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'Like we never left' - Smith and Warner back in Aussie cricket fold

AFP  |  Melbourne 

and have been welcomed back into the Australian fold with "hugs and cuddles" at a team meet-up in Dubai, and said it was like they'd never left.

The disgraced pair, whose year-long bans for ball-tampering expire this month, were invited by as part of their re-integration after the scandal in that rocked the cricketing world.

are in as they prepare for an upcoming series against in the following their upset one-day series win against

"It's been awesome. It's like we didn't really leave, the boys were very accepting of us coming in and with open arms," said Warner in audio comments supplied to AFP Sunday.

"A lot of big hugs and It's been great. "It's good to see the spirit they're in after a great series win in and I am obviously looking forward to watching them play against here and hopefully they win that series as well," he added.

The "sandpapergate" scandal in Cape Town, which also saw opening batsman banned for nine months, had far-reaching consequences for Australian

Then-quit and there was a clean-out of top executives from after a scathing review said its "arrogant and controlling" culture was partly to blame for players bending the rules.

Australian has since undergone a host of cultural changes under Langer, and Warner and Smith were brought up to speed at the meeting on how it now worked.

"Making sure we're in line with team values moving forwards," Warner said of the meet-up, which also discussed the squad's preparations for the upcoming "Obviously (we've) been out for 12 months and there has been a big change, which is great, and it's about excepting that and playing what our role should be in the team."

Smith, who was stripped of the captaincy and is barred from being considered for any leadership role for a further 12 months after his ban ends, echoed Warner's comments.

"It seems like some really good among the team at the moment," he said.

"It's great to be back around the group, they've been really welcoming and almost like we've never left." While the cheating row initially unleashed a torrent of vitriol against them, that sentiment has eased significantly and they are expected to be slotted straight back into the team.

Smith said the catch-up went 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; a huge and an in England".

Both players, who are returning from elbow injuries, are eligible for the final two games of the series. But selectors decided it would be better to ease themselves back at the upcoming

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 17 2019. 10:25 IST
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