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Smith, Warner can still help NSW: Nevill

By AAP Newswire

NSW captain Peter Nevill wants his young squad to pick the brains of Steve Smith and David Warner this season, adding he'd love to see the banned duo return in the Sheffield Shield final.

Former Test keeper Nevill was appointed Blues skipper on Tuesday, filling one of many voids left by Smith.

Smith and Warner are serving 12-month bans that preclude them from playing international cricket, but also representing NSW or taking part in the Big Bash League.

Those suspensions, resulting from the Cape Town cheating scandal, expire on March 28. That is the same date the Shield final starts, giving Smith and Warner hope of an unexpected hit with the Blues.

"I certainly would not be against them playing any games for us. I'd love to have them around, any time," Nevill told reporters on Tuesday.

"Hopefully we can see them, at some point this season, playing for us. If that's the Shield final, we'll have to make sure we make that."

Many members of the NSW squad were understood to be incredulous when Cricket Australia (CA) slapped long suspensions on Smith and Warner, unhappy because they felt the punishment was too harsh and did not match their crimes.

The players' union and past players, including Shane Warne, voiced their concern publicly. The latter accused CA of bowing to public "hysteria".

There is no prospect of the governing body softening those sanctions, but Smith and Warner will be playing grade cricket later this year after returning via Canada's new Twenty20 league.

Two of the world's best batsmen, who have a combined 138 Tests of experience, are also likely to train alongside NSW teammates this season.

"It doesn't have to be on a formal basis," Nevill said.

"Some of the best learning experiences for people are quite informal things.

"Having that kind of knowledge around the place is only going to help upskill some of these young guys, but also our more experienced guys."

Smith spent recent weeks visiting schools as part of his charity work with the Gotcha 4 Life Foundation, opening up about his personal lows during discussions about mental health.

News Corp Australia has published a story based on Smith's recent movements around New York, having shadowed the gifted batsman while he was en route to Toronto for the T20 competition that starts later this week.

"I didn't see that. That's obviously disappointing," Nevill said.

"You don't want to see that happen to anybody really.

"Steve is a lovely human being. He's a friend of mine and I care about him a lot."