Sledging Smith won’t work: McGrath

Glenn McGrath isn’t surprised Stuart Broad is trying to get inside Steve Smith’s head but he insists it won’t work because the world’s top-ranked player “is quality”.

Broad this week suggested England were licking their lips at the prospect of testing out Smith’s technique at first drop in the upcoming Ashes series.

But McGrath thinks the England quick is simply “talking it up in the media”.

“Being a bowler you can get away with it more than a batsman because it only takes one ball to prove you’re right,” the former paceman told reporters in London.

“I had a bit of fun with that (and) maybe Broady is doing the same thing.

“You target the best batsman and get them thinking about a few different things rather than their own game.”

But, McGrath said on Monday, the sledging won’t work.

The right-armer who claimed 563 Test wickets is certain Smith won’t have any trouble batting at No.3 in English conditions.

“He’s a bit unorthodox, his scoring options are different,” McGrath said at a Hardys of Australia wine tasting function.

“But Smithy has shown in the past he’s prepared to look ugly, to do it tough.

“Whether he bats three, four or whatever, I don’t think it’s going to make any difference.”

The 45-year-old noted Smith “is quality”, adding that “No.3 was always your best batsman. That’s the way it’s always been”.

McGrath doesn’t believe Broad’s comments indicate the series will be a sledge-fest.

He said the media talked about sledging a lot but it wasn’t such an issue for the players.

To be the best team in the world simply required players to be tough and hard on the field, McGrath said.

“It’s as much about body language and the way you go about things – that’s more important than what you say.

“The sledging has already started off the field by both teams – a little bit more from the English side already.

“(But) it’s the nature of the beast. If there is chat in the middle it’s not just the Australian team, the English … have a fair bit to say as well. It’s give and take.”

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