Clarke says Ashes will be played in right spirit
LONDON – Australian captain Michael Clarke believes the Ashes series against England starting next month will be played in the correct spirit, even if some players come close to crossing a line.
Personal abuse, or “sledging”, has often played a part in matches between the sport’s two oldest rivals but Clarke said he did not find the practice beneficial.
“For me, being sledged or sledging somebody else has never really helped me or affected me,” Clarke told a news conference after the tourists’ practice session at Watford on Sunday.
“If someone like (former Australian players) Shane Warne or Matthew Hayden or Steve Waugh feel they get benefit out of talking to a batter, that’s for them.
“I’m confident it will be played in the right spirit. Both teams will play hard.
“We respect that there’s a line you can’t cross. Both teams might head-butt that line but I’m confident we won’t overstep the mark.
“As captain, I’ll make sure I’m leading the way on that front and I’m confident the boys will follow.”
The Australians achieved a 5-0 whitewash over England in their home series in 2013-14 to regain the Ashes but Clarke believes this series will be closely contested.
“England are a team in form and are playing in conditions they’re accustomed to,” he said.
“We’ve got a huge challenge now in these five tests.”
The tourists play four-day warm-up matches against Kent, starting on Thursday, and then Essex, before the first test at Cardiff begins on July 8. –Reuters