Jimmy Anderson: We should keep sledging - but be a bit smart about what we say

'It's something that's gone on for years and years – but, of course, there's a line'

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The Independent Online

England and Australia are getting used to angry verbal exchanges on the field, but beyond the boundary rope yesterday the fast bowler James Anderson and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin both argued against drastic measures to curb sledging ahead of their Tri-Series encounter here tomorrow.

Neither player is known as shy and retiring, and they sought to play down the growing concerns over on-field conduct. Relations between India and Australia have been particularly strained of late, with repeat offender David Warner fined 50 per cent of his match fee for his part in an altercation with Rohit Sharma last weekend, during which he told the Indian to “speak English”.

Martin Crowe, the former New Zealand captain, has proposed a football-style system of yellow and red cards, while the BBC cricket correspondent, Jonathan Agnew, upbraided the Australians for failing to uphold higher standards following Phillip Hughes’ death.

England batsman Joe Root, who was punched in a nightclub by Warner before the 2013 summer Ashes, gave tentative backing to Crowe’s suggestion earlier this week. But Anderson, who clashed with Australia’s captain, Michael Clarke, during the Ashes series last winter, suggested standards had not deteriorated appreciably.

“I don’t think at the moment there is any more sledging than there’s been in the history of cricket – it’s something that’s gone on for years and years,” the England paceman said. “There’s a spotlight on it a little bit more, with stump mics and lots of cameras on the ground. But, of course, there’s a line and I think all players are aware of that.

“I’m not sure about [a card system]. At the moment if you cross that line the umpires are within their rights to give either a fine or a ban. I don’t want to get fined or banned so I’m more than happy with that rather than cards.”

Anderson was cleared of a serious misconduct charge last summer following an incident with India’s Ravindra Jadeja in the Trent Bridge pavilion, thus avoiding a possible four-game ban. He has garnered a reputation for grumpiness, which some accuse him of allowing to spill over into abuse. But he added of the verbal interplay: “I don’t think it should disappear from the game. I think it’s quite entertaining when it’s done in the right manner.

“I think guys have got to use their heads a little bit and be a bit smart about what is said on the field, if anything is said at all. But you don’t want to take away the aggression from teams.”

Haddin, who was seen exchanging forthright opinions with Indian players during the recent Test series, was adamant that neither Australia nor Warner would be making major alterations to their behaviour.

“We know the brand of cricket we want to play and Davey’s no different to all of us,” he said. “We’re out there to compete. The umpires are there to do their job and they’ll adjudicate on anything they see that’s unfit and not in the spirit of the game.

“Every Australian team I’ve played in respects the game of cricket and respects the opposition. We’re pretty comfortable with the way we’re playing.”

Australia, who have won both their Tri-Series games, and England, fresh from thrashing India in Brisbane, meet at the Bellerive Oval here tomorrow.

England outcast Kevin Pietersen, who has used his Big Bash Twenty20 appearances Down Under as an opportunity to stake his claim for an unlikely recall with three half-centuries, did not enhance his chances when he was dismissed first ball in Melbourne Stars’ three-wicket win over Perth Scorchers yesterday.

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