• The Ashes

Lehmann rejects Ashes sledging summit

Daniel Brettig
November 26, 2013 « Root most likely solution for No. 3 | Chartbeat test »
Darren Lehmann said talks about Ashes sledging aren't necessary © Getty Images
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Australia coach Darren Lehmann has rejected suggestions of talks with England to set boundaries for acceptable sledging during the Ashes series.

His comments come a day after his counterpart Andy Flower said he would seriously consider a meeting in the aftermath of a heated Brisbane Test and Jonathan Trott's withdrawal from the tour.

While insisting it had nothing to do with Trott's departure due to a stress-related illness, England were unhappy about Australian batsman David Warner's public description of Trott's dismissals as "pretty weak".

Flower stressed the importance of "playing the game of cricket on the pitch" at the same time he expressed hope that Trott's exit would not become grist for the Ashes banter mill that chugged away incessantly at the Gabba.

"I'll have a think about it," Flower said at the press conference where Trott's departure was announced when asked if talks with Lehmann were necessary. "I think both sides must concentrate on playing the game of cricket on the pitch. In a competitive way but finding the right balance.

"I don't think Trott should be raised on the pitch. We're there to play cricket. A balance has got to be found on the pitch between competitiveness and not overstepping the line."

But Lehmann was not prepared to entertain thoughts of a meeting, saying that while he wished Trott well in his recovery, Flower's team had offered plenty to say to his players in Brisbane and also during the earlier Ashes encounter in England. Australia's players feel their aggressive attitude in the first Test had contributed to their victory and Lehmann seemed in no mood to dilute it.

"From my point of view, Andy looks after his side and I look after my side, that's what you do in the game of cricket. I played cricket with Andy at South Australia, I talk to him all the time, but at the end of the day, he's in control of the England cricket team and we've got to try and get the Ashes back,'' Lehmann said on the Adelaide radio station 5AA. "Trott has gone home and we hope he gets well soon. We do care about that but we're still going to play really hard cricket."

Warner avoided a sanction by both the ICC and Cricket Australia for his comments but has been counselled about his words by Lehmann and team management. He withdrew from a scheduled radio commitment in Sydney on Tuesday and his media appearances are expected to be minimal for the rest of the series.

The tourists were far less perturbed about Michael Clarke's threatening on-field words to conclude a confrontation between James Anderson and George Bailey in the final minutes of the first Test, even though their inadvertent broadcast by Channel Nine drew an ICC fine for Australia's captain.

"I was happy that 'Bails' gave him a bit back, that's part and parcel of the game. They're all grown men out there, they will work it out,'' Lehmann said. "I just know we copped a lot in England and we didn't shy away from that. That's what happens when you go away, so I don't see what the difference is from England to here. We're on the other end of it, that's just the way it goes. Both teams play hard and as long as it stays on the field I'm happy with that."

James Sutherland, the CA chief executive, has meanwhile offered his own message of support to Trott. "All the staff, management and players at Cricket Australia wish Jonathan Trott well," he said. "We hope to see him fit and healthy and back on the cricket field soon."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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