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Sports

AFP
June 13, 2018

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England agree to handshake as Australia go on charm offensive

LONDON: Australia captain Tim Paine says his players will shake hands with their England rivals before Wednesday’s clash at The Oval as the tourists aim to heal the wounds of their recent ball-tampering scandal.

Paine is on a charm offensive following the revelations of Australian cheating on their tour of South Africa in March.Ahead of Australia’s One-day International meeting with England — their first competitive match since the scandal — Paine asked Eoin Morgan if the teams could have a pre-match handshake on the field.

England one-day captain Morgan has agreed to the request, but only for the opening game of the five-match series.“They don’t have to do it but it’s something we want to bring in at the start of a series, not before every game,” Paine said on Tuesday.

Australia skipper Steve Smith and his deputy David Warner were banned for a year over the ball-tampering incident in the third Test against South Africa, paving the way for Paine to take over the captaincy.

Cameron Bancroft, who doctored a ball with sandpaper during South Africa’s win in Cape Town, was also banned for nine months by Cricket Australia.Australia head coach Darren Lehmann lost his job after the shocking incident that rocked the sport.

Morgan confirmed England will agree to Australia’s request, with the hosts ready to help advance a positive view of the game after such a torrid period.“I’m absolutely happy with that, it doesn’t bother me,” Morgan said.“They are trying to turn around the image of the game in their country, and we’re all for that.

“We want cricket to be as popular as ever.”Australia know they must build bridges across the cricketing world in order to repair reputations and trust. Coach Justin Langer has vowed his team will respect the line between banter and abuse in the series against England.

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