Return of Warner, Bancroft in July

David Warner

Australian cricketers, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will be returning to the field for the NT Strike League in Darwin. This is a month-long commitment consisting of T20 and one-day matches and four franchises – Desert Blaze, City Cyclones, Northern Tide, and Southern Storm.

David Warner used to be an opening batsman for the Australian Tests along with Cameron Bancroft.

Warner and Bancroft made the headlines for their involvement in the ball tampering scandal in their third Test against South Africa which took place in March. They were handed a one-year and nine-month suspension respectively from top-flight international and state cricket.

However, the Strike League being a low-level, limited-overs tournament does not come under either of those categories and hence, allowed both to be drafted.

According to Joel Morrison, however, the duo will be covering their own costs to play.

Bancroft will be participating for the entirety of the tournament while Warner will take part in two one-day matches on July 21st and 22nd.

“I’m really looking forward to playing in the Strike League in July. I heard so much about the competition while I was in Darwin earlier this month that I’m keen to be part of it,” Warner said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We’re delighted that Cameron and David will be joining us in Darwin for the Strike League, their presence and experience will be invaluable for our local players,” NT Cricket CEO Joel Morrison said.

‘There’s no payment to any players in our competition. These two players are coming up here, looking after their own flights and accommodation. We don’t lose sight of the fact that they’re up here because of the events in Cape Town. They made a big error in judgment and ultimately paid the price. They’ve also demonstrated a willingness to learn from their mistakes and move forward.’

“We’re more than happy to support them on that journey. It’s great they can start it now, as opposed to waiting for summer”, he added.

Steve Smith, the former Captain of the Australian International Cricket Team,  will also be making a return to cricket for the Global T20 Tournament in Canada and he is to be joined by Warner as well. Warner will be joining in as a marquee player. The tournament extends from 28th June to 15th July.

Warner was selected in the third round by the Winnipeg Hawks after Dwayne Bravo and David Miller, while Smith has been taken in by the Toronto Nationals along with Darren Sammy and Keiron Pollard.

Warner is also taking part in the Sydney club tournament for Randwick Petersham. Bancroft will be playing with his West Australian club side – Willetton – further along, this year.

It will not be a smooth comeback for any of them after everything that has happened but this will be the first step to their recovery in the game. We wish all three the best of luck!

Josh Hazlewood leaves gaping hole in pace attack for Australia

Josh Hazlewood

Josh Hazlewood has been pulled from the Australian National cricket team for the ODI series next month against England due to a lower back injury. The 27-year old posed as the front-line pace attack for the team with the experience of 21 ODI series.

With the absence of experienced bowlers, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, also due to injuries, it was expected that Hazlewood would take the lead of the bowling front but now with him backing out, Australia has a gaping hole of a total of 274 wickets to fill.

“Josh has been managing some low-level bone stress in his lumbar spine for a short period,” said CA physiotherapist, David Beakley. 

“He had a repeat scan today and although it has not progressed to a fracture he is starting to experience some lower back pain. As such, we are taking a conservative approach and he will not travel to England for the one-day series.”

The tall pace bowler faced heavy workload with consecutive series as he played in all five Ashes Tests, the four Tests versus South Africa as well as three of five ODIs versus England. The right-arm-er has an impeccable record of 69 wickets from 41 games. 

The veteran is to replaced by the uncapped Michael Neser from Queensland, who impressed at the Sheffield Shield as part of the Bulls. He gained a reputation as a skilled swing bowler in the domestic cricket scene.   

He is to be assisted by Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Jhye Richardson and Billy Stanlake who have played only 4, 15, 1 and 2 ODI series respectively.

This comes as a massive blow especially after the suspension of batsmen, David Warner and Steve Smith, due to the ball-tampering scandal. With so many important team members missing, the team is going in with a stagger as they face the world’s number one ranked ODI side. 

Led by Tim Paine, the team is to start the England tour on June 13th at The Oval. The team has a lot on their plate as they will play five ODIs and a T20 against England after which they’ll go to Zimbabwe for another T20. 

Although the team does not look good on paper at the moment, captain Tim Paine still remains confident. 

“Justin (Langer) sat us down for a team meeting last week and spoke about the Australian cricket team’s values, and what he expects,” Paine said. “It’s nothing that’s brand new, nothing the guys haven’t heard before — it’s purely about acting on what we know is the right thing to do and the right way to play our cricket.”

We’ve had Spirit of Cricket documents, we’ve had Code of Conduct documents, but at the end of the day, they mean nothing if you don’t act on them and you don’t live by them. That’s been a huge focus for us, has been around our actions, our behaviors and making sure we live up to the standards that the Australian cricket team should.”

“So we’ve spoken about it, but getting on a plane tonight now, we get to go over there and talk through our actions, which the guys are looking forward to. We’re not going over there to makeup or the numbers or be the nicest Australian cricket team ever to play against. We’re going to be really competitive, at the same time we’re going to be really respectful, but we’re going there to win.”

We should share the team’s confidence and support them on their way to the international cricket series.