With the Ashes drawing closer, the Australians are already playing mind games.
The opening warm-up game is held in Perth this weekend, and the England team will be travelling to Australia remembering the bitter 5-0 defeat from four years ago – the last time the Ashes was in Australia.
To compound the England team’s misery, the Australians asked England’s bane Mitchell Johnson, who took 37 wickets last time around, to come back into the fold.
Johnson retired in 2015, but the Australians backed him to throw off his rustiness, and strike terror into English hearts.
However, as reported by the Sun, Johnson turned down the offer.
He still plays T20, but the allure of getting one over England did not prove strong enough to entice him back for the Ashes.
As Steve Smith, the Australian captain, said, the desire was to “open up a few of those scars.”
Though England won in 2015, it was a tight series, and with Australian pitches negating the strength of the English bowling, the Australians go into the Ashes as favourites.
With Adam Voges also rejecting a request to return to play in the warm up match, Australia don’t quite have the blast from the past they were hoping.
However, with Ben Stokes suspended, tension in the England camp must already be high. It is this tension and fragility that Smith is hoping to exploit.
Johnson’s record of just under 14 runs per wicket last time around will be sorely missed, but the Australians will still be a force to be reckoned, even if they are fielding a severely weakened team in the warm-up game.
England, likewise, will be without stars Steven Finn and Moenn Ali.
As one of sport’s greatest tournaments begins, the mind games will not let up, and a win in the warm-up game will allow English nerves to settle.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: https://www.givemesport.com/writeforgms