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Smith, Warner bans to end during Pakistan ODI series

Smith and Warner, who were banned for their roles in last year’s Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, are eligible for selection again on 29 March, meaning they can be called up for the fourth ODI against Pakistan.

FILE: Australian cricketers Steve Smith (left) and David Warner (right). Picture: AFP

(Reuters) - Steve Smith and David Warner could be in line for an immediate return to the Australian team when their bans expire midway through the upcoming one-day international (ODI) series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.

The five-match Pakistan series will be held from 22-31 March, Pakistan’s Cricket Board said.

Smith and Warner, who were banned for their roles in last year’s Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, are eligible for selection again on 29 March, meaning they can be called up for the fourth ODI against Pakistan.

Australia face Pakistan in the first ODI in Sharjah on 22 March, with the second match scheduled for two days later at the same venue.

The teams will then move to Abu Dhabi for the third match on 27 March, with the final two games in Dubai on 29 March and 31 March.

The confirmation of dates for the Pakistan series also gives Australian players with lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) contracts a measure of clarity, as players called up for the series will not be immediately released for the IPL.

The 2019 season of the IPL is scheduled to begin late March, with Australian players selected for the Pakistan series expected to be unavailable until 2 April at the earliest.

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