Steve Smith could skip World Cup

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The Australian cricketer is now serving a 12-month suspension punishment for his role in the massive ball-tampering scandal during a Test series against South Africa in March, last year.

Smith is still yet to rule out being fit to participate in the Indian Premier League when his ball-tampering suspension ends on March 29.

Australia is the defending champion of the 50-over World Cup but historically the country has prioritised Test cricket over any other format and the Ashes is beyond debate the biggest event of the Australian calendar.

"What we've seen over this summer is that we've now started to build a squad with plenty of depth, so there's probably anywhere between 16 and 20 players now that we think are in the mix, which is a really good place to be".

Smith's manager, Warren Craig of Turning Point Management, revealed that the star batsman's recovery from elbow surgery had gone well despite him remaining in a brace.

Langer said about the two players: "We've got to keep working on how they are with their elbows, first".

Only Warner is likely to play that series with Smith needing to recover from a major surgery on his elbow.

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However, the downside is it will cost the CA hierarchy a chance to re-blood them in the relative anonymity of a series against Pakistan, rather than in the hype of a World Cup opener in the United Kingdom, where the potential for distraction and outside hype will be far greater.

Craig said: "The intent is that he will play in the IPL and then the World Cup and then the Ashes". It's all part of the management.

Steve Smith and David Warner will not be rushed back into the Australia side as soon as their bans expire next month.

"They'll find opportunities ... but I can't see anything else (stopping them)".

'We know it's been a tough time for them, it's been a tough time for Australian cricket, but we know the ... integration has been going for the last nine or 10 months ... it's getting closer, isn't it? "He just woke up the next day when he was in bed and his left pec had all blown up", said Langer.

"We know how good they are and hopefully once their bans are up they'll be welcomed back and they will win Test matches like they did before".

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