Ashes: Australia's Steve Smith & David Warner to play 'huge part'

David Warner and Steve Smith
David Warner and Steve Smith have played club cricket since being suspended in March 2018

Banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner will play a "huge part" in this year's Ashes series against England, says Australia captain Tim Paine.

Then-captain Smith and his deputy Warner were banned for a year for ball-tampering in South Africa in March.

Smith and Warner are expected to return to the national side when their suspensions expire next month.

"I see us going to the Ashes and them having a huge part in us winning the series," said Paine.

"We know how good they are and hopefully once their bans are up, they'll be welcomed back. Those two have got plenty of runs in the bank."

On Monday, Australia wrapped up a 2-0 series win over Sri Lanka, winning the second Test by 366 runs in Canberra.

England, in contrast, are 2-0 down in their three-match series against West Indies following a 10-wicket defeat in the second Test in Antigua.

"What we have seen over this summer is we are starting to build a squad with plenty of depth. There's probably anywhere between 16 and 25 players we think are now in the mix, which is a really good place to be," Paine said.

"I've been dreaming about it actually. I'm happy now that we've got this (Sri Lanka series) out of the way and I can put everything into it because every Australian cricketer can't wait to go and play an Ashes series, particularly in England."

The Ashes gets under way on 1 August with the first of five Tests at Edgbaston.

Before that, Australia's one-day team - which could also call upon Smith and Warner - will hope to defend the World Cup trophy they won down under in 2015.

That is also being held in England, from 30 May until 14 July.

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