LONDON – Australia one-day captain Aaron Finch said everything had been put in place to protect disgraced pair Steve Smith and David Warner during the World Cup in England.
Former skipper Smith and fellow star batsman Warner only returned to international duty earlier this month after completing one-year bans for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
There have long been concerns the players could be on the receiving end of crowd taunts during a lengthy tour of England, that also includes an Ashes series, although England all-rounder Moeen Ali has called for home fans to show restraint.
A report in the Daily Mirror newspaper on Thursday said Warner’s manager had sought security assurances from Cricket Australia, with the batsman’s wife wanting to give birth to their third child in Britain.
But Finch, speaking at a World Cup captains’ press conference in London on Thursday, a week before the tournament starts, was confident both Smith and Warner would be able to concentrate on their cricket.
“Since they’ve come back into the squad and the set-up the last couple of weeks, they’ve been fantastic,” said Finch, looking to lead Australia to a successful defence of the title they won on home soil four years ago.
“They’ve contributed as much as they can, and the morale has been unbelievable.
“Once the World Cup gets under way and you start getting into the tournament, probably the game against England, and then further on the Ashes, there’s no doubt the crowd will start to play a bit of a part, but that’s expected.
Steve Smith made 76 from 82 balls as defending world champions Australia prevailed against the West Indies in an unofficial #CWC19 clash at Hampshire.— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) May 22, 2019
Watch the highlights here 👀👇 pic.twitter.com/rOHceZpTVv
“No matter where you go, the fans play a big part.
“No doubt personally and as an organisation they’ve got things in place for that, but how they’ve been in the run-up to the tournament has been fantastic.”
England play Australia in a World Cup warm-up match in Southampton on Saturday.AFP