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Langer urges fans not to mock Smith and Warner
Australia News

Langer urges fans not to mock Smith and Warner

Australia head coach Justin Langer has made one last plea to English crowds ahead of the World Cup to treat Steve Smith and David Warner with respect during the forthcoming tournament.

The duo was banned by Cricket Australia (CA) for one year each after they were convicted of ball-tampering during the Test match at Cape Town last year. Following the completion of their respective bans, Warner and Smith made a return to the Australian side for the World Cup squad, playing an important role in the warm-up game victory over hosts England.

Both the players were victim to loud chants of 'cheat' and mocking jeers at the Rose Bowl, causing Langer to appeal to fans to not repeat such behaviour in the World Cup.

"You (the media) talk about earning respect, and I think it's really important that people show respect as well," Langer said before their tournament opener against Afghanistan at Bristol on Saturday.

"They made a mistake and paid a big price for it. After the experience of Hampshire, we have a pretty good idea what to expect. We've talked about it a lot and we can put strategies in place.

"That said, when it happens it doesn't make it any easier. They are human beings, that's the truth -- and that's what I find the hardest," he added, invoking empathy for the pair.

He said: "I'd be disappointed by any player being booed at any cricket ground, regardless of what country they play for. It's never a good look when that happens."

Warner's inclusion subject to fitness

Langer emphasized that Warner was the likely candidate to open the innings against Afghanistan, provided he is able to pass the fitness test.

The 32-year-old is currently struggling with a sore muscle, a problem that has aggravated during practice sessions.

"He was a bit sore on Wednesday," said Langer. "He's just a bit sore in his right glute. He is desperate to play, he'd love to play like all 15 players would.

"He's jumping out of his skin, his energy is up and he's laughing a lot, which is a good sign. He's really keen but we've got to make sure he can move, particularly in the field."

In case Warner recovers in time, the Australian management will have to choose between Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh to fill in the final slot in the top order.