Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide December 4, 2013

Cook wants no repeat of 'ugly' Brisbane scenes


Alastair Cook has called upon both teams to "play the game in the right way" on the eve of the second Ashes Test.

Cook, the England captain, described the final moments of the first Test in Brisbane as "ugly" and admitted that Jeff Crowe, the ICC match referee, had met both captains separately to discuss the manner in which the match was played. Michael Clarke, the Australian captain, was fined 20% of his match fee after he was heard telling James Anderson to "get ready for a broken f****** arm" in the dying minutes of the game.

Now Cook has accepted that both he and Clarke have a responsibility to ensure that their sides do not overstep the mark.

"It's important that both sides recognise a couple of scenes in that last game weren't great for the game of cricket," Cook said. "I think both sides recognise that. It's important we play in the right way. People want to see real tough cricket, it's what they enjoy, especially between Australia and England, but there's got to be a boundary we don't cross.

"Maybe last week we let emotion get ahead of ourselves a little bit on some occasions and it became a little bit ugly. Michael and I have responsibility as captains to make sure that doesn't happen.

"Some of those scenes were ugly at the end of that game and we do have a duty to play the game in the right way. We want to play tough cricket just like Australia do but we have to make sure we stick to those boundaries and I bear a responsibility for that."

While Clarke was the man penalised by the ICC, Cook accepts that England were no less culpable for the atmosphere in which the game was played. And while he insisted that there should be no let-up in the intensity of such matches, he felt that both sides had to be careful not to let the emotion of the moment push them over the edge.

"We know the responsibility we have when we pull on the shirt," he said. "And no matter how much emotion there is in the game, we know how many are watching us and we know what responsibility we have to the game. Whether we got it right or wrong in that game I don't know but we have got to make sure we behave as appropriately as we can out there. There are always guidelines."

Cook did accept, however, that there were times when "sledging" could prove effective and admitted his own concentration had been disrupted at times.

"Anyone who says they've never been affected by sledging is lying," he said. "Something will always be said or done which will distract you for that split second. You might listen to it and get a little bit annoyed. The skill of it is how you handle the next ball. I don't think anyone will say they don't hear it or don't recognise it.

"It's not a tea party and nor should it be. People pay to see tough competitive cricket. People are wanting to see hard Test cricket. That's what people love about the Ashes or love about any competitive cricket.

"And it will be tough cricket here. It's going to be brilliant cricket over the next five days. We have to come back and prove we're a good side after the loss in Brisbane and obviously Australia want to keep us down, so I think it's going to be a great Test match."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shane-oh on December 5, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    @pat_one_back - in my defence, Cook isn't the only batsman who I would defend from unwarranted criticism. As a fan of the game, I believe in giving due respect to players who deliver on a regular basis. But there are always those willing to try and tear such players down when the team they support are playing against them.

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on December 5, 2013, 3:35 GMT


    Then how did trott play so well on the first day of that series when there were relatively less bouncers bowled??

  • Ross_Co on December 5, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    The right way must apparently include pitch doctoring & sending out runners to slow play to a crawl.

  • trumpoz on December 4, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    Wow - sledging. Get over it people. Things get said on the field - they have been for decades at international and local level. Anyone who thinks this is not part of the game is fooling themselves. It is - regardless of if you like it or not. It will never be stamped out - all teams use it from internation to local level.

  • ShutTheGate on December 4, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    Clarke should strike a deal with Cook.

    The Aussie will agree to not cross the imaginary line if Cook agrees to not go out there and occupy the crease without trying to score runs.

    As good as a batsmen as Cook is he can be so boring to watch when he gets in one of those moods. The first innings at the Oval earlier this year for example.

  • pat_one_back on December 4, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    @Shane-oh, recent form is the Ashes! Forgive me for being blinkered by a need for relevance, clearly the world looks different through Cookie coloured glasses and we'll have to agree to disagree.

  • wapuser on December 4, 2013, 19:57 GMT

    Warren everyone in the world knows the Aussies are poor sports. It's supposed to be played in the right spirit. I've watched cricket for many years and never seen scenes like that before. Congrats on RT to his double ton.

  • Clavers on December 4, 2013, 19:44 GMT

    What absolutely hypocritical drivel from Cook. I have never heard Cook complain that England fans (the Barmy Army) in their thousands sledge opposition players by chanting obscenities in unison. I'd say the atmosphere in Brisbane was actually better than usual -- the Barmy Army had to shut up because the favourite target of their abuse was tearing England apart.

    The most intense sledging I've ever seen was by one K. Pietersen when he bowled an over of his part-time off-spin to Matthew Hayden. I suppose he knew he was no great shakes as a bowler and that his best chance of fluking a wicket was to annoy the hell out of Hayden by sledging him and thereby provoke a rash shot.

    As for the use of aggressive short-pitched bowling as a tactic, do we not remember how Flintoff forced Phil Hughes out of the Australian team in 2009 with his bouncer attack? This style of play is part and parcel of the game of cricket. Australia just happen to be executing it well at the moment.

  • p77gin on December 4, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    i just find it difficult to understand one thing. why do adjectives like "tough", "hard" need to be applied to the word cricket? play cricket for god's sake. that's all there is to it. play "good" cricket.

  • dummy4fb on December 4, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    What hes saying in a roundabout way is that england can only play cricket without the mental pressure of an aggressive opponent. shame. I thought this was a mans game. He also forgets that england have not been welcoming to australians. whats the difference here. hes just trying to use the press to put pressure on teh aussies to play it englands way. rather cowardly really.

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