Any amount of abuse, boos and creative-yet-insulting references to the sandpaper incident from the stands will fall to deaf ears during the World Cup as Australia’s then captain – and the man in the eye of the Newslands Test storm – has opted to not pay any attention to it.
Smith’s 12-month ban ended in March but Cricket Australia saw it fit to draft him back straight into the World Cup in England, where he’d encounter a lot of vocal detractors in the stands. “I just blank it out. They call it white noise. When I am out there I pay no attention to the crowd and just move on with playing the game,” Smith said.
The 29-year-old had to cop some of it on Saturday, when Australia faced England at the Rose Bowl in Southampton for a warm-up fixture. The top-order batsman shrugged off the loud criticism resonating in the form of boos in the stadium and scored a fine century in his team’s narrow victory. He later admitted he heard the crowd shout against him, but opted to concentrate solely on his task at hand.
“I heard a few things as I went out to bat, but it didn’t really get to me. I’m kind of just trying to keep my head down and move straight ahead and just do my job. Fortunately today I was able to score a few runs for the team and, more importantly, spend some time in the middle before our first game of the World Cup,” Smith said.
The ex-skipper has to maintain this head space for a long time now, considering Australia have an away Ashes series right after the World Cup – where, history suggests, the rivalry gets a lot more intense. On Saturday, the boos rang loud when he raised his bat upon getting to three figures, but it also came with applause from his dressing room, which he believes will spur him on.
“It doesn’t bother me, it’s just doing my job and I know that I’ve got the support of my team-mates up on the balcony and that’s the most important thing. If I can make them proud out in the middle and make Australians proud as much as I can well, that’s my job,” he added.Australia will play one more warm-up game – against Sri Lanka on Monday at the same venue – before beginning their tournament proper campaign against Afghanistan on June 1 in Bristol. Come June 25, there could be more vocal crowd criticism in store for him, when Australia face England at Lord’s.rabh Netravalkar (Guyana Amazon Warriors), Xavier Marshall (Jamaica Tallawahs), Aaron Jones (St Kitts & Nevis Patriots) and Hayden Walsh Jr (Barbados Tridents).death bowling, “I think every bowler needs to have the start, the middle and the end, be able to do it all. Some aren’t as good at stuff than other people but if you’re called upon, you need to step up and do whatever you’re asked to do.