ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Smith blocks out crowd 'white noise'
Star batsman focused on making Australians proud again as he continues impressive form ahead of World Cup tournament
Louis Cameron in Southampton
26 May 2019, 04:48 PM AEST
Steve Smith says the smattering of jeers that greeted his practice-match century against England were nothing but "white noise" and suggested he has another gear to reach in one-day cricket.
The former Australia captain fired another warning shot ahead of the World Cup and a reminder that he remains as dangerous as he was before his 12-month ban, stroking a chanceless 102-ball 116 in Australia's warm-up clash against England in Southampton.
Given he's in career-best physical fitness, it said plenty about how draining the knock was when he conceded he couldn't actually remember how he went out – a somewhat controversial caught-and-bowled call off the penultimate ball of Australia's innings.
Both he and David Warner were greeted by boos at various times during the day from the 11,540-strong Southampton crowd, though the hisses were largely drowned out by applause when Smith celebrated his hundred in subdued fashion.
"I heard a few things as I went out to bat, but it didn't really get to me," said Smith after Australia's 12-run win. "I'm just trying to keep my head down and move straight ahead and just do my job.
"It doesn't bother me. It's just doing my job and I know that I've got the support of my teammates up on the balcony and that's the most important thing.
"If I can make them proud out in the middle and make Australians proud as much as I can – well that's my job.
"Fortunately today I was able to score a few runs for the team and more importantly spend some time in the middle before our first game of the World Cup."
Asked how it felt to be labelled a "cheat" following last year's Cape Town scandal, Smith added: "I just blank it out.
"They call it white noise. When I am out there I pay no attention to the crowd and just move on with playing the game."
After some up-and-down form during his year away from international cricket, Smith finds himself in supreme touch leading into Australia's first World Cup game against Afghanistan in Bristol next Saturday.
Admittedly he's only played warm-up games since returning to the national team after his 12-month ban, but his numbers are ominous – dismissed just twice in his last four hits, he now has 372 runs at 186 across those matches.
A jaw-dropping scoop shot for six and an exquisite on-drive were the highlights of the innings, which featured eight boundaries and three sixes, all told.
Smith admitted his one-day international form before he was rubbed out of the game was not as good as he would have liked.
While he was the No.1 Test batsman at the time of his suspension, he'd in fact failed to pass fifty in his previous seven ODI innings before that, while his last ODI century came in January 2017.
"I was actually a little bit disappointed with my one-day form probably the last 18 months," he said.
"It was nice to spend a bit of time out in the middle today and the practice games that we've had so far I have felt really good.
"I'm not reading too much into it, they're just practice games at the moment. Hopefully I can keep this form for the real stuff … I am feeling good, I'm feeling calm at the crease and hitting the right balls I want to the boundary."
Given he has also been recovering from an elbow operation he underwent in January, question marks have lingered over how Smith would adapt back to international cricket physically.
While he's emphatically dismissed any notion that his recovery could affect his batting (or his bowling for that matter, having sent down a couple of overs without issue in Wednesday's match against West Indies), he said he's not quite at full capacity in the field yet.
"It's coming along pretty well," he said of his elbow. "I haven't been able to really test it yet throwing-wise.
"I'd say I'm probably at about 80 per cent throwing-wise. Hopefully it can progress a little bit further before the first game."
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
May 22: (warm-up) Australia beat West Indies by seven wickets
May 25: (warm-up) Australia beat England by 12 runs
May 27: (warm-up) Australia v Sri Lanka, Southampton
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE