A “secret dossier” has emerged revealing Australia’s test cricket team plans to engage in “psychological” warfare with their opponents, South Africa, ahead of their battle for test cricket supremacy in Brisbane tomorrow.
Australian coach Mickey Arthur, formerly South Africa’s coach, has issued his fast bowlers with instructions to intimidate South Africa’s batsmen with verbal barrages and short-pitched bowling designed to unsettle their opponents.
The psychological plans will come as no surprise to South Africa who will be well aware of Australia’s penchant for dabbling in the “subtle” art of sledging.
Indian batsman Virat Kohli took a swipe at Australia’s sledging tactics during his side’s failed tour of Australia last summer claiming, “They sledge when they get frustrated. They were sledging the players so they could spoil our concentration. They went really, really low.”
Given the resounding victory of that series, Australia believes sledging tactics are winning tactics. Regaining world number one status requires a hard edge.
South Africa are no strangers to sledging either. Captain Graeme Smith once famously called an “absolute muppet” by England’s Kevin Pietersen for over-the-top comments directed his way.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting expects both teams to adopt similar strategies throughout the series.
“Whenever South Africa and Australia play, the rivalry and the way we go about our cricket is similar. Whether that means there’s words spoken or not, I don’t know. That stuff happens in the heat of battle.”
Smith applied his own heat to Australia before the series with reports claiming the Proteas would target Ponting in the first test. Ponting laughed off the bait saying, “I’ve had opposition teams trying to pick my technique apart for 20 years and I’ve managed to find a way to combat things most of the time.”
Graeme responded by declaring, “Our job is to go there and make sure that he doesn’t perform.”
In the “gentleman’s game” of cricket, the greatest advantage is perhaps leaving your manners at home. – Adam Kidd
Photo from Australian Cricket Team Facebook page