Warne: With Smith and Warner, Australia can win the World Cup
Australia with Steven Smith and David Warner are genuine World Cup contenders, says Shane Warne.
The leg-spinning legend is certain the pair will be welcomed back to the national team with "open arms" when their international bans expire.
Open arms: Steve Smith, along with David Warner, will go straight into the World Cup squad, says Shane WarneCredit:AAP
Smith and Warner were suspended for 12 months for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year and can return to top-level cricket at the end of the month.
The bans end in time for Smith and Warner to play the final two one-day internationals of the five-match series against Pakistan in the UAE, but neither was included in the squad as they are both recovering from recent elbow surgery.
This will give the likes of Shaun Marsh to stake their claim on a place in the 15-man World Cup squad but Warne doesn't see Australia travelling to England and Wales without their former captain and vice-captain.
"I think Smith and Warner will be accepted with open arms. They have done their time. They are not bad people, they just made a bad mistake," Warne, who claimed 708 wickets for Australia in 145 tests, told Sky Sports.
"When you have got that sort of class as a cricketer, they will go straight back into the World Cup squad."
World champions Australia picked up a 3-2 ODI series win in India, gathering momentum in time for the May 30-July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.
Tall order: David Warner trains at the SCG with South African Morne Morkel last month. Credit:Steven Siewert
"The way Australia are playing at the moment, I wouldn't write them off and I think they can win the World Cup," Warne added.
"They just beat India in the T20 series and to chase 360 in India without Smith and Warner is an ominous sign for the rest of the World Cup competition."
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