Banned duo’s return timed well: Alex Carey


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Carey, who was appointed limited-overs vice-captain in the wreckage of the sandpaper saga, believes the timing of the visit will ensure it isn’t a distraction or disruption.

“It was always going to come but to have [it occur during] a couple of days off in Dubai, it’s not a bad time to get them around the group,” Carey said in Delhi.

“I’ve got really good relationships with both of those guys, so does ‘Finchy’ [captain Aaron Finch], ‘JL’ [Langer] and most of the players.

“I don’t think there will be too many concerns of having those guys around the group.

“I’m looking forward to catching up with them.”

Smith, who is confident he’ll be fit for the start of the IPL, and Warner, who recently scored a grade-cricket ton in his return from injury, will have cleared out before Australia resume training for their first ODI against Pakistan on March 22.

The meetings are expected to focus on the new team culture that Langer has fostered since his appointment last year – and regularly been in discussions with both Smith and Warner about.

Carey is unsure what Langer has in store when Smith and Warner front teammates.

“We’ll probably sit down in the room and just talk cricket. I’m sure it will be quite informal,” Carey said.

“Obviously they’ve been out of the mix for quite a little while … it’s going to be a great opportunity for them and for us as players to get around them.”

Langer and Cricket Australia (CA) were keen for Smith and Warner to break the ice prior to joining the World Cup training camp in Brisbane in early May.

The stopover had been a well-kept secret until Tuesday’s revelation, with CA wanting the touring party in India fully focused on Wednesday’s series decider.

Chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns indicated last week that Smith and Warner would likely have played the final two ODIs against Pakistan, which fall after the suspensions expire, if not for their elbow injuries.

Smith provided an update on his fitness on Tuesday, suggesting he “will gradually start throwing again during the IPL and I’ll be full tilt [when the World Cup starts]”.

Carey, who was dropped the start of the current tour before being redeployed in a new role, has settled well and appears to have cemented his spot on the World Cup squad.

Carey was a shock omission from Australia’s XI for both Twenty20s in India last month.

The wicketkeeper was recalled for the ODI series but demoted to No.7 in the batting order, having been trialled as an opener during the corresponding series in Australia at the start of the year.

He has since logged scores of 21, 21 not out, 22 and 36 not out; playing an unheralded but handy role with the bat in all four games.

“I’ve been quite consistent coming in late and finishing off an innings,” Carey said.

“I think I’ve done a pretty good job … No.7 is a crucial spot.

“But for me it’s about learning. You see MS Dhoni, he takes the game really deep and generally gets them over the line. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to do that and just fell short.”

Finch has indicated the team’s keeper, whoever that may be, will bat at No.7 in the World Cup.

Carey is yet to be given any steer from Hohns or Finch regarding the World Cup but has every reason to feel confident about his place in the team.

“If we’re winning games of cricket I guess it’s hard to change a winning side,” the South Australian said.

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