Australian captain Aaron Finch said the returning Steve Smith and David Warner’s stint in the IPL was important as it helped them adapt faster to international cricket. Both Smith and Warner will use the showpiece to restore their credentials after their role in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in South Africa. The disgraced duo served 12-month bans following the “sandpaper-gate” incident in the Cape Town Test in March last year.
On the eve of their tournament opener against Afghanistan, Finch said, “I think when you are a world-class player, you adapt again really quickly and you get up to speed. Having them play in the IPL was really important. “That’s a higher standard of cricket and it just gets you back up to as close to international competition as you can.”
The skipper said he also knew they would make a strong comeback. “There was never any issue about how he (Smith) would bounce back, and the same with David. They are both so competitive, they have got great records. There was never any doubt how well they would come back.”
Warner is fit to face Afghanistan after recovering from a sore muscle, he said. “David is fine. He will play tomorrow, no doubt about that. We are very close to a starting XI but we are not going to name it yet. Everyone is in contention.”
The five-time defending champions are expected to prevail over minnows Afghanistan but Finch is taking nothing for granted. “Afghanistan have turned into a really world-class side at times, they’ve got some of the best bowlers in the world and their batting is improving all the time.
“You can never take a side like that for granted and if you look back at 2015 we played them at the WACA, which was probably the furthest from their conditions you could probably get,” Finch said.
The Australians are on a roll having beaten India and Pakistan in one-day series away from home but Finch expects a tough fight against Afghanistan.
“They are a dangerous side, they are very dangerous, and we’ve seen around the world some of the performances their players are putting up in very strong domestic competitions,” he said.
“If you take your foot off you gas for a second they will hurt you and you still have to play at your absolute best to beat them. To see their growth in the last four years has been huge.
(With PTI Inputs)