The ball-tampering fiasco might be in the past for David Warner and Steven Smith but the boos aren't. Batting for the first time in international cricket since the expiration of their one-year suspension, the duo were up against a Bristol crowd that seemed determined to pick up from where the kindred in Southampton left last week. If the warm-up game against England saw Steven Smith answer the boos with a hundred, it was Warner's turn in the game against Afghanistan.
The 32-year-old left-hander didn't look at his usual best to start with, but fought through difficult periods to finish unbeaten on 89 in a successful run-chase. Smith, on the other hand, made only 18 but remains crucial to Australia's run-scoring abilities.
Captain Aaron Finch began the ICC World Cup 2019 on a positive note with Australia humbling Afghanistan by seven wickets at the County Ground in Bristol on Saturday. If Australia do manage to defend the title and clinch a record sixth World Cup, it will be a massive feather on Finch’s hat, but assistant coach Brad Haddin believes that he cannot do it alone.
Steve Smith and David Warner, who have both held leadership roles before but were suspended in the aftermath of the ball-tampering scandal, return to the side after almost a year. Smith has been barred from holding any official leadership position until next year while an indefinite ban on leadership has been imposed on Warner.
“Aaron’s got a very good cricket brain first and foremost, but there’s always times in a game when you go to your senior players,” Haddin was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Monday.
They’ve got great cricket brains
Haddin stated that there are times when things get messed up and then it is important for the senior players to support the captain. He even mentioned that Finch would be silly if he did not make use of Smith and Warner’s great cricketing brains. The former wicket-keeper batsman noted that Smith’s really excited to be back batting in the middle.
“Sometimes you get caught up in the moment and you can miss little things, so it is important that all your senior players are there to support your captain. Smithy and Davey are no different. They’ve got great cricket brains so at certain times in matches you’d be silly not to use them,” Haddin mentioned.
“It’s never been an issue with the leadership or the captaincy. Both Steve and David are just really excited to be back playing international cricket. They’re just excited to be out there. Whatever role you give them they’ll be happy at the moment,” he concluded.