Stephen Smith and David Warner brought shame to the Australian cricket team when they decided to cheat. To see them slot straight back into the side and pick up where they left off would not recognise the hard work of the players who have been more than adequately filling their places – Usman Khawaja and Shawn Marsh. These players who have been performing and doing well deserve to be given a chance to show their skills at the highest level.
Smith and Warner bring with them a stigma, as well as negative connotations, going into the most significant event on the international cricket calendar. The current one-day squad has had an eight-match winning streak led by Victorian Aaron Finch with a whole new team filled with youth and experience. Opener Khawaja has made an impact at the top of the order as Warner’s replacement. Khawaja made his first one day century in India in March. To replace Khawaja with Warner, especially after a good run of form, would be a dangerous move heading into Australia’s first game of the World Cup in June.
Smith, typically positioned at number 3, has seen several players shuffle through the ranks in his absence. The most recent number 3 is Shaun Marsh, who has had a slow start in India averaging 9.66 in three matches. But he came into form in the first one-day match in Sharjah making 91 not out and averaged 66 in the series against Pakistan, bringing plenty of promise and cohesion at the top of the order.
The rumblings of the darkest day in Australian sporting history are still very fresh. David Warner and Stephen Smith have served their one-year bans for being an integral part of the sandpaper ball-tampering incident in South Africa in 2018. The spots that they left have been filled by deserving players who have performed at the highest level. They should not have to step aside, they should be given a fair go.
Australia’s first game of the World Cup is on Saturday the June 1 against Afghanistan.