‘Play along with the crowd and have fun’ – Steven Smith on his return to South Africa

Steven Smith plans to “smile and laugh and play along and have fun,” with South African crowds over the next three weeks as returns to the scene of his ball-tampering offence. And he will have to start at the most hostile ground in the country.

Although the sandpaper gate had unfolded at Newlands, where Australia will play the last of the three T20s, the Wanderers in Johannesburg was where they lost the final Test in 2018, where Darren Lehmann resigned and the city out of which Smith was frogmarched by a police escort on his way home. It is also, as England have just experienced, where the crowd are unashamedly vocal against the opposition but Smith is prepared, and a little excited.

“They are hostile at the best of times here,” Smith said. “It doesn’t bother me too much. Like Justin (Langer) said we had the dress rehearsal in England where there was a fair bit going on but I honestly…

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