Ahead of the three-match T20I series against South Africa starting on Friday, Australia coach Justin langer has said that the last year's tour to England will hold David Warner and Steve Smith in good stead. Langer believes that the duo is ready for a hostile reception from South African supporters.
Australia has not played a T20 international since November and this is the side's first tour back to South Africa since the ball-tampering 'Sandpapergate’ scandal in 2018. Smith, Warner, and Cameron Bancroft were involved in ball-tampering in a Test match in Cape Town in March 2018. Because of this, all three of them were suspended by Cricket Australia for one year.
During the last year's Ashes and 50-over World Cup in England, both Warner and Smith received a hostile reception from England fans and the duo was booed throughout the tour.
"There was a brilliant reintegration back into the team, before they came back into the team 12 months ago or whatever it was - eight months ago. There was a lot of really good work done there, and we've had a great dress rehearsal for South Africa from England. We are really excited to be back here, we love playing cricket in South Africa," Langer told reporters on Monday in Johannesburg.
"That was a tough tour for those two guys and I was really proud of the way they let their bats do the talking and again, they have been great ambassadors off the field. So hopefully they'll be looking forward to getting back here and playing great cricket as well," he added.
Australia skipper Aaron Finch echoed Langer's sentiments and said that Warner would use the jeering from the fans as motivation for scoring runs against South Africa. "South African fans are very passionate. Regardless of whether you're playing in Australia or over here or even in ICC tournaments, the crowd are very vocal," Finch said.
"Our guys are expecting that and David loves that banter coming from the crowd. It gets him into the game. Regardless of what I think, the crowd are going to act however they please - I don't think it's going to make much difference to us. We are going to play cricket with a smile on our face, and represent Australia very proudly," he added. Australia will next take on South Africa in three T20Is and as many ODIs. The first T20I will be played on February 21.
(With agency inputs) (Image credits: PTI)