Justin Langer open to Steve Smith, David Warner returning to Australian cricket team
Newly appointed Australia coach Justin Langer would happily welcome back Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft once their suspensions end.
The trio accepted bans – Smith and Warner for 12 months and Bancroft nine – for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March.
While Smith also lost the captaincy, Warner raised doubts over his own future with the national team, while coach Darren Lehmann stepped down.
However, Langer – appointed on a four-year deal on Thursday – said the trio could return, if they were ready to meet his standards.
“Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith, literally besides Mike Hussey, love the game of cricket more than anyone I know,” he told a news conference.
“They are cricket tragics and they’re great kids and that’s why it’s such a surprise they made the mistake they did I think. They’re great kids, they’ve made mistakes, we’ve all made mistakes, we can all get better at things.
“Davey Warner is the same. He’s a really good young bloke, he made a mistake. I love the way he plays his cricket. I’m a cricket tragic, the way he runs between the wickets, the way he fields, the way he bats, they’re things that for the less trained eye, you might not respect that as much but I love the way he plays his cricket.
“Has he got areas to get better at? Yep. Has Steve Smith? Yep. Has Cameron Bancroft? Yep. Has every single person in Australian cricket? Yep. We’ve all got areas we can get better at.
“If we can keep mentoring them and helping them and they want to keep getting better and they want to meet the standards of the Australian cricket team, then of course they’ll be welcomed back.”
Australia’s culture was questioned in the wake of the scandal with their win-at-all-costs mentality under fire.
Langer still wants his team to be aggressive, but he admitted some of their behaviour needed work.
“The public will be disappointed if we don’t play good, hard competitive cricket. That said, we can also modify our behaviours,” he said.
“I was lucky to play with great competitors – talk about Allan Border and Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath and Adam Gilchrist and Steve Waugh – they played hard but they were also outstanding people.
“I think we modify our behaviours a bit so it’s not angry or not over aggressive, but we’re certainly aggressive in the mindset we play with the bat and the ball.”