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Stop being matey with England, urges Hughes

Published: Saturday, July 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Sydney:National selector Merv Hughes wants Australian cricketers to end their matey relationship with England rivals and return to a ruthless rivalry for this year's home Ashes series.

The former firebrand Test fast bowler believes Australian friendships with English players may have contributed to their shock Ashes defeat in England last year.

Hughes was dismayed to see Hampshire teammates Shane Warne and Kevin Pietersen exchange jokes and share beers after play in the last series while all the Australians enjoyed the company of star all-rounder Andy Flintoff.

Hughes says Australia must again be indoctrinated with the ruthless, hard-nosed attitude towards England that was pioneered by long-serving former skipper Allan Border, also a current national selector.

"It was all too matey for me," Hughes was quoted in Saturday's Daily Telegraph of last year's seismic Ashes loss.

"Imagine if Shane Warne and (England's) Kevin Pietersen didn't have that friendship. Who knows what would have happened?

"We lost the attitude towards the English that we once had, the attitude that was introduced by Allan Border."

Hughes, who played 44 Tests and was one of Australia's uncompromising competitors, is the Australian selector on duty for Australia 'A's current "Top End" series against 'A' teams from India, Pakistan and New Zealand in Cairns, north Queensland.

The five-Test Ashes series gets underway at Brisbane's Gabba ground on November 23.

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