Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 4th day November 24, 2013

Cook condemns "disrespectful" Warner


England's captain, Alastair Cook, has condemned David Warner's off-field implication that Jonathan Trott was afraid of the pace of Mitchell Johnson as "disrespectful" as Australia faced a barrage of post-match questions about their aggressive approach at the Gabba.

Australia's overwhelming victory was completed in a heated finale which necessitated the intervention of the umpires to calm things down with England's last pair at the crease. The stump mic picked up Australia's captain, Michael Clarke, telling James Anderson that he was about to have his arm broken, while George Bailey chimed in that Anderson was about to break his hand.

Clarke insisted that "mutual respect" between the teams remained off the field and that the sledging was nothing out of the ordinary, just good, tough cricket. "I cop as much as I give," Clarke said. "I have had a lot worse. There is not one person in the England team that we have a personal vendetta against.

"There is always banter on the field, especially when Australia and England are playing one another. They are two teams that always play tough, hard-fought cricket. There's plenty on the field that you don't hear on stump mic that's meant to stay on the field. Through my career I've heard a lot worse said on the field than any of the Australian players or England players said throughout this Test match.

"You don't get to No. 1 in the world like they have done without playing successful cricket over a long period of time. The respect is certainly there, the banter is no different to what I've experienced over my career. We all respect the game, the traditions and the history of the game, and Australia versus England has always been competitive no matter which team's won."

Cook suggested that back-to-back Ashes series made a rise in tensions almost inevitable, and shrugged it off, but his criticism of Warner's off-the-field remarks, although brief, was pointed and emphasised England's annoyance that Australia's verbal assaults are extending to public slights.

Warner, England's most pugnacious verbal adversary, claimed England's batsmen had "scared eyes", suggested Trott was "backing away" from the bowling of Mitchell Johnson and that his second innings dismissal was "was pretty poor and pretty weak".

That left England waiting to see if the ICC would impose its own regulations. Under the ICC's Code of Conduct (sections 2.1.7 and 2.2.3) players are not allowed to make any "public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to an incident occurring in an international match or any player, player support personnel, match official or team participating in any international match, irrespective of when such criticism or inappropriate comment is made."

While Warner's views might be seen as something to shrug off in most contexts, the rules of the Code of Conduct are uncompromising. They make it clear that "without limitation" players are not allowed to "publicly criticise" or "denigrate" a "player or team against which they have played in relation to incidents which occurred in an international match."

Cook was far more sanguine about the on-field exchanges. "On the pitch it's pretty much a war," he said. "There are always going to be a few words. That's the way people want to watch cricket being played: tough, hard cricket. On the pitch is fine."

The decision whether to charge Warner is in the hands of match referee Jeff Crowe. There is a widespread belief in the England camp about what they believe is a campaign of mental disintegration waged largely through the media and they clearly feel the boundaries of acceptable conduct have been stretched.

The newspaper campaign also continues unabated as Australia sense that their worst days might be behind them. After a few days of derogatory stories aimed at England's players which included calling Stuart Broad a cheat and Kevin Pietersen arrogant and unpopular, one Australian Sunday tabloid even had the audacity to suggest that their teams' wives and girlfriends were "hotter" than their counterparts.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chris_P on November 26, 2013, 9:33 GMT

    @strokemaker11 Answer to your question. I have seen both Lara & Richards sledge, Richards even inviting both Border & Rixon behind the change rooms after the days play. Tendulkar no, but he never shook hands with the opposition after losing, so you go figure that one out. Please don't insult our culture, Australians have won on the sporting field in nearly all events including Gold medals in summer AND winter Olympics. We have a history of sporting success, & you don't do that with your mouth.

  • Shaggy076 on November 26, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    Cook, Can you please explain how this is different to Anderson recently released book, sledging the Australian captain? If Warner is disrespectable do you consider Anderson disrespectful as well?

  • dummy4fb on November 26, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Warner is right, there is nothing bad about it. We do see fears in the eyes of many batsmen/bowlers when things are not going well for them.

    If you can't hide your emotions like MSD in the past you are going to get caught on camera.

  • zain29 on November 26, 2013, 6:15 GMT

    Having grown up in the Lillee, Roberts,Thomson era, I find there is absolutely nothing wrong with what Warner said. What he said was evident to everybody who was watching the game. Test cricket is serious business, and aggression is a very important part of it.

  • strokemaker11 on November 26, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    @Chris_P: Australians are the ones who start sledging. Have you ever seen Brian lara, Tendulkar, Richards sledging? - Australian cricketers lack sportsman spirit and try to overcome their weaknesses only by sledging and these days young Indian brigade have started giving it back. Why does everyone have problem with Watson and Warner? - Watson had problem with Pollard in IPL and with Dhawan in ODI series.

  • becham100 on November 26, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    I know KP is going to pull out a brilliant six hitting hundred from his bag and Mitch "wayward" Johnson is going to live up to his reputation. Let's hope both of these happen in the next test

  • Chris_P on November 26, 2013, 4:01 GMT

    @Sabyasachi Sahu. Huh? Watson was injured, who mocks injured or ill people? No double standards at all. I just hope Dhawan doesn't whine or cry when his turn comes.. that is if he is able enough to face the expected pace barrage. We'll see how reacts then, old chap, I would suggest, given his team mates efforts last time, not too well .

  • CricketLifer on November 26, 2013, 1:50 GMT

    Why is Cricket afraid of stopping sledging? It is unbelievable that after incident after incident there is still no stopping of this bullying practice. No other sport would allow such insulting, concentration breaking and completely indefensible practice. In other sports, there are immediate penalties, ejections and bans that can stretch from a few games to careers. This can surely not be described as Gentleman's game! What a shame!

  • Macker60 on November 26, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    Talk about calling the kettle black. I have some old copies of the English papers sent to me Australia media and Cricketer are Tame in compassion, Why is it that Australian always cop the rubbish for sledging when we win and England who are pretty good at don't. By the Way did anyone hear what the Barmy Army was saying to the Aussies.

  • ZenaBub on November 25, 2013, 21:47 GMT

    @ShutTheGate Obviously setting up a panel to decide who can sledge and who can't is not what I meant.

    My point was that a cricketer in his first test and another who was almost dropped for off feild discipline problems should probably watch what they say in terms of their performance.

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