Britain’s sports minister Nigel Adams has joined the Australian prime minister in criticising England fans for booing Steve Smith during the second Ashes Test, describing it as “distasteful”.
Smith was forced to step down from the Australia captaincy and was banned from international cricket for 12 months for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town last year. Since his arrival in England, Smith and compatriots David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, also returning from bans for their involvement in the sandpapergate incident, have been jeered by some quarters during the first and second Tests at Edgbaston and Lord’s.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 19, 2019
The No.4 batsman was hit on the neck by a nasty 92 mph bouncer from Jofra Archer when he was batting on 80 on day four of the second Test. He was forced to retire hurt but returned within the hour after clearing preliminary concussion tests, managing to add a further 12 runs to his total before being dismissed by Chris Woakes. Despite receiving a standing ovation from the majority of the Lord’s crowd, a number of boos were directed at Smith as he departed.
“The vast majority of the Lord’s crowd were on their feet applauding Steve Smith after his innings but a small amount of booing from a tiny element of the crowd has made the news,” Adams told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s distasteful and we have to remember that the Aussie players who got themselves into trouble have been punished and done the time.
“Smith, in particular, is a brilliant batsman and whilst of course, I don’t want him getting too many runs … he’s mesmerising to watch and as genuine sports fans we should be applauding him, not jeering.”
Adams’ outrage came a day after Australian prime minister Scott Morrison criticised the jeering fans, calling it “a total Ashes foul” and that “the crowd could learn a thing or two from Steve Smith”.
Australia lead the Ashes 1-0 going into the third Test at Headingley starting on Thursday, August 22, but will be without top run-scorer Smith, who has been ruled out having failed to recover from concussion.