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AFP
August 19, 2019

Australia cricket union condemns boos after Smith felled by Archer

Sports

AFP
August 19, 2019

SYDNEY: Australia’s cricket union Sunday slammed fans at Lord’s for booing Steve Smith after he was felled by a bouncer from fast bowler Jofra Archer, saying the sport deserves better.

The star batsman collapsed face forward after a sickening blow to the side of the neck and head when on 80 during Australia’s first innings of the second Ashes Test against England on Saturday.

He was eventually able to walk off the field for concussion checks to a standing ovation after another gritty performance. But when he returned some fans booed him, mirroring the treatment he has received from sections of the crowd in England keen to remind him of his 12-month ban for ball-tampering.

The Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA), which represents players, said it was wrong to hurl abuse at an injured player.

“Cricket deserves much better than that. And Lord’s, the home of cricket, deserves much better than that also,” president Greg Dyer and chief executive Alistair Nicholson said in a joint statement.

“What we witnessed was bravery from an outstanding young man. It should be commended not vilified.” Several former Australian greats also condemned the behaviour with Ian Healy calling it “disgusting” while Mark Taylor said it was “very disappointing”.

While angry at Smith’s treatment by some fans, the ACA applauded the decision by medics to insist the 30-year-old leave the field for concussion checks, a protocol pushed by Australia following the death of Phillip Hughes in 2014. Hughes, a former team-mate of Smith’s, died after being hit by a bouncer in a domestic Sheffield Shield match.

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