England play dead bat to Shane Warne’s jibes

Bell and Root refuse to rise to legend’s latest bait and concentrate on Australia A game

Hobart

If only England had treated Shane Warne with such casual, lip-curling disdain when he was bowling, history might have been different. Or even offered a bat as dead as that they displayed yesterday.

As it is, his 708 Test wickets and readiness to have a word have granted him a status where he can shoot from the lip and regularly does. But the tourists, whose recent predecessors were invariably undone by his one-pace run-up and intimidating body language, saw him coming a mile off this time. Warne’s disparagement of more or less all things to do with the England team were greeted with a “There he goes again” refrain as they prepared to play Australia A tomorrow in their second, perhaps most significant practice match before the Ashes series begins.

It is hopeless for the purposes of those self-respecting observers trying to promote the phoney war but that is what England prefer. Ian Bell, whom Warne once dubbed “The Sherminator” after the geeky character in American Pie, could barely suppress a smirk. In fact, he didn’t.

“It’s quite funny at times and I’ve certainly learnt over time that there’s no point wasting energy trying to find compliments from Australians,” Bell said yesterday when informed of Warne’s latest piece of mischief.

“It’s just not going to happen. We could win 5-0 and still have negatives from Australia so I’m not going to waste any energy any more worrying about it and I don’t think the other lads will either. That’s how we feel. At the end of the day we’ve just got to go out and do what we do and look after the team and environment we have and go out and win.”

Warne does not bother sledging Bell these days, recognising that things have changed a bit, irrevocably so after the England batsman’s three hundreds in last summer’s Ashes series. But the latest, beautifully calculated tirade included a tilt at Alastair Cook’s captaincy and Joe Root’s position as opener.

According to Warne, Cook has to be more imaginative and, if he is not, England will lose the forthcoming  series, which starts on 21 November. “He lets the game drift, he waits for the game to come to him,” he said. Of Root Warne claimed: “I don’t think he’s an opener because his technique isn’t tight enough.”

Root did not rise to the bait. One Ashes series behind him and he knows how it works. “I don’t know why he said that. I think typically when they toured England they had a very distinct way of attacking us in the media and that’s one way they go about things – well, he goes about things,” he said.

“And that’s not for me to worry about I can only prepare for what I’m going to be doing and it would be wrong for me to look at things like that. I can only concentrate on my cricket.”

England’s reputation for being whingeing Poms has been built on sand for at least 20 years. Throughout the Nineties and Noughties, they took their beatings in Australia like men and now that they have the upper hand they are careful to be invariably polite and uninvolved. Off the pitch, at least, they are fastidious in avoiding sledging.

Butter not melting in his mouth, Root said: “I can only look to improve my technique and my game. I don’t know how things are going to pan out. I don’t think Shane Warne’s ever said a nice word about an England touring team so I think it would be wrong for me to listen to everything he says, but I’ll definitely be making sure I prepare well going into that first Test match.”

England’s young opener has another little local difficulty to face in the coming tour. His surname happens to be Australian slang for sexual intercourse and is thus a gift from the gods for would-be sledgers, whether in the crowd or the Australia team.

“That’s been mentioned a few times,” said Root. “I could get a bit of stick about that in the next few months and I’m quite looking forward to seeing what they come up with. It will be quite interesting.”

England really do need to improve their phoney-war tactics. Or maybe they have them just right.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor