David Warner and Steve Smith will face cauldron of noise in first Ashes Test after sandpaper-gate at Edgbaston says former England cricket star Graeme Swann
- Graeme Swann believes Smith and Warner will be met with jeers at Edgbaston
- The shamed Australian pair were caught up in ‘sandpaper-gate’ last year
- Swann also believes pressure has mounted on England after the World Cup
Former England cricket star Graeme Swann believes shamed Australian pair Steve Smith and David Warner will be jeered by the Edgbaston crowd during the first Ashes test this week.
The duo were caught up in a storm following ‘sandpaper-gate’, in which Cameron Bancroft was spotted by television cameras attempting to rough up one side of the ball, in order to make it swing during flight, last year.
Smith, who had been the Aussies’ captain at the time, was sanctioned by their home nation along with vice-skipper Warner – and Swann believes the two will soon be met with an unforgiving atmosphere.
David Warner and Steve Smith will be met by a ‘raucous atmosphere’ at Edgbaston
‘This is one of the greatest rivalries in world sport, these two teams desperately want to beat each other and the crowd will get massively involved in that as well, just you wait for day one of this first test,’ Swann said.
‘Listen to the crowd and the singing which will be aimed at Steve Smith and David Warner, it will be raucous, but actually I predict the players in the middle will barely say a word.’
The ex-professional believes that Warner has now mellowed as a character, however.
He added: ‘I think David Warner has changed a lot since the sandpaper incident. During the World Cup he seemed to be keeping himself to himself.
‘He scored a lot of runs so maybe he’s realised that you don’t have to be an unpleasant individual to play well, because if he does play well then he’s a huge danger for England because he’s a brilliant player.’
Swann also admitted that expectation has heightened around the England team following their infamous, last-gasp success at the recent World Cup.
Former England star Swann believes the expectation on England at the Ashes is now ‘huge’
He said: ‘I don’t think having won the Cricket World Cup will help England particularly as the expectation is so huge now. I think Australia, because of that defeat at Edgbaston in the World Cup, come in as underdogs and they will enjoy that.
‘They’ll be looking to smash England off their perch and I think that makes Australia very dangerous.
‘The pressure in an Ashes series compared to any other series is ramped up 10-fold. The number of people on the ground when you’re warming up is insane, there’s suddenly 15 camera crews, people everywhere, barely a blade of grass to warm up on, in the press conferences the rooms are packed, you’re on every paper front page and back. It really is a massive deal but a brilliant one.’
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