Darren Lehmann, the Australian head coach, is bracing for a feisty Ashes series with star opener David Warner in the thick of the mudslinging.
Australia's vice-captain caused some controversy recently when he likened the Ashes to "war"- a description labelled "pathetic" by former England opener Marcus Trescothick. Warner, a renowned firebrand who has mended his ways in recent times, said he might try to "wind the clock back" and be aggressive with his banter.
Lehmann backed Warner but said the opener's main value would come with the bat and through his leadership. "If he decides to get stuck into their players, which I'm sure he will at various stages, that will come back both ways," he told cricket.com.au on Friday (October 20). "Whichever way (Warner) decides to go, he'll go - he's his own man. Bull, Reverend, Bull, Reverend, I don't know which one turns up, but the main thing for him is that he leads well.
"He helps Steven (Smith) out as vice-captain, which he will do, and makes runs," he added.
Lehmann expected plenty of verbal assaults on the field but believed the sledging would not cross the line. "It's going to be a fiery series at different times but they all know each other reasonably well because they play so much cricket with and against each other these days," he said. "As long as it doesn't go personal, and no one will go down that path, but I'm sure our boys will give as good as they get."
Australia will start strong favourites having memorably won the previous home Ashes contest 5-0 in 2013-14. Lehmann believed the home advantage would spur Australia. "The crowd gets behind you and it's amazing what the crowd can do," he said.
"The 25 million people (in Australia) and all the people coming to the games, they're just as big a player as the 11 playing on the ground."