Australia is embarking on a massive tour of England in the coming weeks. They will not only be defending their ICC Cricket World Cup crown but they will also be playing England in the five-match Ashes series which will be the first series in the new World Test Championship cycle. It is expected that the Australian players will get a hostile reception from the England fans which has always been the norm in their encounters. However, in this upcoming encounter, sparks might be expected to fly and the England public is sure to give the Australian cricket team a tough time.
The reason – The presence of players like Steve Smith and David Warner. Both the players were caught in the middle of the ball-tampering scandal in the Cape Town Test against South Africa and they were handed a one-year ban by Cricket Australia for their offense. Recently, the duo came back into the Australia team for the three-match warm-up series against New Zealand and Australia won the series 2-1.
However, before the team arrives in England, the English public has decided to give the Australian team a tough time. The Barmy Army, one of the famous England cricket fan clubs, released a photo of Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and David Warner wearing the Australian World Cup jersey on their official Twitter handle. Lyon and Starc were shown tossing sandpaper but on Warner’s jersey, the word ‘cheats’ was embossed and this created controversy.
The post has been ridiculed, with some criticising the Barmy Army for not focusing on Alex Hales’ suspension due to a drug test while also pointing out how Stuart Broad ‘cheated’ by not walking during the Ashes Test in Trent Bridge. Some pointed out England’s dismal record to Australia’s five World Cup wins.
Reacting to Barmy Army's online dig, Australia coach Justin Langer said his team won't be rattled by a hostile reception at the World Cup. "We're ready for it. If we're under siege the second we get off the plane, we're ready for it. The World Cup might be a bit different to start off, but certainly once the Ashes kicks off there will be plenty of commentary," Langer said.
Smith has been in fine form in the series against New Zealand, scoring two consecutive fifties while Warner was in magnificent form in the 2019 Indian Premier League for Sunrisers Hyderabad, scoring 692 runs at an average of close to 70.