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Australia vow to keep on sledging in wake of ball-tampering scandal

New captain Tim Paine has said the tourists will not be silent in the one-day series against England.

Justin Langer, left, and Tim Paine seek to kick-start a new era for Australia (John Walton/PA)
Justin Langer, left, and Tim Paine seek to kick-start a new era for Australia (John Walton/PA)

Australia have vowed to keep on sledging as they launch their first series since March’s ball-tampering scandal.

New captain Tim Paine pledged Australia “won’t be silent” in the five-match One Day International series with England.

Head coach Justin Langer insisted “sledging’s a good thing” – but promised he will not tolerate banter straying into abuse.

Justin Langer, left, and Tim Paine need to lift Australia following recent problems (John Walton/PA)

“The thing we’ve spoken about is the difference between abuse and banter,” said new skipper Paine.

“We won’t be silent. We’re going to be speaking, trying to put pressure on teams as we usually do. But we have to be respectful.

“I’m sure you’re going to hear us talking through the stump mic.

“But it’s up to me, Justin and the senior players to stay on the side of banter and never go to abuse.

“There’s no doubt our reputation took a bit of a battering. That was difficult for the players to come to terms with.

“Coming to England now with new faces, a new coach, just getting back into cricket is an opportunity for us to move on and show we’ve made a few changes.”

Captain Steve Smith and deputy skipper David Warner were banned for a year over the ball-tampering incident in the third Test against South Africa that shamed Australian cricket.

Cameron Bancroft – who doctored a ball with sandpaper amid South Africa’s 322-run win in Cape Town – was also banned for nine months by Cricket Australia.

Head coach Darren Lehmann also paid with his job over the furore, with Langer since installed as his replacement.

Langer promised Australia will not lose their edge despite changes in the wake of March’s shameful episode.

Australia must do without David Warner for their one-day international series against England (Jason O’Brien/PA)

He said: “In Australia sledging’s a good thing: if I play Uno with my daughter we sledge each other.

“If I play golf with my parents, we sledged each other. There’s a difference between banter and abuse. There’s no room for abuse anywhere.

“Even if we were so nice people would think we’re a bunch of hard-edged Australians.

“We’ll still be called sledging Australians, it’s been happening for the last 30 years. So we’ll cope with that.”

Former Australia batsman Ricky Ponting has joined Langer’s backroom staff for the England trip, as the tourists look to build a new era of more respectful conduct.

Australia will start their tour by facing Sussex at Hove on Thursday, with Langer admitting team bosses have committed a new code of conduct to paper.

But the 47-year-old former Test batsman also conceded Australia must now live up to those bold pronouncements.

“We have our values and our expectations, that’s really important,” said Langer.

“We’re really clear on certainly as the coach very clear as what our values, behaviours and expectations are.

“But I’ve said this for 25 years, we can have the fanciest mission statements, but if you don’t live them, they’re like toilet paper mate. They are written down, but unless you live them they’re meaningless.

“Culture is the buzz word at the moment. I remember Jonny Wilkinson getting interviewed by Michael Parkinson. He said without blinking, you are the changing room you walk into.

“We’ve just got to create the environment where it’s a great changing room. All culture is is behaviour. Make it good on and off the field. If we’ve got good behaviours, then we’ve got a good environment.”



From Belfast Telegraph