Australia will not stay silent during their one-day series in England, the first tour since the ball-tampering scandal that rocked world cricket, captain Tim Paine said on Wednesday. Paine’s predecessor Steve Smith and his vice-captain David Warner were banned for a year and opener Cameron Bancroft for nine months after admitting to using sandpaper on the ball during the third test against South Africa in Cape Town in March.
The fallout from the incident included intense public scrutiny of the culture within the team and criticism of a perceived win-at-all-costs attitude and the use of sledging as a means to intimidate opponents. Paine and new coach Justin Langer told a news conference the Australians understood the difference between “abuse and banter” and that while there was no room for the former, they would still seek to pressure opponents.
“We want to be more respectful in the way we go about it,” Paine said. “We don’t think we’re going to change the way we play in a really competitive spirit. “Certainly, we’re not going to be silent out on the field, we’re going to be speaking…. But there’s got to be a respectful element to it. We know what’s right and we know what’s wrong.
“You’re going to hear us talking through the stump mic and see us talking on the ground.” Langer, who replaced Darren Lehmann as coach after he stepped down following the scandal, said the team were clear about their values. “Even if we were so nice, everyone’s going to still think we’re a bunch of rough-head Australians,” he added. “That’s just how it’s going to be.
“We’ll behave well on the field and off the field and we’ll still be called sledging Australians. It’s been happening for the last 30 years. “Call it banter, sledging, whatever you want. Everyone talks about sledging, but there’s a difference between banter and abuse. And abuse is no good.
“There’s no room for abuse anywhere, but there’s plenty of room for banter, or what we call sledging. It’s a fun part of the game. It is actually part of the game.” Australia play two warm-up matches before the first of five one-day internationals against England at The Oval on June 13.