Former captain Ricky Ponting feels constant scrutiny of Steve Smith and David Warner following their comeback could be “unsettling” for the Australian team during the World Cup in the United Kingdom.
Ponting, who will be part of Australia’s support staff during the mega event, said Smith and Warner will have to be prepared for constant criticism from the UK crowd.
Their two-year ban for ball-tampering ends later this month and they will feature in the IPL beginning 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 told cricket.com.au .
“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.
Constant attention on Smith and Warner could affect the team during the World Cup, said Ponting.
“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 champion but this time, they don’t 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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