Australia skipper, Tim Paine, in action against South Africa during the fourth and final Test of the scandal-hit series. Photo: REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

SYDNEY - Tim Paine, who took over as captain of Australia under difficult circumstances in South Africa, has reiterated the team needs to change the way they play their cricket and that sledging needs to be cut back.

Asked if sledging will remain a part of the Australian game in the aftermath of the ball-tampering incident in the Cape Town Test, which led to suspensions on Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, Paine said, “No, I don't think it will, not a lot.”

Elaborating, Australia’s 46th Test captain said: “I think there's always a time and a place to talk to your opposition, but I think what's said and how it's said will be very different going forward.

"A lot of this stuff we were actually starting to speak about under Steve already. A lot of the players had their head around the fact we needed to change the way we play. Some of those conversations were already being had.

“I'm really looking forward to playing that role and winning back the trust and respect of our fans and the Australian public first and foremost. That's a really exciting thing for our playing group.

“(Smith) is someone I'll certainly be speaking to quite closely about how we go about it and keeping him in the loop. Because we'd started to have these discussions a few months ago and Steve was keen for the team to start playing a different style. So for me it's about carrying that on.”

Part of Australia’s conduct on the field might also be dictated by the recommendations following the cultural review being carried out by Cricket Australia, which includes a player-driven process that will put in place a “charter that sets out standards of behaviour and expectations” of Australian players.

With Smith and Warner out of the picture till the end of March 2019, Bancroft out for the rest of 2018, and a new coach likely to come in following Darren Lehmann’s retirement, Australia must rebuild their team.  

“We'll have a new coach going forward, we're going to have some time off where guys can take stock and think about the way they want to play,” said Paine. 

“But certainly, playing international cricket you've got to be as competitive as you can be. But we've got to look at different ways of doing that and more respectful ways of putting opposition teams under the pump.

“Part of what we spoke about a lot is playing on skill, not emotion. I think in the last couple of years at times we've been a touch too emotional and got carried away on that side of the game. That's a small thing we can improve on.” 

African News Agency (ANA)

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