Feisty Australia opener David Warner spiced up proceedings ahead of this week’s opening Test by labelling the New Zealand team “Mr. Nice Guys” and vowing to stick to “in-your-face” cricket on Tuesday.
Warner didn’t hold back as he responded to comments from paceman Trent Boult that the Kiwis expected more aggression from Australia after a series of verbal send-offs during the World Cup final in March.
Australia, who thrashed New Zealand by seven wickets in the one-day final in Melbourne, host the Black Caps for a three-Test series starting in Brisbane on Thursday.
“Is that what they said? Interesting,” said Warner, when told of Boult’s comment. “I don’t think we sledge them at all. They are the Mr. Nice Guys.
“We saw in England that they invited the England team in for a (dressing room) beer which is something not common — you do it after a Test series.
“But that’s how they play their cricket. For us it is about being aggressive in the field. We play in-your-face cricket, the guys before us played it like that.
“That’s probably why we dominate in Australia. That’s something we are not going to stop.”
Warner also took aim at Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum for what he considered “poor and immature” criticism of Steve Smith during the Australia’s one-day series in England this year.
In his newspaper column McCullum said the Australian captain had shown “immaturity” by not withdrawing an obstructing-the-field appeal against England’s Ben Stokes in an ODI.
Warner criticised what he called McCullum’s hypocrisy by having his team play as the “Mr. Nice Guys” of world cricket on the field, yet criticise Australia’s captain off it.
“You’re not playing for the spirit of cricket award are you? You’re playing for a series,” he said.
“Our goal is to be number one in all formats and we’re always going to fight for that.
“We try not to cross that line. A couple of times, we’ve headbutted it; a couple of times, we might have crossed it but we’ve got to try and win every game.”
Paceman Mitchell Starc said Australia would be seeking to rattle the Kiwis in similar fashion to this year’s World Cup final.
“If you get rid of their big names and their more experienced players early and really get a bit aggressive… the younger guys, I think, they go really back into their shell quite a bit,” Starc said Tuesday.
Starc suggested the World Cup winners would draw confidence from their thumping win of the Black Caps in the World Cup final.
“We’ll definitely be reminding them that we’ve bowled them out for 150 and 180 on very good wickets,” the left-armer said.
“It’s nice to be playing in Australia and taking on guys who probably haven’t played too much cricket in these conditions.”
Australia have not lost a Gabba Test since 1988.