The remark from Michael Vaughan may have been tongue in cheek. However, there was an element of truth when England’s 2005 Ashes-winning captain warned that on-field verbals during this summer’s series against Australia could lead to physical violence.
Sledging is always a hot topic during Ashes series and Michael Clarke, Australia’s captain, ensured it would remain at the top of the agenda again over the coming weeks when, after just hours in the country, he stated that his side would stay true to their aggressive approach.
James Anderson picked up the theme on Wednesday, the leader of England’s bowling attack calling for an improvement in behaviour by both teams following the good-natured atmosphere during the recent series against New Zealand.
Vaughan, though, believes that plea will have little impact on an Australia team determined to win their first Ashes series in England since 2001.
“It’s not going to be like New Zealand I’m afraid,” said Vaughan. “It’s going to be heated. There is more pressure and I don’t think we are ever going to see an Australian team that don’t say anything. It is the way they play their cricket and I respect them for that.
“The last series in Australia was ridiculous and got out of hand. I think both teams will set out to play it the right way, but when it gets to day four and pressure time, something will explode, something will give, someone will say something and in the second, third and fourth Test matches someone will get punched won’t they?”
England, who are likely to have at least five Ashes debutants in their team for the first Test in Cardiff on Wednesday week, will have to find a way of dealing with any provocation.
“You have to have a mechanism in your mind to control that,” said Vaughan. “You’ve got to expect it, don’t play Australia thinking it is going to be quiet. It won’t be just one, it will be all 11 going at you.”
Jos Buttler, for whom Cardiff will offer a first taste of Ashes combat, is certainly prepared.
“I have played against Australia a few times in one-day cricket and I’m sure they will sledge,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman. “You prepare yourself for it, you know it’s going to happen and you deal with it the best you can.
“Emotions will run high in this series. Throughout the years we watch the Ashes there’s always a fierce competitiveness.
“For me, I want to focus on what I do – my batting and my wicketkeeping, and I have to focus on that and not get drawn into the stuff that doesn’t really matter.”
Despite that, Buttler, who alongside Vaughan was speaking at a Yorkshire Tea event to promote Chance to Shine’s National Cricket Week, is looking forward to his first series against Australia.
“I’m very excited but a bit nervous as well,” he said. “It’s going to be a huge challenge – the biggest of my career playing against the best side in the world. It is an amazing challenge.”Reuse content