Steve Smith and David Warner have been left out of Australia's squad for their tour of United Arab Emirates where they will take on Pakistan in a five-match ODI series.
The banned duo of Smith and Warner are still serving their respective one-year bans which will end on March 28 making them available for the last two ODIs. But Cricket Australia has left them out of their 15-member squad saying that the best route for the duo is via the Indian Premier League.
"The best pathway for their return was to play in the Indian Premier League," said Australia selector Trevor Hohns, having consulted coach Justin Langer. "Cricket Australia will continue to liaise with both Steve, David and their IPL clubs to monitor progress as we build towards the ICC World Cup and the Ashes."
The Australian coach confirmed last week that both Smith and Warner are recovering from elbow surgeries but "should be ready for the IPL". The 2019 edition of the IPL will start on March 23, ten days after Australia's tour of India concludes with the fifth ODI which is scheduled to be played in Delhi.
Smith and Warner missed the previous edition of the IPL due to the situation surrounding their bans following the ball tampering incident which happened in Cape Town during Australia's tour of South Africa in March 2018. Herein, Aussie batsman Cameron Bancroft was caught by television cameras trying to rough up one side of the ball with sandpaper in a bid to make it reverse swing. When this controversy happened, Smith was the captain of the Australian team while Warner was the vice-captain.
Both Smith and Warner will be key members for their respective IPL franchises. While the right-hand batsman will represent Rajasthan Royals, the left-handed opener will turn out for last season's runners up SunRisers Hyderabad. Thus it is now likely that the first match back for the national team for Smith and Warner will be against England in a warm-up game on May 25.
Australia's first official match in the World Cup is scheduled for June 1 when they will take on Afghanistan. The 15-member squad for the quadrennial tournament will be named on April 23, exactly a month from the first match of the IPL. The series against Pakistan starts on March 22 in Sharjah and Australia has named an unchanged squad from the India tour.
Australia squad: Aaron Finch (C), Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Peter Handscomb, Glenn Maxwell, Ashton Turner, Marcus Stoinis, Alex Carey (WK), Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Jason Behrendorff, Nathan Lyon, Adam Zampa