Eoin Morgan agrees to Tim Paine request for team handshakes ahead of first ODI
The practice will only happen for Wednesday’s opening encounter of the five-match series.
Australia and England will shake hands before their one-day clash at the Oval in a bid to heal wounds from March’s ball-tampering scandal.
Touring captain Tim Paine has asked England counterpart Eoin Morgan if both sets of players can indulge in the football-style ritual, as part of the visitors’ charm offensive.
Morgan has agreed to the request, but the practice will only happen for Wednesday’s opening encounter of the five-match series.
“They don’t have to do it but it’s something we want to bring in at the start of a series, not before every game,” said Paine, of the handshake idea.
Captain Steve Smith and deputy Warner were banned for a year over the ball-tampering incident in March’s 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, with head coach Darren Lehmann also paying with his job.
Morgan confirmed England will agree to Australia’s request, with the hosts ready to help advance a positive view of the sport.
“I’m absolutely happy with that, it doesn’t bother me,” said Morgan.
“They are trying to turn around the image of the game in their country, and we’re all for that.
“We want cricket to be as popular as ever.”
Australia know they must build bridges across the cricketing world in order to repair reputations and trust.
New Australia coach Justin Langer has vowed his team will respect the line between banter and abuse in the series against England.
Former captain Adam Gilchrist has insisted it would be “business as usual” for Australia on the sledging front as soon as they come under pressure.
But new skipper Paine continues to insist Australia must prove they can turn over a new leaf, not just discuss it.
“I can’t talk about it any more to be honest, we’ve talked about what’s acceptable from our team and what people are saying from outside our team doesn’t really matter,” said Paine.
“Internally we know what’s right and what’s wrong, and that’s what counts.
“Again we’ve spoken about this a lot in the last few months; we are aware that words are just words. We’ll be judged solely on our actions going forward.
“It’s now about living our actions, we’ve spoken about internally about our values as a team and how we want to be perceived by the Australian public and by the cricket public in general.
“Words are words, come Wednesday, it’s time for us to act on those words and show it by actions.”