Langer hits back at ICC

Australian Test opener Justin Langer says sledging is part of the 'theatre' of cricket and has not damaged the spirit of the game.

Langer's comments come after the ICC warned Australia and South Africa to focus on their coming Test at the WACA and not on sledging each other in the lead-up.

The governing body warned both sides would risk disciplinary action if their verbal banter continued during the series, but Langer says sledging is simply part of the game.

"Muhammad Ali was the king of it, I think Glenn McGrath is the queen of it now ... making big statements," he told ABC Sport.

"But as I said, I think it's all part of the theatre and it should be taken all in fun."

"There's too many serious things going on in the world to worry about a few bits of banter about what's happening in cricket."

Team-mate Michael Hussey backed Langer's comments, saying he expects some 'friendly banter' in his maiden home Test.

"It's nothing new to any of the guys, we've had to handle it in the past and I'm sure the South Africans have had to handle it in the past," he said.

"At the end of the day what happens on the scoreboard really matters so I don't really worry about it at all."

Meanwhile, former Australia paceman Jeff Thompson has been more outspoken, described the ICC as a 'waste of space' in the wake of its warning.

"They ought to get their own house in order rather than worry about the players, the ICC do nothing," he told AAP.

"They do nothing about blokes chucking, they do nothing about all this other stuff, they are more worried about words, that is all they are, full of words the ICC."

"They always look like they are doing something but they do nothing. They are the biggest bulls***s in the world the ICC. What a waste of space."

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