Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Australia left-arm seamer Mitchell Johnson has already indicated that he and England all-rounder Ben Stokes will get involved in a few heated verbal confrontations during the upcoming Ashes series.
Stokes is renowned for his short fuse and volatile temper and displayed it when West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels gave him a salute when dismissing him on the third day of the second Test in Grenada in April.
Another infamous incident involved Stokes breaking his wrist and being ruled out of the 2014 World Twenty20 when he punched a locker after being clean bowled by West Indies pace bowler Krishmar Santokie for a golden duck during the third and final Twenty20 International on March 13, 2014.
However, Johnson is glad that someone in the England team won’t back down from a verbal spat if one does occur on the field.
“Stokes is just playing the game and he’s fiery,” Johnson told reporters. “We like that. We like someone who has got a bit of guts and determination.
“We spoke about him throughout the last series. He was the only guy who really fought from the England team. He also stirred up a few of the West Indians out there recently.
“We weren’t sure why he wasn’t picked in the World Cup squad. It’s always nice to play against real competitors.
“Virat Kohli is the same. He’s very competitive on the field and they are nice guys off it. People want to see a bit of fire in Test match cricket.”
Johnson also made it clear that he intends to sledge a number of the English players and doesn’t mind if the crowd gets stuck into him.
“Do I like being cast as the pantomime villain? Who likes being sledged every day! It’s been part of the game and they always seem to target particular players,” he said. “It’s been the history of the Ashes and cricket in general. I’ve been targeted all over the world.
“The England fans didn’t give up in the last series back home. I remember we won in Perth and even Sydney where they were saying things.
“It was a bad situation for them and they were just trying to enjoy themselves. They pay their money and they want to enjoy it.
“All I notice is there is a bit more appreciation when you do do well. For once I’m not copping it when I’m just walking down the street, which is always nice.”
However, Johnson admitted that the fans have crossed the line in the past and hopes it doesn’t happen this time around.
“I remember in 2010 in Australia I was walking down the street with my wife and copping abuse from about ten English blokes. In my own country! That was disappointing because I was with my wife and it was disrespectful,” he said. “It was pretty full on and hurt at the time but I’ve been able to grow from that and those things don’t affect me now. It’s just words and I know where I am as a person. If it was a little bit of banter I would have laughed but it went too far and it was crossing the line.”