Australian cricket player Steve Smith, escorted by police officers to a departure area at OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft are being sent home from South Africa for ball-tampering in the third Test in Cape Town. Photo: WP Media
Australian cricket player Steve Smith, escorted by police officers to a departure area at OR Tambo International airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft are being sent home from South Africa for ball-tampering in the third Test in Cape Town. Photo: WP Media

Smith takes English approach to South Africa challenge

Next month's tour of South Africa holds no fears for Steve Smith, with the former Aussie captain confident that returning to the scene of the sandpaper crime will not trigger a traumatic experience.

 

The Aussies are bracing for another media circus when the white-ball squad visits South Africa for the first time since the scandal that rocked world cricket in 2018.

 

Scrutiny will hit fever pitch when Smith and David Warner play at Cape Town in a Twenty20 on February 26.

 

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Steve Smith is escorted to Johannesbuerg airport back in 2018.
Steve Smith is escorted to Johannesbuerg airport back in 2018.

But Smith referenced his amazing Ashes series as evidence that he could thrive in the furnace.

 

"People thought England would be a challenge for me," Smith said.

 

"There was plenty going on there with boos and stuff, but I honestly just block it out. I don't really hear it.

 

"People can say or do whatever they like, if that's what they want to do that's fine.

 

"It doesn't bother me. I'm set in what I'm trying to do and stuck in my bubble and I black out all the noise and whatever is going on around me - whether it be good or bad.

 

"Just get rid of it and concentrate on what I need to do."

 

Smith pushed aside all the noise in England to produce an Ashes series for the ages.
Smith pushed aside all the noise in England to produce an Ashes series for the ages.

India captain Virat Kohli last week received the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for telling his fans to clap Smith - instead of booing him - during a World Cup match in London early in Smith's return.

 

"Good on him (Kohli). It was a nice gesture at The Oval," Smith said.

 

South Africa great Dale Steyn said that Smith and Warner should avoid any unsavoury treatment because his country's fans appreciate fine players.

 

"They might get a little bit of stick, a little bit of banter - but nothing over the top," Steyn said.

 

"You might get the odd d***head here and there, but that's what you get anywhere in the world."

 

But the Test series two years ago was already simmering with spite before it exploded in Cape Town.

 

Kagiso Rabada confronts Steve Smith on the tour in 2018.
Kagiso Rabada confronts Steve Smith on the tour in 2018.

Kagiso Rabada had a one-match suspension for shoulder charging Smith overturned, Nathan Lyon was fined for dropping the ball on AB de Villiers after running him out, while Warner had to be restrained by teammates when he and Quinton de Kock clashed in a stairwell.

 

Smith was unsure whether the sight of the Cape Town dressing room, pitch, team hotel and general surrounds would bring memories of the lowest point of his life flooding back.

 

"We'll cross that bridge when we get there, but I'm sure it'll all be fine," he said.

 

"I don't really have any stress about it at the moment."


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