The over 130-year-old England vs Australia rivalry is a well-known entity in the cricketing fraternity. The oldest and most feisty clash in the world of cricket, the two sides have through the years traversed in bitter encounters, sparing no expense in outdoing each other on the cricket field.
And when the two sides took on each other at the Rose Bowl in Southampton in a warm-up game ahead of the 2019 World Cup, the narrative was no different. Stepping out to bat first in the warm-up match between the two countries, the English supporters inside the stadium left no stone unturned in making their views towards the tainted duo of Steve Smith and David Warner apparent.
Steve Smith, in particular, was singled out for special treatment by the boisterous support base of the host nation. Having recently returned to international cricket after serving a one year ban for partaking in the unsavoury act of ball tampering, Steve Smith was reserved the harshest of chants by the English.
It all begun when opener David Warner walked out to bat with the loud jeers for him clearly ringing throughout the expansive concourses. As reported by the BBC, one fan shouted “Get off Warner you cheat”, accompanied by the raucous cheers of disapproval for the Australian who was also banned after found guilty of indulging in the incident.
And it all resurfaced when Warner departed for 43, skying Liam Plunket towards the leg side, a miscued shot which only landed as far as the hands of Jonny Bairstow. There were rapturous cheers of approval at the dismal, only to be replaced by relentless jeering as Steve Smith walked out to replace Warner.
The BBC reported there were a few chants of “cheat, cheat, cheat,” directed at Steve Smith, unsparing and raucous, with the volume of the chants only increasing with each over Smith stayed at the crease. Smith eventually went onto reach his 100, before he was eventually dismissed for 116 after he holed out Tom Curran’s delivery straight into the bowlers’ hands.
The dismissal sparked a fresh set of chants with the English supporters. Australia eventually managed to put on 279-9 with a calamitous middle-order collapse seeing them fall short of 300.
The incidents though are only an example of what is in store for us when these two sides take on each other in the upcoming quadrennial event. The English supporters have previously stated that they have in store a set of 9 chants decided on to specially target Steve Smith and David Warner when they come out to play at the World Cup.
Also read - Cricket world cup prize moneyPublished 26 May 2019, 08:00 IST