Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting said that Steve Smith and David Warner should be ready for the “absolute worst” when the team travel to England for the World Cup. The pair are expected to make a return to the national squad in the mega event having missed the cut in the preceding series against Pakistan due their elbow surgeries.’
“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,” he is quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “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.”
Smith and Warner have been serving one year bans that was imposed on them by Cricket Australia for their roles in the 2018 ball tampering scandal in Newlands, South Africa. They are both going to the UAE as part of their reintegration although they won’t be part of the squad that face Pakistan. “I don’t think it is much of a challenge internally around the players,” said Ponting, who will be assistant coach to Justin Langer at the World Cup. “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 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,” he said.
“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.”
The World Cup starts on May 30 with hosts England taking on South Africa in the first match. Australia’s first match will be on June 1 against Afghanistan.