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Smith and Warner can handle spotlight – Langer

David Warner Steve Smith - cropped

Australia coach Justin Langer backed Steve Smith and David Warner to deal with whatever is thrown at them at the Cricket World Cup and Ashes.

Smith and Warner were both named in Australia's 15-man squad for the Cricket World Cup, which begins in England on May 30.

The duo are set to make their international returns after being handed 12-month bans for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

Though that incident is likely to ensure the pair are targeted by opposition supporters, Langer said Smith and Warner can handle the criticism.

"I think there's going to be plenty of spotlight on the whole team," he told a news conference on Friday.

"Obviously the boys, they're big boys now and they've worked through a really tough 12 months, they'll be thicker-skinned for it. There's no real remedy for it.

"We know what we're going to get, we'll be ready for it, there'll be some personal and collective strategies in place so together we're moving in the right direction and doing what we love doing which is playing cricket and, World Cup and Ashes cricket, it doesn't get much better than that."

Langer dismissed any suggestions there was "tension" within his squad after the returns of Smith and Warner.

He also had a message for the pair, particularly with Australia also in England for the Ashes, which begins in August, recalling his own memories of the 'Barmy Army' after a Boxing Day Test in 2002.

"The biggest lesson of my sporting career. I got 250 at the Boxing Day Test match and just before stumps they were calling Brett Lee for chucking, they were calling him no-ball and I just got 250," Langer said.

"So I walked in, I think I'm Viv Richards, feeling I've got the gold chain and the chest out and like I'm the king of the world, 250, Boxing Day Test against England.

"I made one comment about the Barmy Army cos I was sticking up for Brett Lee. Well, then they started signing the song about the Seven Dwarfs. So, you don't mess with the Barmy Army, I'm not messing with the Barmy Army!

"We'll be friends and we'll be bantering and we'll be having some fun but I'm never messing with the Barmy Army."

Australia begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan in Bristol on June 1.

 
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Story first published: Friday, May 3, 2019, 12:00 [IST]
Other articles published on May 3, 2019
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