Melbourne: Steve Smith and David Warner will be ready for whatever South African crowds throw at them when the Australia batsmen return to the nation two years after the ball-tampering scandal, paceman Josh Hazlewood has said. Steve Smith and David Warner will fly out with the Australia squad on Friday for a limited overs tour in the duo’s first visit to the country since serving 12-month bans for their parts in the tampering plot during the Cape Town Test. Steve Smith and David Warner were jeered relentlessly by English crowds during last year’s one-day World Cup and the following Ashes series, and Hazlewood said they would be unfazed by more hostility.”Steve and Dave have ticked off pretty much every box since coming back,” Hazlewood told reporters in Sydney on Thursday. “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.”Steve Smith had a wonderful Ashes while David Warner was in fine form in the 2019/20 home summer. (Image credit: Getty Images)Both Smith and Warner have thrived since returning to the national fold after their bans expired last March. Smith played a leading role in Australia’s retention of the Ashes while Warner was awarded the Allan Border Medal for the third time on Monday as the country’s top cricketer in 2019. Local media have reported that the head of the national players’ union will tour with the side in South Africa to offer extra support for the players. Hazlewood said Smith and Warner would not need to be shielded.Also Read | David Warner Says Getting Cricket Taken Away ‘Really Hurt’ In Emotional Allan Border Medal Speech”They’ll probably try to take as much heat as they can actually, try to keep the young guys out of the spotlight,” added the paceman. Hazlewood said engaging positively with fans was the best way to defuse them. “Join in and try to have a good time with them. Often when you do that, they end up being on your side after a couple of overs,” he said. “It is when you fight them that it becomes to and fro, and quite abusive. Ride the storm and go along with it.” For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen dismissed England counterpart Eddie Jones’ spying claims as a “clickbait distraction” ahead of Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final.Most leading nations keep their practice secret, with strict limits on who is allowed into the ground to ensure opponents can’t get inside information ahead of a game.Jones alleged Tuesday that an unknown cameraman had filmed them, but Hansen was quick to shrug that off.“Hell of a good bloke, very good coach,” a smiling Hansen said of Jones on Thursday.“Eddie and I both know it’s all fair in love and war.“And Eddie knows that in a time of war you throw out a bit of distraction for you guys (media) to deal with. It’s the best clickbait in the world: someone is spying on us.”Hansen added that Jones had not pointed the finger at the All Blacks.“He didn’t say it was us. He was very deliberate in not doing that. He talked about it being someone else, probably the same bloke who videoed us when we were there,” he said.“But everyone has jumped on it and got the clickbait going.“It’s a mind game only if you buy into it. It’s allowed us to have a good laugh. We’re not buying into it.”Hansen admitted Jones had contacted him — but not to discuss spying.“He has been in touch with me but not about those claims,” he said. “We have had a few laughs about other things.”Hansen added that the All Blacks had it all to do in Yokohama against an England side he said had been a “marvellous team in periods in the last four years”.“We are really looking forward to playing them, as are they us. These are the moments the players and staff want to be involved in — the big games.“Viewers can get excited about it and hopefully the game can live up to the hype and expectations so we can send our message around the world.”While the All Blacks are double defending champions, having won the World Cup in 2015 and 2011, Hansen warned against the mindset of 2007, when, as massive favourites, New Zealand were toppled by France in the quarter-finals.“Sometimes people will come off the euphoria of winning the quarter-final and start looking ahead to the final,” he said.“That is a mistake we have made in the past. We may have even done it in 2007 looking beyond the quarter-final. If you start looking beyond where we’re at then your mind isn’t where your feet are and that makes you vulnerable.”For more sport your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.
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