Dubai [UAE], Mar 17 (ANI): Steve Smith and David Warner, who are nearing the end of their year-long ban, returned to the Australian dressing room for the first time following the 2018 ball-tampering incident.
The duo was warmly welcomed as Australian players enjoyed some time off in the UAE, where the side will play Pakistan in a five-match ODI series.
It is understood that the meeting was an opportunity for players to air grievances with the duo and also served as an orientation for the returning batsmen into a new Australian culture, ICC reported.
"It's been awesome. It's like we didn't really leave. The boys were very accepting of us coming in and with open arms," Warner said. "[There were] a lot of big hugs and cuddles. It's been great. It's good to see the spirit they're in after a great series win in India, and I am obviously looking forward to watching them play against Pakistan here, and hopefully, they win that series as well," he added.
Despite their failures last year, Australia bounced back and won the five-match ODI series 3-2 against India, marking their first series win since January 2017.
"I guess it's just been going through the values that are instilled in the team at the moment and making sure we are on the right path looking forward to what's coming up - a huge World Cup and an Ashes series in England," Smith said.
"It's pretty exciting times ahead for the team, and just making sure everyone's on the right path and heading in the same direction," he added.
Head coach Justin Langer likened their returns to getting back together with family.
"As a coach, when you have got two guys with as many runs and experience as they've got coming back into a team that's playing well, that's very exciting," Langer said.
"We talked about making Australians proud. We talked about great cricketers and great people, so this is just a really good opportunity with this time between the Indian series and the Pakistan series, just to reset where we are at and reassess where we are at. I think it's been a really worthwhile exercise," he added.
With less than three months left for the World Cup, Smith and Warner are now set to compete in the 12th edition of the IPL. (ANI)