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ICC World Cup 2019 | Steve Smith & David Warner Ready to Face the Fire: Justin Langer

AFP |May 19, 2019, 12:21 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Steve Smith & David Warner Ready to Face the Fire: Justin Langer

Australia coach Justin Langer believes no amount of crowd abuse Steve Smith and David Warner may receive while on tour in England can compare to what they've already experienced while serving year-long bans for ball-tampering.

The star batsmen are back in the Australia fold ahead of a lengthy tour of England which includes both the World Cup and Ashes series.

Warner was widely seen as the instigator in the "sandpapergate" scandal during a Test against South Africa in Cape Town that saw novice opener Cameron Bancroft -- banned for nine months -- deliberately trying to alter the condition of the ball in the field while then captain Smith turned a blind eye.

But having witnessed the angry reaction in Australia to Smith and Warner's conduct, Langer said it would be hard to imagine any English taunts could be worse.

"Well, we can't control the crowd. What I do know? It may heat up, but it won't be any hotter than it was 12 months ago," said Langer at an Australia training session on Saturday.

"I've never seen anything like it so the boys are very well prepared," added the former Australia opener, who took over as coach after predecessor Darren Lehmann resigned in the aftermath of the scandal.

"They've paid a heavy price and we're expecting always to come here and to face the fire and we're ready for that."

Smith's return to Australia duty this month, albeit in three unofficial World Cup warm-up matches at home to a New Zealand XI, included unbeaten innings of 89 and 91.

By contrast, Warner could only manage a top score of 39 but Langer was encouraged by what he'd seen from both batsmen.

"I watched Steve Smith batting against New Zealand, he's literally a master of the game, so it's nice to have him back," he said.

"He's just shadow batting the whole time...He loves batting, he's shadow batting on the sand, he's shadow batting in the shower –- I'm not joking!"

As for Warner, Langer added: "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.

"They've had 12 months to have a good think about a mistake they and the team made. I'm sure they'll be better people for that."

Australia may be the reigning World Cup champions but an England side top of the One-Day Internationals rankings will start the tournament as favourites.

Last year saw England compile an ODI world record total of 481 for 6 against Australia at Trent Bridge and the familiar foes will meet again for the first time this season in a World Cup warm-up at Southampton on May 25.

England took an unbeatable 3-0 lead in a home ODI series against Pakistan with a three-wicket win at Trent Bridge on Friday and Langer said: "They're playing brilliant cricket, aren't they?

"There's always good rivalry between us and it's going to be nice for us to see how we're at against the best team in the world."

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Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
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
see more
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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