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Barmy Army starts targeting Australia team over ‘Sandpapergate’; ready for it, says Langer

In the World Cup, Australia will take on June 25 at the Lord's and after the mega event awaits thrilling Ashes for the under-pressure Oz.

David Warner
David Warner. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

While for the other nations, the upcoming ICC World Cup is about competing on the turf, for defending champions Australia, it is something more than that. Aaron Finch’s men will not only be setting foot on the soil of their arch-rivals England but also carry with them, the ghosts of the ‘Sandpapergate’ scandal of 2018 with them.

Two of their prime players – Steve Smith and David Warner – were banned for a year for their indulgence in tampering the ball in a Test match in South Africa on that occasion.

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England’s Barmy Army of supporters have already started targeting the Kangaroos with brutal posts on Twitter. In one image, Warner’s official World Cup portrait was doctored and the word ‘AUSTRALIA’ in front was replaced with ‘CHEATS’ to rekindle the ‘Sandpapergate’ humiliation. They also morphed the images of spinner Nathan Lyon and pacer Mitchell Starc showing them holding sandpapers.

While former captain Smith and his deputy Warner were handed a 12-month ban, newcomer Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months. Australian cricket had witnessed a turmoil with top brass including the national coach and board chief stepping down. In the upcoming World Cup, Australia will take on England at the Lord’s on June 25.

Australia will play England in Ashes right after the World Cup

What makes it even more challenging for Australia is that they play England in a high-pressure Ashes soon after the World Cup and it means they will be in for more missiles from the supporters of an in-form England.

Australia coach Justin Langer though is not too perturbed by such events. On Thursday, the former opener said they were ready for all the hostile reception they would face in England where they had won the World Cup in 1999.

“If we’re under siege the second we get off the plane, we’re ready for it. The World Cup might be a bit different to start off, but certainly once the Ashes kicks off there will be plenty of commentaries,” NDTV Sports cited reports quoting Langer as saying.

Warner though will be looking to respond with his bat which looked broad enough in the recently concluded Indian Premier League in which he finished as the top scorer by far despite not playing the entire tournament.

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