Banned Smith, Warner help Australian pacers

Sydney: They might have been banned from turning out for Australia but disgraced batting duo of Steve Smith and David Warner are going out of their way to prepare their bowlers for the upcoming four-Test series against India.

Both former skipper Smith and Warner have agreed to turn out at the Australia nets to bat against the pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazzlewood and Pat Cummins to prepare them to face Virat Kohli and Co in the upcoming four-Test series.

Any hopes of Smith and Warner wearing the baggy green this summer were dashed when Cricket Australia board upheld the bans last week but the former captain and his deputy is still playing a big role behind the scenes.

Smith is expected to face Hazlewood, Starc and Cummins at the Sydney Cricket Ground nets this week as Australia round off their preparations for the first Test starting 6 December at Adelaide.

“He’s (Smith) someone the three of us have bowled a fair bit to over the last little while at training,” Starc told Fairfax Media.

“To get the view of a batsman who is facing us, get his opinion on how we’re tracking, is always great as well. There’s talking bowling coaches then there’s talking to the guys you’re bowling to. That’s a great opportunity to have him face us in our preparation leading up to the Tests,” he added.

Starc said when they asked Smith to help them prepare for the Test series, he was more than willing to oblige. “He was around training (Thursday) with the Blues. We said we have a few overs to bowl next week and we said if you want to have a hit he was more than happy to oblige,” Starc said.

“‘It’ll be great to bowl to him in the nets. He’s one of the best in the world, to even get his thoughts on how we’re tracking will always be good for us.”

While Smith will turn out at the Australia nets later this week, Warner came in the SCG nets before the third T20I against India on Sunday and faced the Aussie fast bowlers in the nets. Warner appeared in the net session and Cummins and Hazlewood were also seen getting some tips from coach Justin Langer.