SYDNEY (Reuters) - England cricket fans will see a better behaved Australian team during their limited overs series next month but that does not mean they can expect the World Cup holders to play with any less intensity, captain Tim Paine has said.
The side leave later on Monday for the series in England, where they can expect a hostile reaction after being embroiled in a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in late March. The sides will play five one-day matches and a Twenty20 international.
Paine and new coach Justin Langer have emphasized the importance of improving team culture and conduct, which has long been criticized as boorish and out of step with public expectations.
“Justin sat us down for a team meeting last week and spoke about the Australian cricket team’s values, and what he expects,” Paine told media in Brisbane on Monday.
“It’s nothing that’s brand new, nothing the guys haven’t heard before – it’s purely about acting on what we know is the right thing to do and the right way to play our cricket.
“That’s been a huge focus for us, has been around our actions, our behaviours and making sure we live up to the standards that the Australian cricket team should.
“We’ve had Spirit of Cricket documents, we’ve had Code of Conduct documents, but at the end of the day they mean nothing if you don’t act on them and you don’t live by them.”
Despite their desire to paint a different picture in England, Paine said the team were mindful they had been drubbed 4-1 earlier this year by Eoin Morgan’s side, who are looming as favourites for next year’s World Cup.
While Australia will be without batting mainstays Steve Smith and David Warner, who were suspended for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal, as well as injured fast bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, they are keen to send a message ahead of the global showpiece next year.
“We’re not going over there to make up the numbers or be the nicest Australian cricket team ever to play against,” the wicketkeeper said.
“We’re going to be really competitive, at the same time we’re going to be really respectful, but we’re going there to win.”
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford