Steve Smith is back in South Africa, the birthplace of the infamous Sandpaper gate controversy. It’s been nearly two years since the ball-tampering scandal broke out but all eyes will be on the former skipper and his ex-deputy David Warner once the series begins.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Smith admitted that walking into the same hotel brought back memories from the past. He said:
"Walking into the hotel in Sandton, initially I was like, last time I left here it wasn't pretty, it wasn't the best time in my life. But I've moved on from that and learned a lot over the last two years and I'm moving forward."
During Australia's tour of England, the crowd put in their best efforts to undo Smith’s purple patch but in return, the unorthodox batter picked up a couple of centuries and also hit a double hundred.
Hoping to put in good performances for his team against the Proteas, Smith said he wouldn't let words affect him and is even looking forward to interacting with the crowd and have his fair share of fun with them. Here's what he had to say:
"They are hostile at the best of times here. It doesn't bother me too much. Like Justin (Langer) said we had the dress rehearsal in England where there was a fair bit going on but I honestly don't notice it, particularly when I am batting. I don't really hear anything that's going on and I block it all out. Maybe a little bit when I am fielding."
"But then again it's just words, it doesn't affect me. I think I will be doing some outfielding so I'm looking forward to it. I will smile and laugh and play along and have fun," he added.
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South Africa's current form is a tad shaky in spite of some fine performances in between. However, Smith feels the series will be a fiercely contested one.
The sides will face-off in the T20I opener in Johannesburg, followed by a game on Sunday in Port Elizabeth, and then move to Cape Town for the final match, followed by a three-match ODI series between the two sides.