Aussies not ~~too friendly~~ with Poms: Langer

Published: Sunday, July 23, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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London:Australia opening batsman Justin Langer has rejected claims from national selector Merv Hughes that the team are too friendly with their English rivals heading into this year's Ashes series.

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

Hughes was dismayed to see Hampshire team-mates 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 Andrew Flintoff.

And he insisted 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 as saying in Saturday's Sydney 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."

But Langer, currently playing county cricket in England for Somerset, said Hughes was wide of the mark.

"Imagine an Ashes contest being played like a village game, that's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard.

"We played good, hard cricket on the field and had a beer off it," Langer, whose 342 earlier this week against Surrey was the highest individual first-class score ever achieved by a Somerset player, also told Sky Sports. "That's how it should be."

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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