Justin Langer has lauded the abilities of Steve Smith after his return to the Australia fold in readiness for the Cricket World Cup.
The former captain remains banned from leading Australia along with David Warner in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town last year.
But Langer is just pleased to have a player available who lives to bat in more ways than one; going so far as to shadow bat in the shower.
“He’s (Smith) literally a master of the game, so it’s nice to have him back,” Langer said.
“It’s been hilarious for me because whether on the Anzac Cove or in the lunch room or on the bus playing cards, he’s just shadow batting the whole time.
“He loves batting. He’s shadow batting on the sand, he’s shadow batting in the shower – I’m not joking.”
Ahead of an Ashes series against England this summer, Langer expects both Smith and Warner to be the subject of jibes from the stands once the World Cup commences.
“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 okay.
“What we can do is keep an eye on them and make sure they’re going okay as people as much as cricketers.
“It (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 Ageas Bowl will host England versus Australia in a Cricket World Cup warm-up match this Saturday.