Australian cricket coach Justin Langer has pleaded with English fans to stop booing batsman David Warner and skipper Steve Smith. The duo returned to international duty earlier this month after serving a year-long ban for ball tampering scandal against South Africa — the incident was labeled as “Sandpaper-gate”.
Pending his fitness, Warner will join Smith in the Aussie side which will open their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on Saturday.
The cricketers were jeered in their side’s victory over England in a warm-up match last Saturday. During the match, the fans gathered at the stadium chanted, “cheat, cheat, cheat”. While a section of fans also shouted, “Get off Warner, you cheat.”
Now ahead of their crucial opener, Langer — who is skeptical that the adverse treatment towards the duo will continue — insisted that they have paid the price for their act and must be treated with some respect.
“They are human beings, and that’s the truth. That’s where I find it hard. I am a dad, and I have got kids. A lot of the time, players feel like they are my kids,” Langer said speaking to the presser ahead of the match against Afghanistan.
“And you see that happen. You know, you feel for them personally. They are going to have to have thick skin.
“But I think it is really important that people show some respect as well. Because they are humans, they are really good cricketers.
“They made a mistake. They have paid the price for it. Big price actually. I feel for them as people more than anything else.”
However, Langer is adamant that the duo will not let the situation hurt their cricket. He feels there us no need t raise the issue again with the pair ahead of their opener.
When asked if he would be disappointed if the players were jeered, Langer said: “I will be disappointed any day if any cricketer is booed on a cricket ground.
“Regardless of what country they play for. It is not the spirit that any of us like to see.
Langer also remains confident about the duo’s ability to score runs. Warner during his ban averaged above 50. While Smith also hit the right chord during Australia’s six warm-up matches with 394 runs at 131.33.