David Warner and Steve Smith are bracing themselves for "hostile" fan reaction on arrival back to South Africa for three ODIs and three T20Is, beginning February 21, two years after their involvement in the ball-tampering incident that shocked the cricket world.
The mishap at Cape Town saw Smith and Warner, the then Australian captain and his deputy, receive bans of a year each as they were sent home in disgrace for trying to alter the condition of the ball, which the Proteas and crowd in the rainbow nation, in particular, are expected to remind them about.
Warner, however, believes it wouldn't be as difficult to cope for him and his mate.
"For me personally, it won’t be hard at all," he told Sydney radio station 2GB. "I just go there and I’ve got a job to do and that’s to score runs and win games for Australia and put us in a good position. Obviously, it’s going to be very hostile."
“I copped it in England; I actually enjoyed that and played along with it. Hopefully, we’re showed some respect when we go over to Africa and the things that happen in the past stay there."
Even fast bowler Josh Hazlewood said there are no concerns regarding the crowd reaction in his team's dressing room. "Steve and Dave have ticked off pretty much every box since coming back," the pacer told reporters. "It’s just another one of those and I don’t think it’ll faze them one bit. They probably play better when it’s like this. It’s nothing we haven’t experienced before... we’ll be fine."
The tour, featuring three T20Is in Jo'burg (February 21), Port Elizabeth (February 23) and Cape Town (February 26), is an important part of Australia's preparation towards the T20 World Cup at home later this year.
"If you look at our squad selections over the last couple of months, it’s all been pretty consistent," said captain Aaron Finch.
"There hasn’t been a huge amount of risk-taking in our selections, so we’ve got confidence in the 14 guys in South Africa that potentially they can take us forward to the T20 World Cup."
(Inputs from PTI)