Justin time: New Australian cricket era begins in earnest

After a tumultuous three months which has seen the departures of the captain and coach, and the resignation of the chief executive, the new era of Australian cricket starts on Wednesday in London when Tim Paine leads a severely depleted team onto the field against England.

It will not be so much as who is playing but who isn't in Australia's first match since the explosive tour of South Africa, which not only rewrote the careers of two of the country's best players but left the international reputation of the proud cricket nation in tatters.

Back in action: Australian players train at the Oval in preparation for Wednesday's first one-dayer.

Back in action: Australian players train at the Oval in preparation for Wednesday’s first one-dayer.

Changes have already taken place, with the prospect of more to come once Cricket Australia completes twin reviews into the national men's team and its own organisation.

This series was supposed to be Australia's dress rehearsal for next year's World Cup. Instead, it will be the on-field behaviour of the players, rather than their form with bat and ball, which will be most intensely scrutinised across the five games in the next week and a half.

Sledging is gone, new coach Justin Langer has said, replaced by what they term as "banter", which is chat without the abuse that defined Australia's behaviour during the Ashes and in South Africa.

This is Langer's first series in charge since his appointment as Darren Lehmann's replacement last month. Former captain Ricky Ponting is back in the fold as an assistant for this series.

Highlighting how much the landscape has changed in the past 10 weeks, there could be as few as two players – Paine and Shaun Marsh – from the Newlands XI featuring in the one-day international at The Oval.

Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft are into the third month of their bans. The Big Three of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are injured, so too all-rounder and possibly vice-captain in waiting Mitchell Marsh. Usman Khawaja cannot get a game and Nathan Lyon, though recalled into the 50-over setup, is not the preferred spinner in this format.

It's with the ball where Australia has been affected the most with the five quicks in the squad having played only 22 ODIs.

South Australia seamer Kane Richardson is the most seasoned campaigner with 15 appearances, Andrew Tye has four, Billy Stanlake two, Jhye Richardson one and Michael Neser is yet to debut. Barring injury, at most only two of them will be back in England next year for the World Cup defence.

It will be Paine's job to mentor the rookie attack against one of the most dynamic one-day batting outfits in the world.

"I'm a bit of a cricket nuffie so I am always talking cricket and trying to help my teammates," Paine said.

"We're lucky in England where we spend a lot of time on the bus together, so it is about making the most of those 40-minute drives every morning.

"I am making sure I am sitting with some of our younger quicks and younger teammates who I feel I haven't spoken to in a little while.

"I have spent a lot of time with them off the field and at training sessions and making sure that we are really clear so that when we get out on game day it is about keeping calm and executing what we've spoken about."

England suffered a shock loss to minnow Scotland on the weekend but will start this series warm favourites. Paine believes can work in his team's favour.

"With JL [Justin Langer] and the coaching staff setting a really good environment … it is really exciting for our young guys to come in and play against the number one ranked team in the world," Paine said.

"From what I have read, we are not expected to trouble them too much. So, it is a great experience for the young guys to come into it.

"I suppose from what has happened in South Africa, the silver lining is that probably our best five players aren’t here.

"So we get an automatic look at five players we wouldn’t have got a look at and we use that to build towards the World Cup in 12 months' time."

with AAP

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