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Finch: Warner, Smith eager to re-establish their 'world-class' credentials
Australia News

Finch: Warner, Smith eager to re-establish their 'world-class' credentials

Aaron Finch has claimed that key players Steve Smith and David Warner are eager to re-establish their 'world-class' credentials in the World Cup following their much-anticipated return to international cricket.

Smith and Warner were slapped with 12-month bans for hatching the plan to use sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during the Cape Town Test against South Africa.

Both players are back in Australia's top order as Finch's men prepare to take on Afghanistan in their tournament opener in Bristol.

Speaking on the eve of their clash against Afghanistan, Finch spoke on the importance of using the World Cup for Smith and Warner to move on from their scandalous past.

"I think when you are a world-class player, you adapt again really quickly and you get up to speed," he said.

'Playing in the IPL important'

He also outlined the crucial role that the Indian Premier League (IPL) played in restoring the form of the disgraced duo.

"Having them play, I think, 13 games each in the IPL (Indian Premier League -- they actually played 12 each) 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."

Finch appreciated Smith's contributions to Australian cricket, predicting him to reach the status of an "all-time great" when he calls time on his career.

"There was never any issue about how he would bounce back, and the same with David," he said.

"They are both so competitive, they have got great records. There was never any doubt how well they would come back."

Smith and Warner were greeted by loud chants of 'cheats' during their warm-up game against England at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, indicating the kind of reception the pair is likely to receive throughout the tournament.

Warner set to be in action against Afghanistan

All doubts surrounding Warner's participating in their country's first game of the World Cup have come to rest after he managed to recover from a sore muscle.

"David is fine. He will play tomorrow, no doubt about that," said Finch. "We are very close to a starting XI but we are not going to name it yet. Everyone is in contention."

Five-time world champions Australia start out as favourites against the underdogs Afghanistan, however, Finch is not taking things lightly.

He alluded to their thrilling victory over Pakistan in the warm-up game ahead of the World Cup as he called upon his team to be at their toes against a spirited Afghan side.

"They are a dangerous side. 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," he said.

"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."