Australia head coach Justin Langer has said that watching Steve Smith during the team’s first practice session here was like “watching Sachin bat.” The World Cup preparations have begun in the Australian camp with the outfit intent on making their presence felt in the upcoming Men’s World Cup set to take place in England having lifted the trophy in 2015.

Steve Smith and David Warner will be vital in this regard with their return following a 12-month ban for ball tampering nothing short of a major boost for the Kangaroos. Warner finished as the highest run-scorer in the recently concluded twelfth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with 692 runs.

Smith certainly showed signs that he was slowly getting back to his best while representing the Rajasthan Royals with consistent performances though not at the mighty levels expected of him.

According to Cricket Australia’s official website, Smith played a shot off Nathan Coulter-Nile that Langer said “was like watching Sachin (Tendulkar) bat”.

“(I) watched Steve Smith batting against New Zealand in those three practice games, he’s literally a master of the game, so it’s nice to have him back,” Langer was quoted as saying by www.cricket.com.au.

“It’s been hilarious for me, because whether on the Anzac Cove or in the lunch room or we’re on the bus playing cards, he’s just shadow batting the whole time.

“He loves batting – he’s shadow batting on the sand, he’s shadow batting in the shower – I’m not joking.

“Dave’s got that look in his eye, he’s really hungry, he’s a great player as we all know, he’s so dynamic, he brings so much energy, and that’s what we ask from our players.

“They’ve had 12 months to have a good think about a mistake they and the team made. I’m sure they’ll be better people for that.”

Langer asked for patience in terms of expecting the best from Smith and Warner as the World Cup draws nearer. Defending champions Australia take on Afghanistan in their opener on June 1.

“Steve’s in literally career best shape … and Dave Warner is always elite fit,” said Langer. “In terms of their throwing they’re building it up.

“Where they’ve come from, from surgery, I’m really proud of them and they’re up and running.

“Are they going to throw like Andrew Symonds or Ricky Ponting? Probably not at the moment but they’re certainly working towards that.”

(With IANS Inputs)