South African fans urged to treat Steve Smith and David Warner with respect

Ball-tampering scandal back in the spotlight as Australian batsmen return for limited overs tour

Australia's Steve Smith, left, along with David Warner attend a training session ahead of their first one-day international cricket match against India in Mumbai, India, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)
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South Africa's cricket chief has asked fans to treat Steve Smith and David Warner with respect when the Australian batsmen tour the country for the first time since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.

Smith and Warner incurred 12-month bans for their parts in the Cape Town Test ball-tampering saga and were jeered relentlessly by English crowds during the World Cup and the Ashes in England last year.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) interim chief executive Jacques Faul said fans who misbehave will be ejected from venues during the limited overs series, which starts with a Twenty20 in Johannesburg on Friday.

"I would plead with South African fans to respect our opponents and don't go overboard with these things," Faul said.

"It's competitive on the field, and we don't need it. Sport in general doesn't need that behaviour.

"We have a very strict policy in terms of fan behaviour and we will evacuate people but the damage will have been done."

Australia's 2018 tour of South Africa was tense on and off the field well before the incident at Newlands.

Animosity between opener Warner and South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock reached a flash point as the two got involved in a heated confrontation in front of their dressing rooms during the first Test in Durban.

Warner and his wife, Candice, were subsequently targeted by the crowds.

"What happened last time (in South Africa), the behaviour was unfortunate," said Faul, who stepped in as CEO in December following Thabang Moroe's suspension for alleged misconduct.

"It's embarrassing when it happens – for the stadium and the national federations.

"If there are best practices that we can learn from to prevent it we're happy to look at it."

Last month, England all-rounder Ben Stokes was fined by the International Cricket Council after a foul-mouthed row with a fan at the Wanderers during the fourth Test in Johannesburg.

Stokes said he had been subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd and apologised for his reaction.