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Don't Swear Or Spit, Aussie Public Warn Cricketers

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

NZPA correspondent

Sydney, June 26 NZPA - Australia's cricketers have been sent the message loud and clear by their fans ahead of the Ashes series in England.

Don't sledge, swear or cheat. And, above all, don't spit.

Cricket Australia (CA) sent each contracted player the results of a survey which detailed how their fans perceive the side and each individual.

The results found their way into Brisbane's Courier-Mail newspaper and included four key guidelines for the players to take on board for next month's test series against the old enemy.

* Be strongly competitive without displaying visible aggression such as sledging.

* Be enthusiastic, optimistic and upbeat and avoid being too disappointed, despondent or abrupt with the media.

* Avoid spitting and swearing.

* Don't claim dropped catches.

How Australian players were perceived by their fans became an issue during the acrimonious home series against India in early 2008, which featured the Andrew Symonds-Harbhajan Singh `Monkeygate' saga.

Captain Ricky Ponting's on-field behaviour has also divided Australian fans.

The survey found that the Australian side collectively rated 8.17 out of 10 in terms of acceptability of their behaviour, compared to 8.47 last year.

Australian players scored between 5.67 and 8.42 on their behaviour rating which was below some of their admired compatriots, golfer Geoff Ogilvy (8.85) and swimmer Grant Hackett (8.91).

The lowest cricketer, however, was well above the lowest Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) players, who scored 2.74 and 3.47 respectively.

The players were informed that, as role models, cricket rated higher than all football codes but the AFL was closing the gap.

CA urged players to accept the importance of public feedback.

"Is this important ... yes," the Courier-Mail quoted from the letter.

"The public say they will stay away from sports they don't believe are good role models -- and so do sponsors."

The survey found that 81 percent of Australian cricketers were considered good role models, close to the 82 percent from last year.

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