Banter, sledging... but no abuse, says new Australian coach Justin Langer

Banter, sledging... but no abuse, says new Australian coach Justin Langer

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.

But Wednesday´s announcement by Cricket Australia will see Ponting joining forces with Langer, an old team-mate, again after the pair coached Australia´s Twenty20 team against Sri Lanka on home soil in 2017. But there's plenty of room for banter, or what we call sledging.

On whether Australia would cut their sledging after tempers flared between Warner and Quinton de Kock and Smith and Kagiso Rabada in South Africa, Langer said: "There is a difference between banter and abuse".

It was all said with a smile on the face, as Langer laid on a charm offensive to diffuse the tension that might have been anticipated - especially in what must surely have been the smallest room laid on for a press conference at Lord's since Michael Atherton faced the music after his own ball-tampering scandal in 1994.

Ricky Ponting, the former Australia captain, will join Langer's backroom staff next week but the coach said it was ultimately down to the players to make good on the team's new code of conduct. It's a fun part of the game! "Call it banter, sledging, whatever you want". She's pretty good at it, all Australians are good at it, we take it so seriously, but that's okay.

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"We certainly we won't be silent out in the field", Paine said.

Paine said his side will "pressure" the opposition "as we usually do". We know what's right and we know what's wrong. "That's okay that's part of the game, but I never abuse her and if she abuses me, that's trouble, you know?"

"It's up to me, Justin and the senior players to make sure we stay on the side of banter and never go to abuse". Paine described the upcoming one-day worldwide series is a chance to "show the cricketing world where we have made some changes", but then said that fixing the team culture did not need "huge changes", that it was just a matter of "crossing the Ts and dotting the Is on some things that had started to slip over a period of time". "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, mate". It's been happening for the last 30 years.

Back on semantics, Langer explained that "culture is the buzzword at the moment" but: "Cultures are just behaviours, so we've got make sure our behaviours are really good on and off the field, if you've got good behaviours then you've got good cultures, and an environment for all our young blokes to thrive and become as good players and as a good people as they can become". "They are written down, but unless you live them they're meaningless".

Australia will have three training sessions at Lord's before two warm-up games against Sussex and Middlesex at Hove and Lord's respectively before the first game of the series at the Kennington Oval in London on June 13.

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