Shane Warne says rivals using ball-tampering scandal to 'slam the boot' into Australia

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The cricketing world has not been kind to Australia in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal.

Australian spin legend Shane Warne has accused the country’s rivals of unfairly using the Test ball tampering controversy to kick the team when it is down.

Warne, advisor to Indian Premier League side the Rajasthan Royals, said the cheating scandal should be used as an opportunity for other cricket teams to reflect on their own conduct.

“It is very disappointing but I feel that this has given an opportunity to others to slam [the] boot into Australians without any reason,” Warner was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India news agency.

The 48-year-old said he would not defend the conduct of cricketers Steve Smith and David Warner, who have been removed from their leadership positions on the Australian team, and that he was “embarrassed” as any other Australian over the affair.

“[But] anyone who has been beaten by Australia, who don’t like the way the Australians play the game or they don’t like any individual in any country have taken the opportunity to take boots into the Australians,” he said in Jaipur.

“I think it is a great opportunity for every single country look into its own backyards and think [about] the way they want to play cricket.”

Smith and Warner have each been banned for a year by Australia and the IPL, keeping them out of contention for the Indian tournament, which starts this weekend.

Smith was slated to captain the Royals, who Warne led to the IPL title in 2008 during the competition’s inaugural season.

Warner was to have been captain at Sunrisers Hyderabad and led them to the title in 2016.

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Stand-in captain Tim Paine admits Australia have to change after scandal-hit tour of South Africa ends in defeat

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Tim Paine captained Australia after the suspensions to Steve Smith and David Warner.

Australia captain Tim Paine insists it is time for his side to change the way they play the game as they start to reform following the ball-tampering saga in South Africa.

Former captain Steve Smith and ex-vice captain Warner were suspended for 12 months and batsman Cameron Bancroft received a nine-month ban for their roles in using sandpaper on the ball during the third Test against South Africa. The trio were all sent home.

And coach Darren Lehmann will also step down after the 3-1 series defeat to the Proteas that was completed on Tuesday morning.

Vernon Philander bulldozed through their batting line-up on the final morning with figures of six for 21 as South Africa took less than 90 minutes to win by 492 runs on the final day.

“We’ve potentially had our head in the sand a little bit over the last 12 months (thinking) if we continue to win we can kind of act and behave how we like and the Australian public will be OK with that,” Paine said in quotes reported on Cricket Australia’s official website.

“What we’ve probably found out in the past month or so is that the Australian public and our fans don’t necessarily like the way we go about it.

“It’s pretty simple. We have to listen.

“We have to take it on board and we have to improve our behaviour in the way we play the game.

“I know the guys are certainly taking that on board and it’s something that we’re excited, again, to go forward and be able to do.

“I think it was probably evident in this match that we’d changed somewhat. That will continue to happen.

“We’ve obviously got a new coach coming in at some stage who would have huge say on how that is.

“But from my point of view, we’ve now got a fine line between being really respectful of opposition and the game and also being at a level that is really competitive as you should be in Test match cricket.

“It’s going to be a different style to what a lot of the guys have been used to, but I think we’ll find it pretty quickly.

“Once the new coach comes in and lays down the way he wants us to play as well, has his say on it, I think we’ll go for it straight away.”

South Africa captain Faf du Plessis believes it is a step in the right direction for Australia to reconsider how they carry themselves on the field.

“Obvious this Test match had a different feel to it, there was not as (much) competitiveness and other stuff as the other Test matches before it,” Du Plessis said.

“Their culture is something they’ve spoken about that they would like to change, and that’s good that they believe. If they’ve said it, it means it needs to change.

“Time will tell what sort of effect that will have on their dressing room.”

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Eoin Morgan to miss start of county season after thumb injury

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Eoin Morgan will miss the start of the Middlesex's season.

England limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan will miss the start of Middlesex’s season due to a fractured thumb, the club have announced.

The 31-year-old is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks after he was hit on his left thumb while batting in the nets last week.

Morgan will join opening batsman Nick Gubbins in the treatment room.

Gubbins is not expected to be fully fit until the end of April after sustaining a grade two hamstring strain in the recent North-South series in the Caribbean.

Middlesex are hopeful England paceman Steven Finn will prove his fitness for the start of the campaign having suffered a minor knee ligament strain on Pakistan Super League duty.

Morgan and Gubbins’ injuries, coupled with the unavailability of England batsman Dawid Malan, has forced Middlesex into signing Australia international Hilton Cartwright.

The batting all-rounder, who has played two Tests for his country, will be available for Middlesex’s opening County Championship matches later this month.

Managing director Angus Fraser said: “How much cricket he plays for Middlesex will depend on a number of factors – injuries, England decisions, and the form of players at the start of the season.”

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