LONDON: Steve Smith and David Warner will seek redemption on the biggest stage as they re-launch their one-day international careers for Australia against Afghanistan at the World Cup on Saturday.
The star batsmen were both banned for a year for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal but they have found form on their return to the international set-up.
Warner was the top runscorer in the recent Indian Premier League while Smith struck a hundred in a warm-up victory against England last weekend.
The defending champions have endured a tumultuous past year but the Aaron Finch-led side are peaking at the right time and are considered one of the favourites in the 50-over showpiece event.
After edging out hosts India 3-2 in a five-match ODI series in March, Australia welcomed back Smith and Warner with open arms.
But they are not expected to be given an easy ride by English fans, with former captain Smith being booed and called a “cheat” during the England warm-up game.
Former Australian paceman Brett Lee expects the pair to make big contributions but has warned they might need thick skin playing in front of the English crowds.
“I don’t think they have got a point to prove, they will just be happy to be back playing for Australia,” said Lee, who won the tournament with Australia in 2003.
“They have been welcomed back to the Australian cricket team with open arms, and I reckon they have a shot at winning.
“You have got the Barmy Army, you have got guys like Kevin Pietersen chirping at me already. They are going to cop some sledging, but you need thick skin,” he added.