Smith, Warner brace for hostile English crowds

Disgraced former Australian Captain Steve Smith and Vice-Captain David Warner are preparing for the merciless English crowds upon their returns to international cricket following the infamous ball tampering scandal in March last year.

Although their reintroduction’s to the national team during the practice matches has been relatively low key, Cricket Australia have ensured security will be tight for Smith and Warner as they embarked on a long tour in England beginning with the World Cup, followed by the Ashes in August.

Australian limited overs Captain Aaron Finch says the pair are expecting hostile receptions, but is confident they would be able to concentrate on their cricket.

Even though they are no longer in leadership positions, they are expected to play key roles within the team, having already reportedly contributed to boosting team morale and perhaps provide tactical advice to the skipper on-filed.

Australia’s world cup title defence begins on June 1st against Afghanistan in Bristol, but will not play England until June 25th, so it will be interesting to see what kind of receptions Smith and Warner receive until then, without the presence of the famous Barmy Army.

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The best way for Smith and Warner to silence the crowds is to score runs. Warner dominated the recent IPL tournament in India while Smith has produced three consecutive half-centuries during the warm up games.

Australian coach Justin Langer believes the English crowds won’t be as intense as they were 12-months ago, when Australia toured England for a 5-match ODI tour soon after the ball tampering scandal in South Africa, saying he’d never seen crowds “hotter” towards his team as England handed them a 5-nill drubbing.  

Although Australia copped plenty from the crowds then, Smith and Warner were back home serving their suspensions.

Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds thinks the barrage of abuse will be right in their face, it will be rude, abrupt with songs, chants and even clothing that certainly won’t be complementary towards them, but believe they should have coping mechanisms in place and use the abuse to fuel their fire to compete.

England Ashes great Sir Ian Botham believes crowds will be hostile and says the Barmy Army already have about eight or nine songs prepared and Smith and Warner most likely feature in many of those.

They can expect those songs to be sung on repeat when Australia meet England in the world cup and over the course of the Ashes.

Featured Image: Courtesy of Ben Sutherland