By Jock Strapp, Cricket Correspondent
Australian cricketers have taken secret lessons to improve their unsporting sledging techniques ahead of the Ashes series, the Suffolk Gazette can reveal.
Michael Clarke’s side spent two days at a countryside retreat near Woodbridge to learn new ways to wind up England’s plucky batsmen.
The cocky Australians are certain they will successfully defend the Ashes when the first test begins in Cardiff next Thursday.
And they reckon employing new sledging techniques, for which they have excelled in the past, will boost their chances even further.
Before playing Essex in a one-day warm-up this week, the Australian team stayed at the Gooday Barbey conference centre on the edge of Tunstall Forest to learn from leading sports psychologist Bruce Tinny.
He led each player through a new range of sledging techniques, including threats of physical injury to batsmen, posing questions about the opposition’s sexual ability, and asking if an opposing batsman “knew where your wife was”.
An insider at Gooday Barbey told the Suffolk Gazette: “The Australians were keen to learn as much as possible about modern-day-sledging techniques. They also drunk the bar dry of lager.
“Clearly they will be using their new knowledge against the poor England batsmen in the Ashes.
“But fair play always wins through, and I expect the England boys will win the Ashes back for the nation using only good sportsmanship.”
A spokesman for the Australian team refused to comment on the sledging seminar, adding only: “You’re about to get your head knocked off.”
Sledging has been used by crafty Aussies for decades. In the mid 1970s they were dubbed the Ugly Australians for tirades led by Rod Marsh and Ian Chappell against the opposition.
A few decades later, fast bowler Merv Hughes became famous for winding-up batsmen.