Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen says his former teammates must fight aggression with aggression if they want to compete in the upcoming Ashes series.
And if that means more sledging then so be it, says the bad boy of English cricket.
“Australians are intimidating people when they get on top of you. So England guys have to fight them on their own terms. Do not take a backward step,” Pietersen wrote in his column in the Daily Telegraph.
“The Ashes is sporting war and sledging is good for the game. I want more of it and I want there to be fire in the series.
“I do not want to see people laughing and joking with each other. It is Ashes cricket. You do not test people mentally by smiling at the opposition on the field. Do not cross the line or be personal. But stand up and take them on.”
The issue of sledging has never been far from the surface in the build-up, with James Anderson insisting on Monday he would refrain from chirping away at Australian batsmen.
Pietersen, speaking before the start of the first Test in Cardiff on Wednesday, predicts the tourists will win the series because of their superior bowling attack.
“Sadly I think Australia will win 2-1. I want England to win but I just can’t see it happening. I hope I am wrong.
“The difference between the two teams this series is we do not have that strike bowler who can lead the attack and take wickets while James Anderson is resting between spells.
“Two years ago we had Graeme Swann but I’m concerned as to who will be our match-winner if Anderson does not turn up. It is essential Stuart Broad and Mark Wood are firing and taking wickets.
“England’s route to victory then lies with Alastair Cook and Joe Root scoring lots of runs, and the bowling attack working in partnerships to make up for that lack of a strike bowler.”