Australia’s ace batsman Steve Smith said played a magnificent knock of 116 runs to guide his team to a thrilling 12-run victory over England in ICC Cricket World Cup warm-up match on Saturday. Coming back to the team from a year-long ban, Smith did not receive the same welcome from the crowd as he got from his teammates at The Rose Bowl. However, Smith said that he focuses on playing cricket and helping his team rather than giving attention to the “white noise”.
Both Smith and David Warner, playing their first match in England after serving their one-year ban for involvement in the Cape Town ball-tampering row, were greeted by boos at various stages of the game from the 11,540-strong Southampton crowd.
“I heard a few things as I went out to bat, but it didn’t really get to me,” cricket.com.au quoted Smith as saying after the game. “I’m just trying to keep my head down and move straight ahead and just do my job.”
The former Australia skipper said as long as he has got the support of his teammates, he doesn’t get bothered by the reaction of the crowd.
“It doesn’t bother me. It’s just doing my job and I know that I’ve got the support of my teammates up on the balcony and that’s the most important thing,” said Smith.
“If I can make them proud out in the middle and make Australians proud as much as I can – well that’s my job.
“Fortunately today I was able to score a few runs for the team and more importantly spend some time in the middle before our first game of the World Cup,” he added.
Smith has been in great form off late since returning as he has been dismissed just twice in his last four hits and has 372 runs at 186 across those matches. While Smith is yet to play an official match for Australia since his return, he was the part of the squad which recently played an unofficial series against New Zealand in Brisbane. Smith scored 22 in the first match and followed that up with unbeaten scores of 89 and 91.
He scored 76 in Australia’s first pre-World Cup warm-up match against the West Indies in Southampton.
When asked about how it felt to be labelled a “cheat” following last year’s Cape Town scandal, Smith said, “I just blank it out.”
“They call it white noise. When I am out there I pay no attention to the crowd and just move on with playing the game,” he added.
Australia will now take on Sri Lanka in the second warm-up game on May 27 before beginning their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on June 1.
(With Agency Inputs)