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Martyn hits out at Lillee~~s ~~Dad~~s Army~~ bouncers

Published: Tuesday, November 7, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Perth:Australian Test batsman Damien Martyn told fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee to shut up with his 'Dad's Army' criticisms of the home side ahead of this month's Ashes series with England.

Martyn, who arrived home Tuesday from Australia's Champions' Trophy victory in India, said Lillee was in danger of losing the respect of current players if he continued to criticise the team.

Martyn, one of several 35-year-olds in the Australian team, slammed Lillee's recent comments that an ageing Australian top order could be the Achilles heel in Australia's bid to regain the Ashes.

"I think Dennis Lillee should keep quiet as president of the WACA (Western Australia Cricket Association) - it is disappointing," Martyn told reporters.

"The team is disappointed in Dennis' several comments over the last six months, which don't need to be said.

"No (it doesn't fire you up) ... you just lose your respect."

In a column in a local newspaper last month, Lillee said he saw danger signs for Australia as it prepared to take on the younger England team.

"It's worrying how Australia, after being outplayed in England last year, are going to turn things around with a decidedly older team," Lillee wrote.

"Australia have some great players but even the greatest players get tapped on the shoulder by Father Time at some stage."

The team to begin the Ashes campaign at the Gabba on Nov 23 is likely to include Martyn, 35, Justin Langer, 36, Matthew Hayden, who will have turned 35, Ricky Ponting, 31, Adam Gilchrist, 35, Glenn McGrath, 36, and Shane Warne, 37.

Skipper Ponting said the Champions Trophy win would serve as good preparation for regaining the Ashes from England.

"Our last 12 months of Test cricket has been first-class," Ponting told reporters at Sydney Airport Tuesday.

"We've raised our standards again from where they were, so I couldn't be happier with the way we're heading and to have this (Champions) trophy and the month's preparation in India and good hard training will be good.

"We went away (after the 2005 Ashes loss) and had 15 months to try to rectify some things and with everything we've done -- our training, preparation and the way we've played - we couldn't have done much more.

"That's been the really pleasing thing for me and I know every Australian cricketer is looking forward to getting the series underway - not long now."

The first Ashes Test starts in Brisbane on Nov 23.

AFP

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