As former captain Ricky Ponting warned Australia's former leaders of the hostility they will receive in England, David Warner's coach in the Indian Premier League expects the star batsman and Steve Smith to be given a warm welcome when they return to the big stage in India.
Though the pair were suspended from last year's competition in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody does not believe either player's imminent return to the IPL will even cause a "ripple" among rivals or fans.
Back in action: David Warner returns to the Indian Premier League for Sunrisers Hyderabad after missing last year’s tournament.Credit:AP
Though Warner and Smith have played in Twenty20 leagues during their 12-month ban, no domestic competition matches the glitz and glamour, or standard, of the IPL. Both men stand to earn $2.4 million to play in the seven-week event.
Under the terms of Cricket Australia's suspension, the star pair and Cameron Bancroft were not allowed to play in competitions run by the governing body but were free to play abroad.
Warner and Smith have played in leagues in Canada, Bangladesh and the Caribbean without controversy, which leads Moody to believe the upcoming tournament in India will be no different.
"I don't sense there will be a ripple," Moody said. "There was certainly no negative reaction or anything of that nature when I was with them in Bangladesh and the Caribbean.
"If anything, it'll be a positive welcome back onto the playing field.
"To be honest, I think everyone's over it and looking forward to seeing them in the middle. There are people who have done worse things in our game to tarnish the reputation than what's happened here."
Neither player will return as captain: Smith has been replaced by Ajinkya Rahane for the Rajasthan Royals, while New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson took over from Warner last year and will retain the role.
Moody downplayed the decision, saying the lack of clarity over Warner's availability was the key reason. Warner will be unavailable from May so he can attend a World Cup training camp at home, while there had also been a distinct possibility he would have missed the early stages of the IPL if picked for the Pakistan series in the UAE.
Moody has no concerns Warner, who starred in Sydney grade cricket for Randwick Petersham and was also in strong form in the Bangladesh Premier League before returning home for surgery, will fire in the IPL.
"I think he'll do well," Moody said. "One, he's a bloody good player and, two, he's determined and oozes class and has got a lot to prove."
Ponting said Warner, Smith and the Australian team needed to brace for a hostile reception from fans and media in England.
Ponting, who won the World Cup three times, including two as captain, will join Australia’s coaching staff for the title defence.
"They're coming back into a World Cup in the UK – they shouldn’t be expecting too many pats on the back over there," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
"They're going to cop it everywhere they go. They've got to know that, they've got to accept that and understand that.
"The team needs to as well, because that could also be something that could be unsettling for a team."
The star pair will meet up with the Australian one-day international side in the UAE on their weay to India. Vice-captain Alex Carey said it was a good time for them to rejoin the squad, albeit not in a playing capacity.
"I don't think there will be too many concerns of having those guys around the group," Carey said. "I'm looking forward to catching up with them."
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