Sport Cricket Morgan backs fans’ right to boo Aussies

Morgan backs fans’ right to boo Aussies

England captain Eoin Morgan says it's up to the fans how they will welcome Steve Smith and David Warner. Photo: Getty
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England captain Eoin Morgan won’t copy Virat Kohli by telling fans to respect David Warner and Steve Smith, saying it’s up to fans to decide when they want to accept the pair.

Fan behaviour is again in a spotlight after England opener Jonny Bairstow accused Australia of hypocrisy on the matter in a newspaper column.

Warner and Smith will on Tuesday play their first official match against England since the ball-tampering scandal and 12-month bans, ahead of five Ashes Tests in August and September.

They were jeered throughout a warm-up match against the World Cup hosts in Southampton last month, with Smith even booed as he reached three figures.

The pair have been generally well received over the past fortnight though, with India captain Kohli even telling his own fans to cheer the former Australian captain and vice-captain.

But Morgan will not follow suit, saying fans are within their rights to voice their opinions about the pair.

“You don’t know how sports fans are going to react. I think they are entitled to have their own view,” Morgan said.

“Just because punishment was handed out and the two guys served their punishment, doesn’t mean they are going to be accepted back into the cricket community straightaway with open arms.

“It will take time.”

Tuesday’s crowd is expected to be slightly easier on the Australia pair than what’s anticipated for the majority of the Ashes.

The World Cup clash is at Lord’s, which generally hosts a more respectful crowd – particularly among the members.

The Barmy Army won’t on hand either, given tickets weren’t sold directly to the group for the World Cup.

In a column for The Times, Bairstow noted that former Australia coach Darren Lehmann had told crowds to “give it to” Stuart Broad in the 2013-14 Ashes in the “hope he cries” and “goes home”.

He claimed that was at odds with Justin Langer’s pre-tournament pleas for Smith and Warner to be treated as human beings by crowds.

“I’m sure it was not meant maliciously (by Lehmann in 2013) but for Australians then to say ‘do not boo these guys’ is interesting,” Bairstow wrote.

“It has to work both ways, it can’t just all be one way.”

Meanwhile Australia’s players remain undeterred by the situation, with Warner having hit two centuries and Smith averaging above 40.

“It hasn’t affected our boys one bit, I can honestly say that if anything, it’s given them a bit more motivation,” captain Aaron Finch said.

“Whatever the public do, you’re not going to change it, whether someone comes out and says do or don’t … It’s just going to happen regardless.”