'Hugs and cuddles' greet Steve Smith, David Warner in Australia return

Steve Smith left and David Warner have linked back up with their Australia team-mates ahead of their bans being lifted

RYAN PIERSE GETTY IMAGESSteve Smith left and David Warner have linked back up with their Australia team-mates ahead of their bans being lifted

Steve Smith and David Warner have been reunited with their Australia team-mates at a meeting created to smooth the ground before their expected return to the side next month.

Smith returned the side after serving out a one-year global suspension for ball-tampering scandal.

Smith was captain and Warner the vice-captain when they were fined and banned for their roles in the incident during the third Test against South Africa. The decision on the part of the Cricket Australia management is that the two of them should have an extended stint in the IPL before returning to Australia in early May for a training camp in Brisbane ahead of the World Cup.

"The boys have been very accepting of us coming in, with open arms".

"They have played well here, they have won the last World Cup here in England, they have played in five of the last six World Cup finals, they just beat India in the T20 series and to chase 360 in India is an ominous sign for the rest of the World Cup competition".

A "nervous" Smith and Warner spent less than 24 hours with Australia's 15-man ODI squad in the UAE last weekend but the short stopover was enough to generate hundreds of headlines around the world. "Obviously being out for 12 months, there has been a big change, which is great", Warner said.

"I have forgiven them".

Warner was equally excited about featuring in the IPL.

The franchise said it is also keen to create an exchange programme across India and United Kingdom wherein the children from the United Kingdom will receive an opportunity to come to Institute of Sport, Nagpur.

"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".

Steve Smith here bowling during Sydney Sixers training a few days before Christmas said he feels there's good energy in the group
Warner and Smith have 'hugs and cuddles' with Australia squad as bans end

Australia coach Justin Langer described the meeting as "like two brothers coming home".

There has been speculation that Smith and Warner fronted teammates as part of an honesty session and that squad members and support staff were invited to ask whatever questions they pleased.

"They have been received really well, we had a good night together and had some great meetings today (Saturday) so it's been really positive", he said.

"I'm really excited about playing again".

Langer was enthused by the prospect of both Smith and Warner returning to the side.

Both played in the recent Bangladesh Premier League but both soon bowed out because of elbow injuries, and now they are keen to get noticed again by Australia's selectors.

"Playing alongside Buttler will be great, batting with him makes things easier for me".

Punjab spent big in the player auctions, snapping up little-known Indian spinner Varun Chakravarthy for $1.2 million - making him the top buy along with Indian paceman Jaydev Unadkat, who went to the Royals.

"You just have to go about your own business and make sure you don't let that become a distraction".

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