Steve Smith continued his fine run of form heading into the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. In the three warm-up games against New Zealand and in the match against West Indies, Smith notched up scores of 22,89*,91* and 76. In the game against England, Smith blasted a century as Australia won by 12 runs against England in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 warm-up game. However, during the game, Smith was called ‘cheat’ by the England fans while David Warner was booed during his knock of 43. Smith and Warner were banned for a year following their role in the ball-tampering scandal during the Newlands Test against South Africa in March 2018.
The fall-out of the ball-tampering scandal has continued with both Smith and Warner expected to be given a hostile reception by the England fans during their entire stay in England. However, Smith said the boos did not affect him. “Everyone's entitled to their opinion and how they want to treat people. It's water off a duck's back and it doesn't bother me. I try to black it out. They call it 'white noise'. When I'm out in the middle I don't pay attention to the crowd or what they're saying,” Smith said.
Despite all the hostility, Smith said he felt good and had been welcomed back warmly by their teammates. On his current form, Smith said he did not read too much into it as they were all practice games.
“It's like we never left in a way. I know I've got the support of my team-mates up on the balcony and for me, that's the most important thing. If I can make them proud out in the middle and make Australians proud as much as I can then that's my job. I'm not reading too much into it, they are just practice games. Hopefully, I can keep this form for the real stuff. But I am feeling good, composed and calm at the crease. Any time you make a hundred for Australia it's a real honour,” Smith said.
England skipper Jos Buttler said Smith still remained one of the best batsmen in the world. “He's the same player. He was a class player 12 months ago and he still is. He hasn't forgotten. He's one of the world's best batsmen,” Buttler added.
Australia will take on Sri Lanka in their final warm-up game before their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 clash against Afghanistan at Bristol on June 1.