Australian cricketers want to be seen as “heroes” again, but captain Tim Paine admits the only way it’ll happen is if they act like it.
Paine and the rest of the ODI squad will depart for England on Monday night, hoping to restore the country’s battered reputation in Australia’s first international tour since the Test series in South Africa that was soured by the ball-tampering scandal.
Paine said new coach Justin Langer had spoken to them about the team’s values and made his behavioural expectations clear – it was now up to them to demonstrate it in the five-match series, which begins on June 13 at The Oval.
“The thing Justin said the other day is we want the Australian cricket team to be heroes of young kids in Australia,” Paine told reporters in Brisbane.
“We’ve had spirit of cricket documents, code of conduct documents, but at the end of the day they mean nothing if you don’t act on them and don’t live by them.”
Paine was confident they would strike a balance between being respectful, and being competitive enough to trouble England, the world’s No.1-ranked ODI team who beat them 4-1 in Australia earlier this year.
“We’re not going over there to make up the numbers or to be the nicest Australian cricket team to ever play against. We’re going there to win,” Paine said.
While Paine knows how he wants the team to play, what the team actually looks like is another question entirely.
The batting line-up will take on a new look with the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner while frontline bowlers Pat Cummins and Mitch Starc are both injured.
Paine has his own ideas about who should be picked but was yet to share them with Langer or the selectors.
However, it appears Glenn Maxwell will be central to Australia’s plans after a glowing endorsement from Paine.
“I think he’s, even at international level, an out-and-out matchwinner,” he said.
“If we can get Maxy playing in a role he’s really comfortable in and it compliments our team, he can be really important for us this series.
“I’m sure we’ll try a few different combinations in the practice games leading into the first game.”