Dale Steyn tips banter but no ugliness for Australians on South African return


Warner and Smith were both booed when they played in England earlier this year, while some fans dressed up as pieces of sandpaper.

South African crowds came under fire earlier in the 2018 series when fans taunted Warner by donning masks of New Zealand rugby player Sonny Bill Williams, a reference to Warner’s wife Candice being involved in a liaison with Williams more than a decade earlier.

Embarrassing: Clive Eksteen and Altaaf Kazi posing with spectators wearing Sonny Bill Williams masks.

A pair of South African cricket officials were widely condemned during the series after they posed for a photo with fans wearing the Williams masks.

It is against a backdrop of such toxic history that Warner and Smith are poised to return to South African cricket grounds.

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However the legendary Steyn, who remains available for T20 international selection after retiring from Test cricket earlier this year, assuaged fears of ugly scenes early next year.

“They’ll be fine,” Steyn told the Sunday Age and Sun-Herald.

“Our crowds in South Africa, they appreciate good sports and yeah you know their might be a little bit of banter but they’re not ugly. That’s one thing about South Africans. They’ll be cool. There’ll be a bit of banter.”

Steyn said it wasn’t for him to discuss whether the bans dished out to the Australian trio were fair but said that he continued to thrive on playing against Australians.

“I just love playing against Aussies. I know them so well yeah. Through years and years of playing against Australia and IPL and other teams you get to hang out with these guys everything. I’m not gonna say that what the punishments that were handed down to them were harsh or not. Yeah, that’s not my position.

“But it doesn’t matter who’s playing for Australia, you can be playing against the Aussie A side, they are always a good team to play against. I’m so excited to have them coming back to South Africa. Warner, he’s when he’s in form, Steve Smith, Finchy [Aaron Finch], Maxi [Glenn Maxwell], you know, that’s who you want to be testing yourself against as a bowler so it’s gonna be fun.”

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