Michael Clarke says Australia 'won't win' being nice

Ishant Sharma

Former captain Michael Clarke has slammed attempts to improve Australian cricket's image in the wake of a cheating scandal, insisting the team "won't win a game" without its infamous abrasive attitude.

Michael Clarke has doubled down on his spray at the prominent sports journalist, Gerard Whateley, after the former Australian Test captain refuted criticism of his leadership, saying he would relish the opportunity to express his feelings to Whateley face-to-face.

Eddings takes on the role at a hard time for the game in Australia after last year's bitter pay dispute with the players was followed by a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March that rocked the sport. Du Plessis, who led the Proteas in three one-dayers against Australia, said there had been a marked change in their on-field behaviour and the baiting of opposition players had receded.

Test cricket returns to Australia but with two of their biggest stars missing the show. It's a special distinction that comes with an expectation they will represent us."Whateley bit back at Clarke's jab, claiming he didn't have the courage to play professional cricket."As for the courage to play ... it was a complete lack of ability but let's call it courage". Clearly Johannesburg was a really odd circumstance and a difficult game to play in for everyone I think, but going into Dubai the guys competed as hard as they could and they'll continue to, and we've got some more senior guys coming back now.

He also has faith his teammates can handle the pace and nous of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins. But what was made crystal clear by the dismal events in Cape Town last March is that there are standards of sportsmanship, ethics, discipline and maturity that simply have to be met with the full face of the bat, so to speak, and while being liked is desirable it's not really the issue. It was a sentiment that Paine agreed with, stating that part of the "tweaks" the team were trying to make was unlearning what had evolved into an unbecoming habit. "If that gets the best out of Warner, which I think it does, then you have to allow him to take it as far as you want and then say "rightio, back you come, pull your head in, that's enough". I personally think you have to go one day at a time. "Play tough Australian cricket".

While Australia have clearly toned down their sledging since a ball-tampering scandal broke, Coach Justin Langer and Test skipper Tim Paine have reiterated that the focus will not be on playing nice, but earning the respect of the public.

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Paine said he will allow his players to decide if they need to spur an individual contest or play the game without any verbal battles.

"He is feeling a bit sore and it has swollen up a little bit".

"It depends on the individual".

"But we now know the difference between what's right and what's wrong, and what's expected".

"If you think that the current No 1 team in the world in cricket right now puts being liked as of higher importance than being respected and playing to win inside the rules of our game than you're as delirious as you are ill-informed".

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