Ponting says return of Smith, Warner will unsettle Australia

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2003 and 2007 World Cup winning Australia captain Ricky Ponting said Steve Smith and David Warner’s return to the national side could be “unsettling” for the Australia team during the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales.

Ponting, who will assist head coach Justin Langer during the World Cup, said Smith and Warner will have to be prepared for constant criticism from the hostile English crowd.

Their two-year ban for ball-tampering expires on March 28 and they will play for their respective teams in IPL 2019 starting on March 23.

“I don’t think it is much of a challenge internally around the players. You’d like to think that those guys are having conversations now, so they’re not leaving it to the last minute and just be exposed to this thing that could be derailing to a team,” Ponting was quoted as saying.

“I’m sure this would have been talked about at a higher level for a long time – how do we integrate them back in? How do they fit in? How is it all going to be seamless? But the hardest part for those guys is going to be the public perception of us, especially in England,” said the two-time World Cup winning captain.

With Smith and Warner’s return to the Australia side is expected to happen during the later phase of five-match ODI series against Pakistan the media will keep running behind Smith and Warner to monitor their return to international cricket.

“They’re coming back into a World Cup in the UK – they shouldn’t be expecting too many pats on the back over there. They’re going to cop it everywhere they go. They’ve got to know that, they’ve got to accept that and understand that.

“The team needs to as well because that could also be something that could be unsettling for a team.”

Australia go into the World Cup as defending champions but this time, they don’t go enter the tournament as outright favourites.

Ponting feels things could get a lot easier for Warner and Smith if they are amongst the runs.

“I think they are well equipped (to handle the scrutiny), but I think it could be a shock for them by the same token when they come back.

“They have to expect the absolute worst and then anything better than that is going to be a bonus for them. That would be the way I would approach it if I was them.

“But at the same time, the way they’ll integrate themselves back in quickly and have some of the public helping them out is for them to be scoring runs.

“If they’re scoring runs and the Australian cricket team is winning, it’ll be a whole lot easier. If it’s the other way around and they’re not scoring runs and the Australian team is losing, then it’s going to be hard,” he added.

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