Scandal-hit Australia vow ‘hard but fair’ series against Pakistan

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Skipper Tim Paine vowed Australia will play “hard but fair” against Pakistan they embark on their first Test tour since a ball-tampering scandal and with fresh controversy raging following allegations by England’s Moeen Ali.

The squad jetted out late Wednesday for their first Test series since the ill-fated tour of South Africa early this year, which led to 12-month suspensions for Steve Smith and David Warner and triggered an outpouring of public anger.

Australia have five uncapped players in their squad for a tour in which they plan to adopt a more respectful culture and move away from the win-at-all-costs mentality blamed for the explosive ball-tampering row.

“The Australian way has always been to play hard and fair and that’ll be no different this series,” Paine told reporters before departing for the United Emirates.

“There’s always a lot of eyes on the Australian cricket team wherever we play, so that will be no different, and this team is really clear on what’s expected and our standards, and we’ll uphold them.”

Two reviews into the state of the game were set up in the aftermath of South Africa — one focusing on the culture within Cricket Australia and the other into the team.

While the team has had a shake-up and Darren Lehmann was replaced as coach by Justin Langer, they open the two-Test series days after further off-field problems emerged after Moeen said in his autobiography that an Australian player called him “Osama” during the 2015 Ashes.

Moeen, a practising Muslim, said he was on the receiving end of the slur, a reference to terror leader Osama bin Laden, from an unnamed opponent during his Ashes debut against in Cardiff.

Cricket Australia has launched an investigation, calling the comment “unacceptable”.

Australia will play its first Test against Pakistan in Dubai from October 7.

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