Cricket legend Allan Border wants Australia – and Steve Smith in particular – to return to the harder edge they had when he was in charge of the Test side as the Ashes series against England looms.
Border, 67, famously blanked the likes of Ian Botham, Mike Gatting and David Gower on the 1989 tour of the United Kingdom and it paid off, with the tourists winning back the urn following a 4-0 triumph across six Tests.
Dubbed ‘Captain Grumpy’ for his aggressive nature, Border acknowledged his hard-nosed style doesn’t sit well with some cricket fans – but he believes Pat Cummins’ men are too friendly.
‘You can have that friendly rivalry without being excessive, like [Steve] Smith…in India, he gave the thumbs up every time he got a good ball,’ he told Code Sports.
‘I thought that was a bit over the top. You are in a contest out there.
Cricket legend Allan Border wants Australia to develop a harder edge ahead of the Ashes series against England (pictured, with the urn in 1989)
Border was shocked to see Steve Smith (pictured) acknowledging good deliveries from India’s bowlers during the recent series on the subcontinent
‘I’d be playing with a harder edge. We [Aussies] play a certain style of cricket. Hard, but fair cricket.’
Border also singled out trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand, who he labelled a ‘Mr Nice Guy’ XI.
‘The Kiwis, they are the ones that play the goodie two shoes … but then they try to beat the s**t out of you,’ he added.
England coach Brendon McCullum is on the same page as Border, after achieving limited success against Australia at Test level when representing New Zealand in his playing days.
‘I always felt we were scrapping against them, rather than going toe-to-toe with them, and going toe-to-toe with a good side is where the magic happens,’ he said.
‘I think we have the quality in our team, and they have in theirs, for it to be a heavyweight contest, so I’m excited about that. Australian’s are formidable competitors.
Aussie skipper Pat Cummins has a very different captaincy style to Border, who was famous for his aggression on and off the field
‘It’s why you want to play the game. You want to be tested against the best and that is what we’ve got in front of us in the next couple of months.’
The first Ashes Test is at Edgbaston on June 16 – and as a tune up, Australia will take on India in the ICC World Test Championship.
Play begins on June 7 at The Oval in London, with the winner officially crowned the world’s best Test playing nation.