Steve Smith (L) and David Warner return to South Africa after ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
Steve Smith (L) and David Warner return to South Africa after ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

Steve Smith returns to South Africa for the first time after the 2018 ball tampering scandal for Australia's limited overs tour of the country starting on February 21.

"It's nice to be back playing in South Africa," Smith told reporters on Wednesday. "The last time I was here things didn't end overly well, but I've also got really fond memories of playing here."

Smith and David Warner were sacked from their posts as captain and vice captain of the team in the fall out of the scandal that happened during Australia's Test series against South Africa.

"Just walking into the hotel in Sandton, initially I was like, 'the last time I left here it wasn't pretty'. It wasn't the best time in my life. But I've moved on from that and learned a lot.

"I've been back playing for a year now. I'm really enjoying it and I feel like I'm playing well. I'm in a nice place."

Smith and Warner served one-year bans from international cricket after that and have since made successful comebacks to the Australian team across formats. Smith said that the situation thus far in his current stay in Australia was not too different from his previous experiences.

"Everywhere I have been the people have been lovely. Guys have come up and taken some photos and been really nice," he said.

"It's been normal, the same as compared to when I've been here previously. It's a terrific place to tour and I'm glad to be back."

When asked about the potentially hostile crowds, Smith said, "I think they're hostile here at the best of times. It doesn't bother me too much. (Coach) Justin (Langer) said the other day that we had the dress rehearsal in England (last year). There was a fair bit going on there.

"I don't notice it, particularly when I'm batting. Maybe a little bit when I'm fielding, but then again, it's just words, it doesn't affect me. It's about getting on with the job."

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