Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed has said that the fans from his country won't boo star Australian batsman Steve Smith when the Men in Green will take on the defending champions in their World Cup 2019 clash on Wednesday (June 12).
Pakistan fans are expected to dominate the stands in Taunton and there are fears they might follow the example of the Indian supporters who teased Smith at the Oval on Sunday (June 9).
"I don't think Pakistani people will do that," Sarfaraz told reporters on the eve of the Australia clash. “Pakistani people love cricket, they love to support and they love the players."
A large chunk of Indian fans chanted "cheater" at Smith, who is featuring in this World Cup after serving year-long ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal. Seeing the unkind behaviour from his country’s crowd, India captain Virat Kohli was seen asking the spectators to stop booing Smith and applaud good cricket instead.
Meanwhile, Sarfaraz vowed Pakistan will put their 5-0 whitewash by Australia in March behind them.
"I think that thing is gone, it's past. We're not thinking about that. Actually we are thinking about tomorrow's game. So our morale is very high and we will do our best," he remarked.
Sarfaraz refused to be drawn on whether Australia will be troubled by the absence of all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who has been ruled out with a side strain. Mitchell Marsh has joined Australia’s World Cup squad as potential cover for Stoinis.
"I am not thinking about them, what they are thinking at the moment. I am thinking about my team, so we'll make good planning against them," he said.
Pakistan coped a humiliating seven-wicket defeat in their World Cup opener against West Indies but Sarfaraz and company made a stellar comeback in their second match to get the better of tournament favourites England. They shared a point with Sri Lanka after their third match got abandoned due to persistent rain.
With bad weather forecast for Taunton on Wednesday, Pakistan captain said his team are ready for a shortened match.
"Firstly, we can't control the weather. It's same for both teams. But if the match is short, definitely the planning is a change one," he concluded.
(With AFP inputs)