England captain Alastair Cook claims that any batsman who claims to have remained immune from the on-field barbs hurled by opponents is not telling the truth.
As the Ashes rivals prepare to resume hostilities that boiled over in the final throes of the opening Test in Brisbane, Cook conceded it was up to himself and his rival captain Michael Clarke to ensure player behaviour is kept in check.
Both skippers have held discussions with International Cricket Council match referee Jeff Crowe in the lead-up to the second Commonwealth Bank Ashes Test that begins in Adelaide tomorrow.
Crowe’s conversation with Clarke was conducted as part of the sanction imposed on the Australian captain in the wake of the Brisbane Test when he was fined 20 per cent of his match fee for directing an audible obscenity at England tailender James Anderson.
That spat prompted a vocal debate among current and former players as to the merits of engaging in ‘trash talk’, and whether it delivers the competitive edge that is supposedly designed to achieve.
But Cook said that any batsman who claims to not have had his concentration or demeanour shaken by opposition taunts – even for a fleeting moment – was kidding himself, or the broader public.
"I think anyone who says they’ve never been affected by sledging is lying," Cook said in his pre-match media conference in Adelaide.
"I think something will always be said or done that will distract you for that split second.
"You will listen to it, but the skill is how you handle the next ball.
"You might listen to it and get a little bit annoyed, but then you're like 'right, how do I make sure I’m focusing on the next ball?'.
"So I don't think anyone will say they don't hear it or don't recognise it – they're lying.
"It's how you deal you with the next ball is whether you can cope with sledging."
Clarke denied suggestions that he was consciously changed his demeanour towards his Ashes opponents, amid suggestions he has become 'Captain Grumpy' in order to portray a harder edge in the wake of Australia's three-nil Test series loss in England earlier this year.
However, as the only player to have been sanctioned in the aftermath of the increasingly bad-tempered series opener in Brisbane, Clarke knows he has a responsibility to ensure his players do not cross the line when attempting to gain an edge over their arch rivals.
Cook conceded that some of the exchanges that took place at the ‘Gabba did not reflect particularly well on either team.
"I think it's important that both sides recognise that a couple of things in that last game weren't great for the game of cricket," he said.
"It's important that we play in the right way.
"People want to see real tough cricket, that’s what they enjoy especially between Australia and England but there's got to be a boundary that we don't cross.
"Maybe last week we let emotion get ahead of ourselves on some occasions, and it became a little bit ugly.
"So obviously Michael (Clarke) and I have responsibilities as captains of both sides to make sure that doesn't happen."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 04 December, 2013 4:10PM AEST