‘Fans can do what they want’: Morgan on Warner, Smith being booed by crowd


Sparks have already started flying between Ashes rivals England and Australia ahead of their World Cup encounter at Lord’s on Tuesday.

Addressing the press on the eve of the match, England captain Eoin Morgan didn’t seem to mince his words when asked about how the fans would react to the return of David Warner and Steve Smith. The duo was involved in an ugly ball-tampering scandal in 2018 and is coming off a one-year suspension from international cricket.

Morgan said it will take time for the English fans to warm up to Warner and Smith and accept them back into the community. Both Australian players have been subjected to some heckling right from the practice games leading up to the main matches at some of the venues. In Australia’s match against India, Indian captain Virat Kohli signalled their fans at the ground to applaud Smith instead of booing him, a gesture that has earned him quite a lot of praise and respect. But, that’s clearly something the England captain doesn’t necessarily agree with.

“Spectators pay a lot of money,” Morgan said. “They can do what they want. You don’t know how sports fans will react. Just because two guys have been punished, served their punishment and returned to play, it doesn’t mean they will be accepted back into the cricket community straight away. It will take time.”

Despite the negative reactions from the English crowd, both Warner and Smith have gone on to perform for their team without being affected to a great extent. While Smith registered a ton in Australia’s practice match against England, Warner already has two hundreds in the main tournament.

Australia captain Aaron Finch has a different point of view, saying it won’t make much of a difference to the team and the players. He also added that the heckling and banter will, in fact, provided more motivation for his team to deliver their best on the field.

“As a player you don’t tend to hear what people say,” he said. “You hear the noise at times but not the specifics and I’m sure it will be the last thing on Steve or Davey’s mind when they walk out to bat. If a handful of people or the whole stadium is booing, it won’t make any difference to how hard they’re watching the ball or anything like that. It’s just a bit of white noise.”

“It hasn’t affected our boys one bit, I can honestly say that. If anything it has given them a bit more motivation.”

But there’s a high chance England will be forced to eat their words, once again. Before their match against Sri Lanka, a journalist asked captain Morgan if he thought Jofra Archer was the “surprise package” of the World Cup. Morgan, who probably didn’t understand the question said, “Surprise pick… Sri Lanka got about ten new members or something”. It was the Lankans who eventually had the last laugh, stunning the Englishmen with a 20-run win.