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London (AFP) – Australia head coach Justin Langer has called on fans to show Steve Smith and David Warner respect in the World Cup and not jeer them.
The pair, who both recently completed bans for ball-tampering, were given a hostile reception by the crowd at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton during Australia’s World Cup warm-up victory over England.
There were audible boos, jeers, and chants of “cheat”, but Langer has urged supporters not to repeat that behaviour during the tournament itself.
“You (the media) talk about earning respect, and I think it’s really important that people show respect as well,” Langer said ahead of five-time winners Australia’s World Cup opener against Afghanistan in Bristol on Saturday.
“They made a mistake and paid a big price for it.After the experience of Hampshire, we have a pretty good idea what to expect.We’ve talked about it a lot and we can put strategies in place.
“That said, when it happens it doesn’t make it any easier.They are human beings, that’s the truth — and that’s what I find the hardest.”
He added: “I’d be disappointed by any player being booed at any cricket ground, regardless of what country they play for.It’s never a good look when that happens.”
Langer confirmed that Warner would open the batting against Afghanistan if he passes a fitness test.
But the 32-year-old has been troubled by a sore muscle, which has restricted his movement in the field during practice sessions.
“He was a bit sore on Wednesday,” said Langer.”He’s just a bit sore in his right glute.He is desperate to play, he’d love to play like all 15 players would.
“He’s jumping out of his skin, his energy is up and he’s laughing a lot, which is a good sign.He’s really keen but we’ve got to make sure he can move, particularly in the field.”
If Warner is available, Langer will make a decision between Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh for the final spot in the Australian top order, while both would play if Warner is not quite ready.