Ashes 2013-14: England must ignore Aussie jibes & strike back in Adelaide
Ashes 2013-14: Joel Lamy examines the war of words between Australia and England which have dominated the series so far
Sometimes you can come across a story in the media which seems so ridiculous that all you can do is laugh.
That day came at the start of England’s tour Down Under, when Shane Warne called England arrogant despite spending the whole summer predicting an Australian comeback in the series and criticising the England team.
We then had the Courier Mail calling Stuart Broad a cheat because he did not walk after edging a ball to the wicket-keeper in the first Test in England – much to the chagrin of all Australians.
As Alastair Cook’s men began their trip, they were greeted with an article from their chief-bater Malcolm Conn, who labelled them The Urinators (for relieving themselves on The Oval) and accused them of cheating for using dried pitches to benefit Graeme Swann.
The victors are said to write history, but having listened to the Australian camp and media, you would think this was the 1990s with the hapless English being easily swotted away series after series.
Lest we forget that, if not for a ludicrous ruling on the final day at The Oval, England would have been 4-0 winners this summer.
Ahead of the 2009 Ashes, Justin Langer handed over a dossier to captain Ricky Ponting which encouraged his former team-mate not to repeat the mistakes of 2005 when the tourists were seen as being too friendly towards their hosts.
It appears that the current crop have taken this message to heart, with players and media taking ever opportunity to thrown in a jibe at an England team who have won the last three Ashes series.
Darren Lehmann took over as Australian coach before this summer’s edition and went on the offensive following England’s series win, accusing Broad of cheating and urging his squad to send the bowler home in tears this winter.
Even if these comments were in jest, as he claims, they were not befitting a man in his position.
Of course, the sledging, on and off the field, was thrown under the microscope again following Jonathan Trott’s early Ashes exit due to a stress-related illness.
Just days earlier, Australia batsman David Warne had described Trott’s last innings of nine as “poor and weak” – the 27-year-old has since admitted he went too far with his comment.
If the noise coming from the Australian camp can be viewed as disrespectful, then the Brisbane Test has seen a whole new scale of antagonism.
Captain Michael Clarke was fined 20 per cent of his match fee for telling Jimmy Anderson “to get ready for a f***ing broken arm” ahead of another terrorising Mitchell Johnson spell.
Leaping to the defence of his former team-mate, Warne claimed on Twitter that Anderson had told Australian debutant George Bailey that he was going to punch him in the face.
The whole spectacle has become something of a farce and detracted from the series.
Most supporters enjoy a bit of needle between individuals and want to see a hard-fought contest, but not at the detriment of the action.
Admittedly, there was no need to fine Clarke for a comment just because it was the only one caught on the stump microphone, for which Channel 9 have apologised.
Swearing at opponents is something Australians have excelled at before (think Merv Hughes), and as long as comments are not completely off-limit and offensive, it seems unnecessary for the authorities to get involved.
And instead of getting caught up in the verbal war, England should ignore the classless Australian media, which even Warne labelled “horrific” and the “worst print media in the world”.
The lack of respect shown to a side who are second in the world is poor and reflects badly on the Australian media. It mirrors the talk which came from George Groves before his recent fight with reigning super-middleweight champion Carl Froch, a man with a far superior record.
In that fight, the underdog struck a huge blow in the first round before losing the contest. England fans will hope for a repeat over the next four Tests.