As the former Australia captain, Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner have reached South Africa for the first time after their infamous ball-tampering scandal in 2018, they are expected to face some flak from the South Africa fans. Because of that incident, they faced a ban of one year as well. On the other hand, Cameron Bancroft faced a 9-month ban. Although he is not on this tour, Warner and Smith will be targeted by boos and taunting as per many thinks.
“There’s no doubt we’re going to cop a bit of flak from the South African crowds,” Australia allrounder Mitchell Marsh said.
“I think it’s really important we cop it with a smile on our face. We know what’s happening.”
A three-match Twenty20 International series will soon begin on Friday at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg which will be followed by three one-day internationals between Australia and South Africa. However, Warner and Smith will certainly be targeted by boos and taunting but South African officials hope nothing worse takes place this time.
“Our guys are expecting that,” Australia captain Aaron Finch said.
“Regardless of what I think, the crowd are going to act however they please so I don’t think it’s going to make much difference to us.”
That test series that took two years ago was highlighted for many other reasons as well. Warner came under scrutiny after he and South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock who is South Africa’s captain for this series — had a heated argument on the dressing room stairs in the first test and the teammates pulled them apart, did some on-field sledging, or taunting, which de Kock responded.
Warner was targeted in the second test by the South African crowds because of that and he had a verbal altercation with a supporter as well in the third game. The series ended with the controversy where they tried to tamper with the ball by using a piece of sandpaper in that third test.
“We’ve talked a lot about this in the team, changing culture,” Australia coach Justin Langer said.
“It’s a great game and you want to see good battles between skills, between the batters and the bowlers. And we want to see it played in great spirit.”
“From an Australian cricket point of view, I think we’ve shown that we’re ready to embrace that. We’ve done it for 18 months now and there’s absolutely no reason why that won’t continue. I would plead with South African fans to respect our opponents and don’t go overboard with these things,” interim Cricket South Africa CEO Jacques Faul told Australian media.
But Mike Haysman, an Australian and former player who lives in South Africa and commentates on cricket, expects some hostility from the host during the series.
“Warner will cop it. South African supporters are like that. The bottom line is David made his bed and he’s got to lie in it,” Haysman told Australia’s Wide World of Sports.