‘It will be very hostile’ – Two years after Sandpapergate, David Warner set for return to South Africa

Former Australia vice-captain David Warner, who was found guitly in the 2018 ball tampering scandal that rocked Cricket Australia, is set to return to South Africa this month. Australia are set to play three-match T20I series against the Proteas, and Warner, along with former Aussie captain Steve Smith, who was also found guilty in the sandpaper gate, have been named in the squad. The incident took place during Australia’s 3rd Test against South Africa The duo were handed a 12-month ban following the incident, and were stripped of leadership roles.

But now, returning to South Africa nearly two years after the incident, Warner opened up on his emotions ahead of the tour, and said that he expects a hostile environment. Speaking to Sydney radio station 2G, the left-hander said: “For me personally, it won’t be hard at all. “I just go there and I’ve got a job to do and that’s to score runs and win games for Australia and put us in a good position. Obviously, it’s going to be very hostile,” he said.

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The Aussie opener, who recently won the Allan Border medal for Australia’s cricketer of the year award, said that he faced a similar environment in England, but managed to handle it. “I copped it in England. I actually enjoyed that and played along with it.”

He further expressed hopes that people in South Africa show the Aussies respect and let the bygones be bygones. “Hopefully, we’re showed some respect when we go over to Africa and the things that happen in the past stay there,” Warner said.

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Aussie fast-bowler Josh Hazlewood, who has also been include in the T20I squad, further added that Smith and Warner are ready for the challenge. “Steve and Dave have ticked off pretty much every box since coming back. It’s just another one of those and I don’t think it’ll faze them one bit. They probably play better when it’s like this. It’s nothing we haven’t experienced before. We’ll be fine,” he said.

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