure it increases – how much we speak to each other,” Langer said.
In their next assignment, Australia will face India for a five-match ODI series. The first game will take place at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on March 2.