Smith ready to 'play along and have fun' in face of South Africa hostility

Steve Smith says he has been given a warm welcome in South Africa, but is expecting hostility when he faces the Proteas.

Steve Smith

Australia batsman Steve Smith has returned to South Africa for the first time since the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.   -  Getty Images

Steve Smith plans to "play along and have fun" with South Africa fans who dish out hostility over an ill-fated 2018 tour that cost him the Australia captaincy.

Smith and David Warner were suspended for a year and Cameron Bancroft received a nine-month ban for their part in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal during the third Test against the Proteas almost two years ago.

Both Smith and Warner are back in South Africa for Twenty20 International and ODI series, starting with a contest in the shortest format at the Wanderers on Friday.

Former skipper Smith had to contend with plenty of jibes in England last year after serving his ban and is expecting more of the same over the coming weeks.

Read: Cummins gunning for key role with host at T20 World Cup

"They are hostile at the best of times here," Smith told reporters on Wednesday. "It doesn't bother me too much.

"Like [coach] Justin Langer said we had the dress rehearsal in England where there was a fair bit going on but I honestly don't notice it, particularly when I am batting. I don't really hear anything that's going on and I block it all out.

"Maybe a little bit when I am fielding. But then again it's just words, it doesn't affect me. I think I will be doing some outfielding so I'm looking forward to it. I will smile and laugh and play along and have fun."

Prolific batsman Smith may be braced for verbals while on the field, but revealed he has received a warm welcome off it.

He added: "It's nice to be back playing in South Africa. The last time I was here things didn't end overly well, but I've also got really fond memories of playing here.

"Just walking into the hotel in Sandton, initially I was like, ‘the last time I left here it wasn't pretty’. It wasn't the best time in my life. But I've moved on from that and learned a lot.

"I've been back playing for a year now. I’m really enjoying it and I feel like I’m playing well. I'm in a nice place.

"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."

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