Moeen hopes fans don’t get personal with Smith and Warner

Australia

Moeen Ali has called on fans who will attend the 2019 World Cup in England to refrain from heckling the duo of Steven Smith and David Warner with personal barbs. Both men will be returning for Australia for the first time since they were banned for a year each in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal, but Moeen said he didn’t want fans to go after them too much because of that.

“I really hope they don’t get too much stick. I want them to enjoy the series,” Moeen told the Guardian. “If you have to, keep it funny, not personal. We all make mistakes. We are human beings and we have feelings. I know deep down they are probably really good people. I just hope they get treated decently. I just want the cricket to be spoken about.”

Moeen’s comments come two days after Australia coach Justin Langer had said both Smith and Warner would require sensitive monitoring and handling over the coming months.

“There’s not too many I’ve met in my life who like being booed or heckled or disliked so… they’re human beings,” Langer had said. “We’re going to have to care for them, we’re going to have to put an arm around them and make sure they’re going okay. But what people say, whether it’s in the crowd or social media or wherever, there’s nothing they can do about that, they can’t control it but what we can do is keep an eye on them and make sure they’re going okay as people as much as cricketers.”

Smith and Warner were part of Australia’s pre-World Cup camp, which included three practice matches against a New Zealand XI. Smith made 22, 89* and 91* in those games, while Warner mustered 39, 0 and 2. Both men played key parts in the recently concluded IPL 2019 for their respective franchises, though they had to leave the tournament early due to the Australia camp.

Warner was the leading run-scorer in the competition, amassing 692 runs in 12 innings for Sunrisers Hyderabad at an average of 69.20 and a strike rate of 143.86. Smith started slowly for Rajasthan Royals but upped his run-scoring significantly once he was made captain, ending with 319 runs overall in 10 innings at an average of 39.87 and a strike rate of 116.00.

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