By the time Steve Smith and David Warner serve their 12-month bans for ball-tampering, Australian cricket will be pleading for their return, says Shane Warne.
The former national team vice-captain believes Australia doesn’t have too many X-factor players which makes the case stronger for Smith and Warner’s return.
“By the time Smith and Warner are ready, Australia will be pleading to have them back, they are two of the top five best batsmen in the world,” said Warne.
“Australia desperately need them.”
The former leg-spin guru is promoting his autobiography ‘No Spin’, but his comments are timely given Australia’s struggles against Pakistan in the first Test in Dubai.
Tim Paine’s men are 3-136 in their second innings and need another 326 to win, which seems unlikely.
Warne believes Australia have lost the “fear factor” ever since England won the 2005 Ashes but the next series against the old enemy is still delicately poised.
“I think Australia will give England a real run for their money next year,” said the 49-year-old.
“I don’t think England have feared Australia since they won the series in 2005, which they deserved to as the better side. Since then England realised Australia can be beaten.
“Australia haven’t really got too many X-factor players. But I don’t think Australia really fear England too much now either, aside from Jimmy Anderson bowling with the Dukes ball.”
Disgraced pair Smith and Warner will be back from their suspensions in time for that series and Warne expects both men to regain pivotal roles in Australia’s set-up.
“It’s going to be tough for them at first,” he said.
“Forgiveness takes time, but there’s nothing like making a couple of hundreds in a row and people thinking, ‘Oh, we’ve missed this guy’.
“They have to be aware that they’re in for a bit of a hostile time around the world until they’ve earned the respect back.”