Tim Paine, the Australia Test captain, said the return of Steve Smith and David Warner can help Australia win the Ashes series that starts at Edgbaston, Birmingham on August 1.
Smith and Warner, who were handed 12-month bans for their involvement in the Newlands ball-tampering controversy last March, will be available to play for Australia again when their ban ends on March 29.
Paine, who led Australia to a 2-0 series whitewash over Sri Lanka at home, said the two ace cricketers will be welcomed back to the team and expects them to win Tests for Australia “like they did beforehand”.
“I think everyone has, to a degree, got to earn their stripes. Those two have plenty of runs in the bank,” Paine said.
“I see us going to the Ashes and them having a huge part in us winning the series. That’s how I see how important they are to this team.
“We know how good they are. Hopefully once their bans are up they’ll be welcomed back and they’ll win Test matches like they did beforehand.”
It will be a long break for Australia from the Test format as they gear up for their World Cup defence in England and Wales later this year, and the next Test they play will be the first of the Ashes.
"I can’t bat for 11 guys, neither can Trevor or Ramps. The responsibility is down to the individual."https://t.co/uVxB1PK5WE
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) February 3, 2019
And even as Smith and Warner approach the end of their bans, Paine said his team has gone a long away throughout the course of their summer to “win back the respect of the Australian public” that was tarnished in the aftermath of Newlands episode.
“We spoke at the start of the summer about our main priority was to win back the respect of the Australian public and our cricket fans. Sitting here now we’ve gone a long way toward doing that,” Paine said.
“It’s in difficult times you see the characters you’ve got in your group and its confirmed to us we’ve got some good characters, some strong characters and some people we can build a really strong Australian cricket future on.”