The Australians are ready to take on the South Africans in the three-match Test series with the first Test scheduled to start on the 3rd of November 2016 in Perth. However, former Australian cricketers Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin have warned the current crop of cricketers under Steven Smith to keep things civil between the two teams by trying to stay away from sledging.
Clarke and Smith have urged the Australians to not to repeat the mistake that they did while touring the South Africans in 2014. Both the cricketers were part of an epic Test series that saw the Aussies beat the Proteas, however, with some controversy involved.
The hosts were shocked by the Australian teams’ "personal abuse." They even refused to share a customary beer in the changing rooms after the third Test.
Speaking ahead of the Test series, Clarke advised the current Australian players not to force themselves into sledging. "You need to do what’s comfortable to you...if it doesn't suit your personality then I wouldn't try to be someone I’m not,” Clarke was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“I don’t think you should force it,” he said.
Clarke went on to say the though he liked to be aggressive during his stint as the Australian captain, he never expected the same from his players. However, the right-hand batsman mentioned that he should have restricted himself from taking a dig at the opposition at times. "There were a couple of occasions where I did open my big mouth. The reason I did that with James Anderson was to stick up for George Bailey and the Dale Steyn one was sticking up for James Pattinson as well," he said.
“But I shouldn't have said a word, in both situations, there was no need for me to say anything," he was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. Clarke went on to claim that over the course of his career he learnt that it was the performance that one needed to concentrate on and not the words.
Former Australian wicketkeeper-batsman Brad Haddin seemed to agree with Clarke's comments as he mentioned that trying to focus only on sledging in an attempt to distract the opposition may backfire at times. Talking to ESPNCricinfo he said, "Sometimes if you’re just focusing on talking and trying to get a reaction it can have a negative effect on your team."
With several players already indulging in a war of words, it remains to be seen who comes on top at the end of the series in terms of performance on the field.