Australia will be ‘hard to stop’ at the upcoming World Cup if returning Steve Smith and David Warner rediscover their top form for the defending champions, according to Darren Lehmann.
Smith and Warner served 12-month bans for their parts in the ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australian cricket in 2018.
Both impressed in the recent Indian Premier League and have been backed by Lehmann to play a starring role in the World Cup as Australia bid to defend their title.
Lehmann, who resigned as Australia head coach following the ball-tampering scandal, said: ‘Smith at number three or four, he’d be exceptional at the World Cup.
‘People are worried about the break they’ve had with 12 months out, but you see them in the IPL performing and making runs.
‘David Warner is an excitement machine, at the top of the order, he can set it alight.
‘If he has a really good tournament, he set us on the road to winning a lot of games in the last World Cup. If he does it again at the top of the order with Aaron Finch, they’ll be hard to stop.’
Warner, 32, was one of the stars of the recent IPL campaign, scoring almost 700 runs and eight fifty-plus scores in 12 innings for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
In his absence, Finch and Usman Khawaja have impressed at the top of the order for Australia but Lehmann expects Warner to assume his opening position in the World Cup.
He added to Macquarie Sports Radio: ‘Opening with Finch and Warner, I think that’s a certainty.
‘And then there’s Khawaja or Shaun Marsh at three I’d think and Smith at four – this is your top four.’
Australia begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on June 1.
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