BRISBANE – Australia will target Hashim Amla with verbal aggression and engage him in a “psychological war”, according to a dossier of team game-plans published in News Ltd newspapers in Australia.
The papers claimed that the leaked document contained Australia’s “secret” plans to combat each of South Africa’s players, and including peppering Jacques Kallis with bouncers and going after the legspinner Imran Tahir.
However, it is the plan to use verbal tactics against Amla in an effort to break his concentration that will create the biggest stir. The document also mentions Australia’s intent to send down plenty of short balls to Amla, who is the No.2 batsman in the world on the ICC Test rankings, and was one of South Africa’s strongest performers in the two-match series against Australia last year. He led the run tally with 239 at 59.75 and made two of only four centuries in the series.
Earlier today, before the plans were published, Ricky Ponting was asked in Brisbane about whether sledging should be expected in the series, which begins at the Gabba on Friday. Ponting said Australia had no preconceived plans to sledge, but he conceded that in the heat of the battle for the No.1 Test ranking, things might get verbal at some point.
“Whenever South Africa and Australia play the rivalry and the way we go about our cricket is very similar,” Ponting said. “I expect it to be good, hard tough Test match cricket. Whether that means there’s words spoken or not, I don’t know. That’s stuff that happens in the heat of the battle. We’ve got no preconceived ideas about going out there and sledging or talking.
We’ll hopefully do the talking with bat and ball.” (Cricinfo)