Prior: England will not enter sledging contest

The Ashes and sledging go together like stumps and bails but England are seemingly determined to for once avoid any slanging match with Australia. Matt Prior, the visiting wicketkeeper, insists that if one-liners and wise-cracks rear their head over the next three months, they will come from the home team.

Prior's twin role either side of the stumps is sure to mean he finds himself regularly in the thick of the battle. He believes it is up to each batsman to work out how best to deal with any pointed remarks but makes it clear there is no intention on England's part to engage in verbal warfare.

"It's a very individual thing, hugely so, certainly from a batsman's point of view," he said. "Everyone has a different way of responding to it. That's for you to work out yourself."

With the ball in their hands, England believe catches held and runs stopped are far more effective in stifling the opposition than any unwarranted remarks.

"When we're in the field, I don't think sledging will be something we're going to go into any Test match looking to do. We will focus on building intensity through our skills, bowling and fielding well and taking our catches and creating a natural energy by buzzing around. I don't think we need to say too much or get into a war of words."

There has been plenty of instructive chat already, though, between those in the England squad – like Prior – on their first full tour of Australia, and those who have been here before.

Those previous expeditions brought no success – England's last attempt four years ago resulted in a humiliating 5-0 whitewash – but Prior senses they could be about to bear fruit in this campaign. "It's no different wherever you tour – you pull on the guys who have been there most and are the most experienced in the conditions," he said. "Coming into new conditions, you have to adapt as quickly as you can. One of the ways of doing that is by pulling on experienced players to find out what they went through and how they changed the way they play, if they needed to."

Prior is heartened by his first impressions of how to ply his trade Down Under. "I'm a bit nervous saying this. But Australia for a wicketkeeper is quite a nice place to come. There is carry on the wickets, and you stand a fair distance back. The main thing that is different to England is there is not that wobble you may get with the Dukes ball – especially at places like Lord's and Headingley, where it can make you look silly at times. But it still offers the same challenges: you have to get used to the heat again and make sure you're fit enough to give the energy you want as a wicketkeeper and the engine room of the fielding side."

Prior reports, too, that England are operating on the principle that it is just as important what they do off the field as on it. "Over the last 18 months, two years, this team has worked in a different way; we've worked very, very hard on the training ground and used that ethic of 'prepare hard, play easy'.

"In our hotel we're pretty relaxed, no one looks too uptight. But on the training ground and in the nets, that's the time to turn it on. That's when you can see the intensity turn up. You get confidence from your preparation."

22 days to the Ashes

Sir Leonard Hutton was 22-years-old when he scored 364 against Australia in 1938. England won the match by an innings and 579 runs; a Test record victory. He remains the only Englishman to hit a triple-century in the Ashes.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea