The English crowd may throw some taunts on Steve Smith and David Warner during the World Cup but they are ready to “face the fire”, says Australia coach Justin Langer.
Warner and Smith return to high intensity action at the showpiece event after serving out their one-year bans, imposed for their role in last year’s ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Langer admitted that controlling the crowd is not in their hands but urged the fans to treat Warner and Smith as human beings, prone to committing mistakes.
“We can’t control the crowd. What I do know? It may ramp up, it may heat up, but it won’t be any hotter than it was twelve months ago. I’ve never seen anything like it so the boys are very well prepared. They’ve paid a heavy price and we’re always expecting to come here and to face the fire and we’re ready for that,” said Langer after team’s first training session after their arrival.
The head coach further said that the Australian camp has to support them emotionally and ensure that Warner and Smith remain comfortable.
“What we’ve got to understand is that they’re human beings as well. There’s not too many I’ve met in my life who like being booed or heckled or disliked so they’re human beings.”
“We’re going to have to care for them. We are going to have to put an arm around them and make sure they’re going ok. But what people say, whether it’s in the crowd or social media or wherever there’s nothing they can do about that they can’t control it but what we can do is keep an eye on them and make sure they’re going ok as people as much as cricketers.”
Langer said Smith is hitting the ball as clean as hard as he was doing it before the ban. A proof of it was when Smith hit pacer Pat Cummins so hard that the ball sailed over and hit a car passing by on the Nottingham Road.
“As batsman it’s brilliant. I watched Steve Smith batting against New Zealand in those three practice games, he’s literally a master of the game, so it’s nice to have him back.
“It’s been hilarious for me because whether on the ANZAC cove or in the lunch room or we’re in the bus playing cards, he’s just shadow batting the whole time. He’s literally — he loves batting, he’s shadow batting on the sand, he’s shadow batting in the shower — I’m not joking! You should see him mate! He just loves batting. From that point it’s great to have him back.
“Dave’s got that look on his eye, he’s really hungry, he’s a great player as we all know, he’s so dynamic, he brings so much energy, and that’s what we ask from our players. You watch Glenn Maxwell field or bowl or bat — he brings the energy. Dave Warner always brings energy to the contest. It’s really nice to have him back.”