Australia coach Justin Langer believes the reintegration of banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner will be a careful process.
Langer says the four months that lead up to the lifting of their bans will be used to rebuild relationships between them and members of the Australian set-up.
In the past week Langer has involved them separately in squad activities. Warner and Smith faced Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins in the SCG nets on Sunday and Monday respectively.
Langer has maintained that the move to bring them in to training separately was not a deliberate one to keep them separated. The Australia coach also met former captain Smith for breakfast on Sunday morning in Sydney.
Speaking to reports ahead of the annual Bradman Foundation dinner, Langer said: “There’s going to be a process for the boys to come back and it is really important we start working on that process from now.
“We can’t get to the point and just say ‘right they’re back’. It’s not fair on them, it’s not fair on the team, it’s not fair on everyone. It’s nice to have Davey in and Steve had a hit yesterday – I had breakfast with him on Monday morning and I caught up with Davey for a couple of hours that afternoon as well.
“I didn’t deliberately catch up with them separately. I caught up with Davey in Brisbane before we went to the UAE because I wanted to see him face to face. It’s one thing exchanging text messages and emails, you have to talk face to face. We had a great catch-up. It was the first time I’d seen Steven the other day. I wanted it to be between us because there’s lots to be spoken about and then over time we’ll bring the brotherhood together and everything will be okay. It was great.”
So far, the third member of the ball-tampering scandal trio, Cameron Bancroft, has yet to be included in any form of national training. Whilst it seems clear that Langer is keen to re-introduce Warner and Smith to his side as soon as possible, the same cannot be said about Bancroft. That said, Langer is still in touch with the opening batsman.
Langer added: “I speak to Cameron Bancroft a bit. They’ve been through a tough 12 months. They’ve been penalised for making a really big mistake, no doubt about that, but we’ve got to get them into the group and every opportunity we get is a positive one.”
Bancroft’s ban is due to end in a month’s time, which makes him available for Australia’s Test series against Sri Lanka in the new year. The first international cricket Warner and Smith could play would be the warm-up games for the 2019 World Cup.