With less than a month left to the expiration of his year-long ban, former Australian skipper Steve Smith has made a return to training for the first time since elbow surgery as he hopes to be fit in time for the 2019 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup.
Smith and former vice-captain David Warner, who were handed year-long bans for their involvement in a massive ball-tampering scandal that took place during the four-match series in South Africa in March last year, are eligible for selection again from March 29.
In January, the pair was forced to make a return from the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) within a week of each other due to their respective elbow injuries.
While Warner's injury was not that serious, Smith was required to be in a brace for six weeks after undergoing elbow surgery.
However, the former skipper has picked up the bat and returned to the nets again at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Thursday.
Posting a video of him hitting the nets in his New South Wales shirt, Smith wrote, "Great to have my first hit back. The elbow is feeling good!"
Meanwhile, Australia head coach Justin Langer hoped that Smith and Warner would be fit in time to make a return in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"From all accounts they should both be ready for the IPL, which is really positive. Dave's probably a little more advanced but my understanding is they'll be ready to go in the not-too-distant future," ESPNcricinfo quoted Langer as saying.
Australia, who are currently playing limited-over fixtures in India, will next head into United Arab Emirates (UAE) for their five-match ODI series against Pakistan before the May 30-July 14 ICC World Cup.