Warner and Smith have 'hugs and cuddles' with Australia squad as bans end

David Warner and Steve Smith
David Warner and Steve Smith were both banned for 12 months following the ball-tampering row

David Warner and Steve Smith said it felt as though they had never left the Australia squad after they met up with them for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in March 2018.

The pair were banned for 12 months after the incident in South Africa.

They were not included in Australia's squad for the upcoming ODI series against Pakistan but met players and staff in Dubai on Saturday.

"There were a lot of big hugs and cuddles," Warner said.

"It's like we didn't really leave, the boys were very accepting of us coming in and with open arms."

After the end of their bans, both players would have been available for selection for the final two games of the five-match series against Pakistan, which begins on Friday.

But they are both recovering from elbow surgery and will instead play in the the Indian Premier League as part of their recovery.

Australia coach Justin Langer described the meeting as "like two brothers coming home".

Smith was captain and Warner the vice-captain when they were fined and banned for their roles in the incident during the third Test against South Africa.

Batsman Cameron Bancroft was also banned for nine months and returned to cricket in December.

The three were banned from international and Australian domestic cricket.

Smith said of the meeting: "I guess it's just been going through the values that are instilled in the team at the moment and making sure we are on the right path looking forward to what's coming up."

Warner added: "There's been a big change, which is great, and it's about accepting that and playing what our role in the team should be moving forward.

"It's making sure that we are aligned with the team values moving forward."

Smith and Bancroft were also suspended from captaining Australia for at least the next two years, while Cricket Australia said Warner would not be considered for "any team leadership positions in the future".

Warner said in a news conference after the incident that he was "resigned" to not playing for Australia again.

After the reunion, Langer added: "We talked about making Australians proud. We talked about great cricketers and great people.

"I think it's been a really worthwhile exercise."

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