The Ashes, Australia vs England, cricket news, James Anderson, Tim Paine, Ben Stokes, first Test, Gabba, Sydney, dates, latest

James Anderson has urged Australians to “keep it respectable” during the traditional pre-Ashes war of words, after branding Tim Paine’s comments on England players’ uncertainty around travel as “dangerous”.

Australia captain Paine has been criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards England players during the protracted negotiations over quarantine protocols, saying “no one is forcing” them to tour and “if you don’t want to come, don’t come”.

It’s not the first time Australians have put pressure on England players before an Ashes series Down Under, with Nathan Lyon famously warning that the bowling attack would “end careers” of the tourists.

And Anderson has highlighted the mental health struggles star player Ben Stokes is currently dealing with as the reason why the “pantomime stuff” from players in the media is unnecessary during this summer’s series.

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(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“It is dangerous to start talking like that, especially when we already have one player missing because he is looking after his mental health,” Anderson told the UK’s Daily Telegraph.

“I get it that this is an Ashes series and we are going to have this bit of pantomime stuff away from the cricket, but let’s keep it respectable.

“It is important everyone knows what to expect when we get there. There is always a lot of hype and noise around the Ashes in the build-up to it. Making everyone aware of that and having ways of blocking it out are important.

“It is designed to distract us. There are always little things that crop up. That is inevitable but it is important we try to focus as much as we can on the cricket. That is our job.

“Our job is not really to get involved in any off-field war of words. We have to focus on our jobs on the field and perform for our country.”

Anderson also said that it would “make sense” for the England and Wales Cricket Board to contact Cricket Australia about moving the first Test to Sydney, now New South Wales has dropped hotel quarantine for all overseas arrivals from November 1.

England have agreed to a soft quarantine at a golf resort on the Gold Coast before the first Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, where they have not won a Test match since the 1986-87 series.

“As with the stuff already, there have been discussions and I’m sure this will be something that will be brought up between ECB and Cricket Australia as well,” Anderson said. “I’m sure it is common sense to be talking about something like that but it is something way out of players’ hands.”

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