Steve Smith and David Warner return 'never in doubt', says Australia captain Aaron Finch
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By Joe Tanner
Last Updated: 01/06/19 1:22pm
Captain Aaron Finch insists there was "never any doubt" about David Warner and Steve Smith's return to international cricket ahead of Australia's ICC World Cup opener against Afghanistan on June 1.
Both were booed and jeered by the England crowd during Australia's warm-up game against the World Cup hosts last week - batsman Smith responded by hitting 116 from 102 as his side won by 12 runs at the Ageas Bowl.
It was the first time the pair had faced England since returning from their respective 12-month bans following the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.
Spinner Nathan Lyon and wicketkeeper Alex Carey believed the pair dealt well with the taunts and have backed Warner and Smith to play a vital role in Australia's World Cup title defence.
ODI captain Finch, who took over the role from Smith in 2018, says he always thought the pair would return to form quickly following their sanctions.
"I think when you are a world-class player, you adapt again really quickly and you get up to speed," Finch said.
"Having them play, I think, 13 games each in the IPL (Indian Premier League) was really important.
"That's a higher standard of cricket and it just gets you back up to as close to international competition as you can.
"Steve is one of the all-time greats by the time he will finish the game, there is no question about his batting ability and when you are great, you get the game quicker and things just happen quicker.
"There was never any issue about how he would bounce back, and the same with David.
"They are both so competitive, they have got great records. There was never any doubt how well they would come back."
Australia head coach Justin Langer says Warner will be assessed ahead of their World Cup opener against Afghanistan in Bristol, having been troubled by a sore glute.
The defending world champions and five-time World Cup winners are cautious of the threat that Saturday's opposition will pose at the County Ground, with Afghanistan beating Pakistan by three wickets there a week ago.
"They are a dangerous side," Finch added.
"If you take your foot off the gas for a while, they will hurt you, and you still have to play at your absolute best to beat them.
"Winning their warm-up game against Pakistan, they played brilliantly. They have got a huge following, with support all over the world now, which is huge for cricket."