The Australian public still holds disgraced cricket stars Steve Smith and David Warner in the highest regard, judging by the huge turnout at a grade game in Sydney when the two stars played against each other on Saturday.
Both players are serving a one-year ban following their involvement in the Sandpapergate scandal at Newlands that rocked the cricket world.
When local grade clubs Randwick Petersham welcomed guests Sutherland to their ground for a one-day match, the anticipated crowd of 2,000 to 3,000 swelled far higher as the locals thronged to offer their support to Smith and Warner in their first appearance together on a cricket field in Australia since the Newlands Test.
Randwick Petersham batted first, and Warner was caught early in the innings for 13, Austin Waugh – the son of former Aussie skipper Steve Waugh – the man to hold the catch.
Smith fared much better with the bat for Sutherland, scoring 48 off 71 balls, although the real winner seemed to be Australian cricket, as the match provided an early barometer of the Australian public’s positive attitude towards the disgraced duo.
Their year off cricket will undoubtedly have taken the edge off their performances, which is likely to seriously impact their chances of defending their World Cup title in 2019.
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