London: England captain Andrew Strauss has advised his Australian counterpart Ricky Ponting that their usual Ashes mind games would be futile this time around.
“I’m aware of all the stories that have been circulating; the fact that one of our batting coaches, Dene Hills, will be leaving us to join Australia, the things John Buchanan has said about Kevin Pietersen being an individualist and other comments supposedly coming from Ricky Ponting about KP being the weak link,” the Daily Mail quoted Strauss, as saying.
“Our attitude is that it is all a load of old rubbish, the usual phoney war. This time we’ve built up the size of the challenge cricket-wise, but played down the other side of it.”
“Nothing actually matters until the first ball of the series, and one guy runs up to bowl at another guy. The rest is just words. We have to be prepared and focused for that, not what anyone might say or think before that, and I’m sure we will be,” he added.
Strauss is further convinced that the idea behind the recent team-bonding exercises in Germany would work out during the series.
“While Jimmy’s injury was unfortunate, the exercise was all about making people do things they would not normally do and not all of them were comfortable,” Strauss said.
“Somewhere down the line, we might have two guys at the crease in a tight spot who can say to each other, ‘Look, we’ve been in tougher situations than this and got through’, and that might just win us a match,” he added.
The first of the five Ashes Tests will be held at The Gabba in Brisbane from November 25 to 29.
It will be followed by Tests in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney.
The tour also has two Twenty20 clashes and a seven-match ODI series.