Britain’s sports minister Nigel Adams has condemned England cricket fans who have been booing Australian batsman Steve Smith, calling their behaviour “distasteful” and saying it is time for the jeering to stop.
Smith and team-mates David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have been roundly heckled during the current Ashes series for their involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year, for which Smith and Warner received 12-month bans and Bancroft a nine-month suspension.
Adams on Monday joined a chorus of condemnation aimed in particular at England fans who booed Smith when he returned to the crease to resume batting after being felled by a Jofra Archer bouncer that struck him in the neck during the second Test at Lord’s on Saturday.
“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 the 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 while he’s over here, he’s mesmerising to watch and as genuine sports fans we should be applauding him, not jeering.”
Adams, a committed fan of the game and secretary of the Lord’s and Commons Cricket Club, echoed the comments of Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, who called Saturday’s booing of Smith a “total Ashes foul”.
Smith, who retired hurt suffering concussion before resuming his innings of 92, faces a battle to be cleared to play in the third Test starting at Headingley on Thursday.