The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Aussies debate future of sledging
- Cricket Australia is paying a lot of attention to on-field behaviour of its players

Melbourne: Australia’s desire to cut out sledging is a separate issue to the art of gamesmanship, World Cup hero Andrew Symonds said on Tuesday.

National ruling body Cricket Australia (CA) issued a statement on October 1 warning players they could face life bans if they breached a new code of conduct outlawing on-field sledging.

“What you won’t see is sledging. What you will see is gamesmanship,” Symonds, 28, said.

“At times you will see heated things said but hopefully it will be a bit more controlled,” added the Queensland allrounder, who scored 326 runs in this year’s World Cup including 143 not out against Pakistan and 91 not out in the semi-final against Sri Lanka.

“I don’t think there is that much that is said, it’s just that the cameras are right up close and see all your facial expressions. The boys just have to be a little bit more subtle when something is said. No one is condoning sledging.”

Australia Test captain Steve Waugh announced last week the players had written a new set of conduct guidelines themselves, included in CA’s Code of Behaviour, urging each other to cut out personal insults and accept umpiring decisions.

Incidents such as fast bowler Glenn McGrath’s angry exchange with West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan earlier this year will in future lead to the Australia player having explaining his actions to his teammates.

“We’ll try and work it out among ourselves to start with,” Waugh said. But Waugh’s deputy Ricky Ponting said he would continue to take the verbal fight to opponents.

“What’s wrong with saying (to an opponent) that he’s suspect against good bouncers or something'” the 70-Test veteran said.

Waugh’s top-ranked team has been heavily criticised in recent years for persistent on-field sledging and CA is determined to clean up their act.

Waugh’s side has thrived on gaining a psychological edge over opponents with some on-field chat, which the skipper has described as a policy of “mental disintegration”.

“We want emotion, we want passion ... banter is a part of the game. But now we know the standard expected of each other and hopefully (breaches) will be less and less,” Waugh said.

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