Perth: England are steeled for a sledging war in the Ashes series with suspended Ben Stokes the expected focus of Australia’s barbs, captain Joe Root said on the team’s arrival here Sunday.
Stokes, the vice-captain and star all-rounder, is not among the touring party. He remains under investigation after being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.
The England and Wales Cricket Board has not yet ruled the 26-year-old Stokes, who has a broken finger, out of the series, which starts with the first Test in Brisbane, November 23.
Root, who made it clear before departure that they must be prepared for Stokes’s possible absence for the entire five-Test series, said his team were ready to deal with any heat that comes their way.
“Potentially they might sledge us about Stokes,” Root told reporters. “But in Ashes cricket there is always an edge of psychological banter.”
“Once you’ve played in a few, you sort of know what to expect and you know how it goes leading up to the games. I’m sure there will be plenty of banter flying around on and off the field.”
“That’s something you’ve got to cherish and relish and be able to look back on at the end of your career and say that I gave it my best shot, and I enjoyed it.”
Root said that they are determined to show Australia just how good they are during the Ashes series.