Steve Smith, David Warner and Mitchell Starc have all missed selection for the upcoming ODI tour of the UAE.
Smith and Warner will be eligible for international cricket once their bans expire on March 28.
There were reports – should they both be fit to play – that the pair remained a chance to feature in the March 29 and 31 ODIs against Pakistan.
However, on Friday, the selectors announced an unchanged ODI squad of fifteen that is currently touring India.
It means Smith and Warner are likely to make their international comebacks in the World Cup.
Selection chairman Trevor Hohns clarified the non-selections of Smith and Warner, saying the “best pathway” for their returns will be through the Indian Premier League, where Smith (Rajasthan Royals) and Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad) will reunite with their respective franchises.
The pair will now get a consistent crack at white-ball cricket in the IPL ahead of the World Cup, rather than vault into an ongoing ODI series.
“After consultation with members of the National Selection Panel, Greg Chappell and Head Coach Justin Langer, Interim EGM Team Performance Belinda Clark, CA Medical Team and both players, it has been agreed Steve Smith and David Warner will not be available for selection for the final two matches of the series against Pakistan,” Hohns said in a statement.
“While their bans will be finished on March 28, Steve and David have been working through rehabilitation from elbow surgery and it has been agreed the best pathway for them to return to play is in the Indian Premier League, a strong competition which features some of the world’s best players.
“David will play with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Steve with Rajasthan Royals. Cricket Australia will continue to liaise with both Steve, David and their IPL clubs to monitor progress as we build towards the ICC World Cup and the Ashes.”
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Hohns lauded the positive progress made by the white-ball outfit ahead of the World Cup, with Australia winning both T20 matches against India before pushing the star-studded hosts to the brink in the opening two ODIs.
Kane Richardson – who was ruled out of the India tour with a side strain – retained his spot for the Pakistan series, but Hohns revealed star paceman Starc has had hit a speed bump in his recovery from a pectoral injury.
“The squad is making pleasing progress ahead of the World Cup, and with three matches remaining in India and the five match series against Pakistan to come, we believe they will benefit further from the continuity of playing together,” Hohns said on the unchanged squad.
“Despite returning to Australia last week, Kane Richardson has been included in the squad as we monitor his recovery from the left side strain injury. We are hopeful he will recover in time for the Pakistan series.
“Unfortunately, Mitchell Starc’s recovery from his left pectoral muscle strain has been set back by a slight recurrence as he commenced bowling. This has ruled him out of the Pakistan series and while frustrating for all involved, our focus is to have Mitch ready for the World Cup.”