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April 26, 2019

Maxwell praises ‘phenomenal’ Warner


April 26, 2019

NEW DELHI: Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell has said that David Warner and Steve Smith will be “welcomed back with open arms” by their World Cup squad, with the pair’s form vindicating their selection for the global 50-over tournament.

The 12-month bans handed to Smith and Warner for their roles in last year’s ball-tampering scandal expired in late March and they will link up with the Australian team in a week’s time when Australia’s pre-World Cup camp begins in Brisbane on May 2.

Warner is the IPL’s leading run-scorer so far this season, although his early exit from the tournament that doesn’t finish until May 12 means he will likely relinquish that title.

“David Warner is batting in a different league at the moment,” Maxwell said on Wednesday.

“He’s been absolutely phenomenal, some of the shots he’s been playing. If he can keep that form going into the World Cup then Australia are going to be in a really good position,” he said.

“With him, Finchy (captain Aaron Finch) and (Usman) Khawaja as our probable top three, it’s going to be an exciting tournament.”

Asked if Australia are ready to have them (Smith and Warner) back, Maxwell replied: “They certainly are. If you look at the way they are playing over in India at the moment they’ll welcome them back with open arms.

“They’ve been outstanding over there (in IPL). Not just their batting but their leadership skills … their cricket knowledge is going to be really helpful for Finchy.”

The return of Smith and Warner to a team that won away ODI series against Pakistan and India in March means the Aussies will enter their World Cup defence full of confidence.

“The way we performed in the last couple of series, it has shown the world we have the cattle to trouble anyone that walks on the field against us,” Maxwell said.

“Hopefully we can turn up on each day and really take it to whoever is playing us.”

Australia’s warm-up camp will include three unofficial 50-over matches against a New Zealand XI. Their opening match of the World Cup is against Afghanistan in Bristol on June 1.

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