David Warner and Steve Smith are in for a torrid time in England. Picture: Brett Costello
David Warner and Steve Smith are in for a torrid time in England. Picture: Brett Costello

Spinner Ali tells Barmy Army: play nice with Warner, Smith

STEVE Smith and David Warner can breathe a bit easier, with the Barmy Army set to follow English spinner Moeen Ali's advice and give the "cheating Aussies" a break.

Few abusive English cricket fans are expected to travel to Southampton for Saturday's Australia-England World Cup warm-up match.

The bulk of the sledging is set to be saved for later in the summer.

But while the Herald Sun has seen one Barmy Army song emailed between members that crosses personal boundaries for Warner, co-founder Paul Burnham said "sandpaper-gate" was so long ago it would not be in sharp focus next month.

"We only play you once in the World Cup and it's at Lord's (on June 25), so the Barmy Army don't get tickets there anyway," Burnham told the Herald Sun.

"As an ICC event there's not many of us there. I would guess the British public is going to give you guys a bit of stick.

Moeen Ali has warned The Barmy Army to not get personal in their sledging from the stands. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Moeen Ali has warned The Barmy Army to not get personal in their sledging from the stands. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

"But with all those teams in the World Cup, there's obviously a few things from the IPL where some of the Indian players will get a bit of stick.

"Whereas the Smith, Warner and (Cameron) Bancroft thing was over a year ago, so I guess it'll just be the normal rivalry between us guys.

"Maybe during the Ashes (it'll be different) - but not the World Cup. By the time the Ashes start at Edgbaston I'm sure you guys will get clever banter.

"It won't just be abusive. It will be trying to get under the skin a bit, but as you know the Ashes that's what it's all about."

Spinner Moeen Ali backed Australian coach Justin Langer's reminder that Smith and Warner were human and deserved to be treated with respect.

"I really hope they don't get too much stick," Ali told The Guardian in England.

"I want them to enjoy the (Ashes). If you have to, keep it funny, not personal.

"We all make mistakes. We are human beings and we have feelings. I know deep down they are probably really good people. I just hope they get treated decently. I just want the cricket to be spoken about."

Burnham said it was unrealistic to think Barmy Army fans would flock to Saturday's warm-up match with so much cricket ahead.

"You've got the South African tour, which is the second-biggest tour behind the Ashes, at the end of the year, and you've got England playing hopefully 10-11 World Cup games before the Ashes," he said.

"The Barmy Army tend to save up to go abroad, and that's not just money that's leave - 25 days annually.

"So games like The Rose Bowl (on Saturday), I don't think people will be travelling in large numbers because it's a warm-up game and they'll be saving their brownie points with the wife or the girlfriend to watch cricket.

"I'm sure there'll be some noise from the terraces but nothing you'd normally get anyway."

News Corp Australia


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