'Face the fire': Smith, Warner offered support to cope with abuse

Steve Smith and David Warner will be offered additional emotional support from Cricket Australia as they prepare to make their international return in England.

Australian coach Justin Langer said the team had made the mental health of the pair a priority as they prepare to face what could be months of abuse from English cricket fans during the World Cup.

Langer said it was important to remember that Smith and Warner are ‘human’ as they return to top-flight cricket.

“What we’ve got to understand is that they’re human beings as well,” Langer said.

“There’s not too many I’ve met in my life who like being booed or heckled or disliked.

“We’re going to have to care for them, we’re going to have to put an arm around them and make sure they’re going ok.

Cricket Australia will provide extra emotional support for Steve Smith and David Warner as they return to international cricket. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

“(Crowd abuse) may heat up, but it won’t be any hotter than it was 12 months ago, so the boys are well prepared.

“We’re expecting to come here and to face the fire and we’re ready for that.”

The Aussies will play a practice game against the West Indies on Wednesday (AEST) as Langer looks to ensure the side is ready to make a push for the World Cup.

Australia has won four of the last five World Cups, dating back to 1999.

Barmy Army target Warner in sandpaper scandal sledge ahead of WC

While some might scoff at providing extra support for Smith and Warner, it is clearly something that needs to be provided.

The Barmy Army provided an early indication of how hard they were planning on going on the pair sharing a photoshopped image of Warner in his Australian gear with the world ‘cheat’ added to the front.

The Barmy Army’s social media account photoshopped ‘cheats’ on David Warner’s jersey. (Image: @englandsbarmyarmy)

The Barmy Army are referring to Warner and Smith’s 12-month bans for their roles in the sandpaper scandal.

Smith has been barred from holding leadership positions for a further 12 months, while Warner is no longer eligible to serve in any such role.