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Shane Warne hits out at 'arrogant' England
7:33am Wednesday 7th August 2013 in Sport
FORMER Hampshire skipper Shane Warne has criticised England's attitude and behaviour during the third Ashes Test, accusing Matt Prior of being "smug" and questioning whether they are being deliberately "arrogant and dismissive".
England retained the urn on Monday when the Old Trafford Test - which they were on course to lose - was washed out by rain, meaning their 2-0 lead was preserved heading into the final two matches of the series.
Andy Flower's men came in for some criticism throughout the game for alleged time-wasting, and Warne has this morning gone one step further.
Australia's all-time leading wicket-taker singled out wicketkeeper Prior and spinner Graeme Swann, as well as querying whether Flower was instructing his players to act in a certain way.
"A lot of us reporting and commentating on the game were really taken aback by the way the England players were interviewing and behaving in press conferences and after-match interviews," he said in his Daily Telegraph column.
"It has caught the attention of those who report on the game, especially mine.
"Yes, England are a very good cricket team and it is their choice how they convey messages to the press and act on and off the field, and also how they want to represent themselves individually and collectively as a team.
"But to me there were a few moments at Old Trafford when I thought, 'Hang on, who do you think you are?'
"I saw an interview with (Sky Sports') Ian Ward after day two and he said it had been a tough couple of days for England, which it had been, but Graeme Swann replied, 'No, not really. We will just go out and bat now on this flat Old Trafford wicket'.
"Matt Prior was also very smug in his comments, which leads me to think perhaps it is a conscious effort or direction from Andy Flower to be arrogant and dismissive of the opposition.
"Let me tell you this, if you lose respect for the game and the opposition, cricket has a funny way of biting you on the backside."
Warne's comments come on a morning when a number of England's players were photographed in national newspapers smoking in the street in the wake of the Old Trafford draw.
Warne, who skippered Hampshire between 2004-2007 inclusive, does not believe that any arrogance sits well with them, though, and has urged them to think about the longer-term ramifications of such an attitude.
"Maybe Flower wants to create an atmosphere of everyone is out to get us. He might even think England play better like that. But it is not working," he added.
"Most of the English guys are good fellas and I sense some of them feel a little uncomfortable. They might be winning but you are a long time retired and individuals have to work out if that is how they want to conduct themselves at press conferences and in public.
"I'm no saint here and I carried on and went over the top plenty of times on the field, but never when speaking at cricket grounds about the game and the opposition.
"I was always respectful to both and felt grateful for the opportunity to have the chance to play international cricket and especially respectful and humble to the opposition.
"Maybe that is why I have picked up on this conscious effort to appear dismissive of everyone."
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