Australian batsman David Warner says playing England is “war” and he plans to work up “hatred” for the tourists for extra motivation during the upcoming Ashes series.
During the first Test in Brisbane in 2013, Warner famously said England had “scared eyes” when facing Australia’s pace attack and he is firing similar salvoes ahead of their arrival later this month.
“The history, the pride that is at stake. As soon as you step on that line it’s war,” Warner told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation late Sunday, when asked what the Ashes meant to him.
“You try and get into a battle as quick as you can. I try and look in the opposition’s eye and work out how can I dislike this player, how can I get on top of him.
“You’ve got to find that spark in yourself to really take it to the opposition. You have to delve and dig deep into yourself to get some sort of hatred about them.”
Australia’s arch cricketing enemy, already reeling from a nightclub scandal involving star all-rounder Ben Stokes, face a hostile reception, with the pre-series talk starting to ratchet up.
Former captain Steve Waugh turned the screws last week, saying England can’t win without Stokes, whose position is in question after he was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm.
And fast bowler Mitchell Starc said if Stokes does make the trip he’ll be targeted, urging Australian fans “get stuck into” him.
Starc has also warned England to expect a repeat of the carnage of four years ago when Australia, fired by the fearsome pace of Mitchell Johnson, won 5-0.
Provided they are all fit, spearhead Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jackson Bird could form a formidable attack on Australia’s fast-paced home wickets.
“I can tell you now I’m very scared when it comes to the nets,” said Warner, pointing to the pace, bounce and aggression of the Australian attack.
“So hopefully they (England) are scared because it is challenging facing our guys.”
Coach Darren Lehmann joined in the verbal barrage when he said he can’t wait to see how brittle England’s batting might be when faced with Australia’s express pace.
“It’ll be interesting. They’ll have to cope with that, they know it’s coming. Our quicks have been saying that,” he told ABC.
“They (Starc and Cummins) can certainly enforce some problems… especially for their middle and lower order on the bouncy tracks. They didn’t like it last time.”
England, the Ashes holders, have lost two of their past three tours in Australia 5-0, either side of their 3-1 win in 2011.