SOUTHAMPTON, August 26: Australia’s cricketers will be spared the taunts of England fans in the upcoming white-ball series between the two rivals because of the enforced absence of spectators amid the coronavirus pandemic. For Australia captain Aaron Finch, that’s a shame.
“It’s always good to have a crowd to entertain and the banter that comes from particularly English crowds is pretty special,” Finch said Wednesday in his first comments since the Australia squad arrived in England this week.
“Do they go over the top? Sometimes, maybe. But I think it’s all a great thing to be a part of, especially if you beat England over here. You know you have to overcome so much and on the field that accounts for a lot. It will be different but I don’t think it takes away from the intensity of the game, from our point of view.”
Batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner bore the brunt of the verbal abuse from English crowds during both the Ashes series and the Cricket World Cup last year, after their involvement in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018. They are both part of the travelling party of cricketers who are the first Australian national sports team to leave the country since the global pandemic began.
Australia is following the West Indies, Ireland and Pakistan in travelling to England for international games, and Finch said he has been watching them all back home.
“It’s obviously a little different with no crowds, but at the end of the day I think as a cricketer we probably play 95 percent of our games in front of not many people so I think that will be something we are quite used to,” Finch said with a grin in a video call.
“We played the game against New Zealand at the SCG, which was our last game, behind closed doors so I don’t think you need any extra motivation or any crowd to pump you up – not that we get it here in the UK, anyway.”
Australia hasn’t played a match since March 13, when the scheduled one-day series against New Zealand was abandoned. In England, the team will play three ODIs and three Twenty20 internationals in isolated environments.
Finch said he was “100 percent confident” about coming to England, as much for “the health of the global game” as anything else.
“We need cricket back up and running,” he said. “Our part as players is that we are doing everything we can, within the restrictions of international travel and following health authorities’ protocols and government restrictions. After seeing (the series so far in England), I think it put a lot of minds at ease that you can travel and you can lock down in a bio-bubble and make it all happen.”
Australia’s 21-man squad will take part in its first intra-squad 50-over game on Friday and will also have four T20 practice games before taking on England. (AP)