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'Be Prepared for the Worst' - Ponting Warns Smith & Warner on Return

Former captain Ricky Ponting has warned his team that the return of banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner could potentially derail their World Cup campaign if it's not handled carefully.

Cricketnext Staff |March 12, 2019, 3:28 PM IST
'Be Prepared for the Worst' - Ponting Warns Smith & Warner on Return

Former captain Ricky Ponting has warned his team that the return of banned duo Steve Smith and David Warner could potentially derail their World Cup campaign if it's not handled carefully.

He added that the duo must be prepared to face the worst, especially from the hostile English crowd.

"I don't think it is much of a challenge internally around the players," Ponting was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.

"You'd like to think that those guys are having conversations now, so they're not leaving it to the last minute and just be exposed to this thing that could be derailing to a team. I'm sure this would have been talked about at a higher level for a long time - how do we integrate them back in? How do they fit in? How is it all going to be seamless?

"But the hardest part for those guys is going to be the public perception of us, especially in England. They're coming back into a World Cup in the UK - they shouldn’t be expecting too many pats on the back over there.

"They're going to cop it everywhere they go. They've got to know that, they've got to accept that and understand that. The team needs to as well, because that could also be something that could be unsettling for a team."

Ponting, who himself is going to be the assistant coach for Australia in the tournament, said both players might be ready but can still be taken aback by the level of animosity.

"I think they are well equipped (to handle the scrutiny), but I think it could be a shock for them by the same token when they come back," said Ponting.

"They have to expect the absolute worst and then anything better than that is going to be a bonus for them. That would be the way I would approach it if I was them. But at the same time, the way they'll integrate themselves back in quickly and have some of the public helping them out, is for them to be scoring runs. If they’re scoring runs and the Australian cricket team is winning, it’ll be a whole lot easier.

"If it’s the other way around and they're not scoring runs and the Australian team is losing, then it’s going to be hard. That's where there's a great challenge there for all of us - not just for them, but for all of us coaches and everyone in that squad of 15 – there's going to be some great challenges but ones that I'm looking forward to."

Interestingly, Warner and Smith will go to the UAE as part of their reintegration despite not being in the squad to face Pakistan.

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1 India 4027 115
2 New Zealand 2829 109
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3778 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6745 125
2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 India 8099 261
5 Australia 5471 261
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