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Australia coach Langer calls on fans not to boo Smith and Warner

The five-time winners open their World Cup campaign against Bangladesh in Bristol on Saturday.

Australia coach Justin Langer has called on fans not to boo Steve Smith during the World Cup (Mark Kerton/PA)
Australia coach Justin Langer has called on fans not to boo Steve Smith during the World Cup (Mark Kerton/PA)

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 were greeted frostily at the Ageas Bowl during Australia’s World Cup warm-up victory over England on Saturday, their first appearance against the English since the end of their one-year bans for ball tampering.

To no great surprise, there were audible boos, jeers, and chants of “cheat”, but Langer has urged supporters not to repeat that behaviour during the tournament itself.

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Australia coach Justin Langer says he does not want to see any players booed during the World Cup (David Davies/PA)

“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 Bangladesh 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.

“I’m a dad and a lot of the time the kids see it. You feel for them personally and they are going to have thick skins.

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David Warner faces a fitness test before Australia’s first World Cup game (Mark Kerton/PA)

“But 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 Bangladesh if he passes a fitness test.

But the 32-year-old has been troubled by a sore glute which has restricted his movement in the field during practice sessions.

“Davy’s batting seems OK,” Langer said. “He’s running in straight lines OK, but running from side to side he’s getting a bit of pain.

“He’s desperate to play, jumping out of his skin, and his energy is up. But we’ve got to make sure we don’t aggravate it in a long tournament.

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Shaun Marsh is an option for Australia if Warner is not fit (Mark Kerton/PA)

“If he doesn’t make it, Shaun (Marsh) and Usman (Khawaja) will both play. If he does, then we’ve got to make a choice between Shaun and Usman, and that’s a really tough decision to make.”

The Australia squad arrived to train at the County Ground in Bristol on Thursday evening just as England were completing a 104-run victory over South Africa in the opening match of the tournament.

“They are a very good cricket team and they’ve sent out a statement,” said Langer, who had watched much of the action on television.

“People were saying ‘can they still play that aggressive in the World Cup?’ They’ve just done it against South Africa, but then they’ve shown they are the best the team for a long time.

“I said that the other day and people said ‘Langer’s playing the mind games’. I’m not. I’m just telling the truth.

“That’s a very strong start for them in the World Cup and I’m sure they are cock-a-hoop.”

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