One Test series win for Australia over the past for Australia has some, including captain Tim Paine, believing that Steve Smith and David Warner will feature prominently in August, when the national XI will return to the old sod in their defense of the Ashes.
Both are still ranked in the top 10 of batsmen by the International Cricket Council, but one time-tested and sure-fire way to maintain a high batting average is by avoiding batting altogether, something at which Smith and Warner have managed quite nicely, thank you.
Paine told reporters, “I think everyone has, to a degree, got to earn their stripes. Those two (Smith and Warner) have got plenty of runs in the bank. I see us going to the Ashes and them having a huge part in us winning the series. That’s how I see how important they are to this team.”
The ball-tampering saga in South Africa seems a distant memory in the minds of many, so long as the minds under consideration care for nothing other than an Australian XI returning from England with a win in the five-Test series that kicks off August 1 in Edgbaston.
Smith and Warner had better hope that the selectors are in that group, but all appearances seem to point to a mood of forgiveness, which, if Australia had had even average results while the two were out, might not be so easy to come by.
The urn might be the world’s smallest trophy, unless those brainiacs who pursue particle physics have a sports competition where the top prize is a theoretical clump of electrons in a quantum vacuum.
All the same, Australia, always eager to prove itself equal to the mother country, place great stock in the annual Test series with England. A win with Smith and Warner making major contributions would grant complete absolution.