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Cricket

Smith anticipates hostile reception

19th February 2020, 15:45 by Simon Barlow

Steve Smith is anticipating a hostile reception at 'The Bull Ring' on his first trip to South Africa since the 'Sandpapergate' scandal.

The Australia batsman, who was stripped of the captaincy after the 2018 furore, says everyone has been "lovely" since he stepped off the plane in Johannesburg - but expects that to change when he walks out at The Wanderers on Friday.

The Baggy Greens take on the hosts in the first match of a three-game Twenty20 International series at a ground nicknamed 'The Bull Ring' because of its hostile atmosphere.

And trouble reared its head there again recently when England's Ben Stokes had an altercation with a fan last month.

"It's nice to be back playing in South Africa," said Smith who, alongside David Warner, was banned by Cricket Australia for a year after their involvement in an attempt to alter the state of the ball using sandpaper during a Test tour of the country in March 2018.

"The last time I was here things didn't end overly well, but I've also got really fond memories of playing here.

"Everywhere I have been the people have been lovely. Guys have come up and taken some photos and been really nice.

"It's been normal, the same as compared to when I've been here previously. It's a terrific place to tour and I'm glad to be back."

But he expects that to change once the games begin, especially at one of South Africa's most intimidating venues.

"I think they're hostile here at the best of times," he added.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Simon Barlow has a wealth of journalism experience and in-depth knowledge in a number of sports. As well as his extensive football knowledge, Simon is also well versed on cricket, tennis, American Football and cycling amongst others.

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