An­der­son makes light of al­le­ga­tions

Rochdale Observer - - SPORT -

EV­ER­GREEN James An­der­son has learned the only way to com­bat the “crazy” sound and fury of an Ashes cam­paign is to sim­ply ig­nore it - even if it does in­clude ran­dom in­sin­u­a­tions about ball-tam­per­ing.

Eng­land’s all-time lead­ing wicket-taker en­coun­tered an­other es­ca­la­tion of brick­bats and in­nu­endo around cricket’s old­est and high­est-pro­file ri­valry dur­ing the drawn Box­ing Day Test.

Speak­ing for the first time about the furore over broad­cast frames of him clean­ing mud off the ball – in full view of the um­pires, and with their ap­proval – he de­scribed the in­ci­dent as “ridicu­lous”.

Eng­land’s Aus­tralian coach Trevor Bayliss re­ferred to mis-in­formed over-re­ac­tion as “Pom­mie-bash­ing”, and it was swiftly and uni­ver­sally ac­knowl­edged An­der­son had done noth­ing wrong.

It was an­other ex­am­ple of Ashes overblow, though, and noth­ing new for 35-year-old An­der­son.

He is no longer sur­prised, even if he does find it wear­ing.

Re­call­ing the fleet­ing con­tro­versy in Mel­bourne, he said: “It es­ca­lated quite quickly, didn’t it?

“Ridicu­lous, but what we’ve come to ex­pect. Crazy, re­ally.”

An­der­son’s de­fault re­ac­tion these days, to crit­i­cism or ap­par­ent cri­sis, is to turn the sound down.

“I think you’ve got to have a thick skin, def­i­nitely.

“If you start wor­ry­ing about ex-play­ers or who­ever, whether they are op­po­si­tion ex-play­ers or even English ex-play­ers ... you’ve got to try to block them out.

“We know as a group how well we are do­ing as a team - or not well.

“I think that’s the most im­por­tant thing - what we think.”

In Aus­tralia, in­ten­sity en­com­passes the en­tire two-month event which con­cludes with the Syd­ney Test, and Eng­land hop­ing to break this win­ter’s duck from 3-0 down.

An­der­son has had good and bad en­coun­ters amid the hype - in­clud­ing one which raised a smile and, he reck­ons, must have been de­liv­ered from the “al­co­hol-free zone” of the MCG.

“There was a guy shout­ing at me (the other day): ‘You can’t bowl with a Kook­aburra.’

“I said: ‘You might have a point there ...”’

Asked if it has be­come more all-per­va­sive over the course of his four Ashes tours, An­der­son said: “Pos­si­bly, yes.

“It doesn’t get any less. It’s just some­thing that we’ve got to put up with. It does get bor­ing at times.”

Be­fore the Mel­bourne Test even started, he found him­self un­der the mi­cro­scope af­ter not­ing that aside from Aus­tralia’s three out­stand­ing first-choice bowlers there was no ev­i­dent depth in the home seam re­sources.

The ob­ser­va­tion did not go down well.

“I wasn’t try­ing to have a dig at any­one, try­ing to slag them off or any­thing like that, I just spoke my mind,” said An­der­son, who soon de­cided it was time to switch off the feed­back again.

“If peo­ple want to get het up about some pretty dull com­ment I made about their bowl­ing at­tack, it’s fine. “I don’t re­ally care.” He does care, though, about what hap­pens on the field in Syd­ney where his dear­est wish is tan­gi­ble re­ward for Eng­land’s ef­forts to soothe this win­ter’s dis­ap­point­ments.

“It’s a hor­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion, be­cause we thought we had a good chance of win­ning this se­ries.

“Ob­vi­ously, it’s not turned out that way but we’ll just keep work­ing hard and try to have one last push and get a re­sult in Syd­ney.

“We’ve got a re­ally strong group, a strong core of play­ers, good man­age­ment as well but it’s just not worked.

“I’d feel dis­ap­pointed for this group if we didn’t get a win on this trip, be­cause we’ve worked so hard.”

●●James An­der­son

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.