Australians won't back down: Harris
Photo Source: AAP
Their critics say it looks ugly and unnecessary for a team that is being well beaten but ex-Test fast bowler Ryan Harris says Australia are within their rights to sledge on their tour of South Africa.
Wicketkeeper Matthew Wade has been fined 25 per cent of his match fee by the International Cricket Council after a run-in with South Africa's Tabraiz Shamsi during the fourth one-day international at Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
The pair had a verbal stoush during Australia's underwhelming batting effort at St George's Park before Wade appeared to veer towards Shamsi while scampering for a single shortly afterwards.
Both players have been fined and received one demerit point from the ICC.
Under ICC regulatios if Shamsi and Wade reach four or more demerit points within a 24-month period, their demerit points will be converted into, at least, two suspension points which will equate to a ban.
Two suspension points equal a ban from one Test, two ODIs or two Twenty20 internationals, whatever comes first for the player.
The ICC said both players twice ignored umpires' instructions to stop verbally and "aggressively engage" with each other, displaying behaviour deemed contrary to the spirit of the game.
Wade's sledging towards South African players throughout the series has raised the ire of many local commentators and ex-players including former Test opener Kepler Wessels.
Wessels, who played for both Australia and the Proteas, says Australia's performances had made their on-field behaviour "embarrassing".
"There was a time when Australian teams used sledging cleverly as a strategy," Wessels said in a column for South African broadcaster SuperSport.
"The mindless babble that this group have resorted to is both embarrassing and totally ineffective."
But Harris said the Proteas give as good as they get and when players such as Shamsi are prepared to fire shots, the right thing for Australia to do is stand up to it regardless of the match situation.
"What I saw yesterday (Sunday) there was no contact, there was a few words," Harris said.
"That's cricket. That's life and that's how we play our game. It's obviously how he (Shamsi) plays it. We accept that and we accept what Wadey is going to do.
"If they want to throw stuff at us, obviously they're in front as well, but we're not going to stand back just because we're down.
"We have a lot of pride in our players, in our team and in our country so we're going to fight back."
The Proteas on Monday named uncapped Shamsi and another left-arm spinner in Keshav Maharaj in their squad for next month's three Test tour of Australia.
Harris says with matches in Perth, Hobart and Adelaide, Shamsi can't expect too much assistance from Australian pitches if he does make his debut during the series.
"He's going to find it tough because Adelaide doesn't spin much any more," he said.
"Perth - who knows what they'll play - the could go with four quicks.
"The guys weren't surprised when they saw him in the squad. He's obviously picked up some wickets in their first-class competition.
"He deserves his spot. He bowled very well yesterday, he's got every reason to be on that tour I guess.
"We've got to respect him, he's shown us what he can do."