Damien Martyn has told Dennis Lillee to shut up with his "Dad's Army" criticisms of the home side ahead of the Ashes. Martyn, who arrived home on Tuesday from Australia's Champions Trophy victory in India, said Lillee was in danger of losing the respect of current players if he continued to criticise the team.
Martyn, one of three 35-year-olds in the side, slammed Lillee's recent comments that an ageing top order could be the achilles heel in Australia's bid to regain the Ashes. "I think Dennis Lillee should keep quiet as president of the WACA [Western Australia Cricket Association] - it is disappointing," Martyn told reporters. "The team is disappointed in Dennis' several comments over the last six months, which don't need to be said. No [it doesn't fire you up] ... you just lose your respect."
In a column in the West Australian last month, Lillee said he saw danger signs for Australia as they prepared to take on the younger England team. "It's worrying how Australia, after being outplayed in England last year, are going to turn things around with a decidedly older team," he wrote.
"Australia have some great players but even the greatest players get tapped on the shoulder by Father Time at some stage." The side to begin the Ashes campaign at the Gabba on November 23 is likely to include Martyn, 35, Justin Langer, 36, Matthew Hayden, who will have turned 35, Ricky Ponting, 31, Adam Gilchrist, 35, Glenn McGrath, 36, and Shane Warne, 37.
Ponting said the Champions Trophy win would serve as good preparation for regaining the Ashes. "Our last 12 months of Test cricket has been first-class," Ponting told reporters at Sydney Airport. "We've raised our standards again from where they were, so I couldn't be happier with the way we're heading and to have this trophy and the month's preparation in India and good hard training will be good.
"We went away [after the 2005 Ashes loss] and had 15 months to try to rectify some things and with everything we've done - our training, preparation and the way we've played - we couldn't have done much more. That's been the really pleasing thing for me and I know every Australian cricketer is looking forward to getting the series underway - not long now."