Smith apologises for dissent charge

SYDNEY: Steven Smith fronted his Australian team-mates to apologise for drawing a dissent charge and fine in the Sheffield Shield as the captain Tim Paine reminded all members of the squad that they need to maintain standards of behaviour “regardless of who we’re playing for”, as they ramped up preparations for the Pakistan Test series.After a period of more than a year in which the Australian team had earned significant respect for improved behaviour, while being lauded by Cricket Australia’s board for making only one ICC code of conduct transgression — an audible obscenity by Adam Zampa during the World Cup — in 18 months since the Newlands scandal, standards have slipped this season with no fewer than eight code of conduct breaches being recorded across state, second XI and under-age tournaments.The pair of breaches in the last Shield around arrived from two of Australia’s most high-profile players.In addition to James Pattinson’s suspension for abusive language while playing for Victoria against Queensland, Smith was fined 25% of his match fee for obvious dissent when given out caught behind while playing for New South Wales against Western Australia at the SCG.At one of the team’s recurring “values” meetings, held at the start of every major assignment since Justin Langer was appointed coach, Smith told his team-mates he was sorry for raising the ire of officials and admitted he needed to improve his body language and conduct when dismissed.“I came in and apologised to the group yesterday for getting a code of conduct,” Smith said in Brisbane. “I don’t think there was a great deal in it but I’ve copped it and I have to look at when I get out and the way I sort of conduct myself. I know lots of kids watch me play and watch all of us play and the way we conduct ourselves when we get out as well as when we’re batting.“So we have to be very mindful of that and sometimes just bite the bullet and just conduct ourselves in, I guess, a better manner at times. Sometimes your emotions can get the better of you out on the field. We’re playing a game (where) everyone is trying to do their best and sometimes that happens.”Smith noted that, within reason, the place for letting out frustrations about a dismissal or decision disagreed with is within the dressing room itself, away not only from cameras but also spectators.“When you get behind closed doors, go for your life, do what you need to do to let your frustrations out,” he said.“Within reason — you probably don’t want to punch anything. Mitch Marsh can probably attest to that. We’re Australian players regardless of where we’re playing and what we’re doing. We sign up to values and in our contracts we’ve got a code of conduct there we have to play by. I got pinged and so be it. I felt I should apologise for that.”Paine said that greater consistency in behaviour across all levels of the game was something that all team members were clear about trying to achieve.

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