LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s sports minister Nigel Adams has described the booing of Australian Steve Smith during the Ashes series as “distasteful” and says the batsman has served his punishment for his part in last year’s ball-tampering scandal.
Smith and David Warner served 12-month bans for their roles in the scandal during the test series in South Africa last year. Cameron Bancroft was banned for nine months.
Smith received a standing ovation for a fighting 92 at Lord’s despite being struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer – which ruled him out of the rest of the match due to delayed concussion – but there was also a smattering of boos.
“The vast majority of the Lord’s crowd were on their feet applauding Steve Smith after his innings but a small amount of booing from a tiny element of the crowd has made the news,” Adams told Sydney Morning Herald.
“It’s distasteful and we have to remember that the Aussie players who got themselves into trouble have been punished and done the time.
“Smith, in particular, is a brilliant batsman and whilst of course, I don’t want him getting too many runs … he’s mesmerising to watch and as genuine sports fans we should be applauding him, not jeering,” Adams added.
Australia, who won the opener at Edgbaston, lead the five-match series 1-0 after the second test ended in a draw. The third match begins on tomorrow at Headingley.