Cricket Expert & Columnist
Bob Willis: I understand the Ashes sledging is getting particularly unpleasant and personal
"I don't like the rumours I'm hearing about it and the Australians really do need to learn to behave themselves on the field."
Last Updated: 07/12/17 10:57am
Bob Willis believes the sledging in the Ashes has become "unpleasant" and that Australia's players "need to learn to behave themselves on the field".
Former England captain Willis is in Australia following England's fortunes and says he is hearing that "particularly personal" remarks are being directed towards the tourists, including to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Speaking on Sky Sports Cricket's Ashes Debate show, which you can watch at 7pm on Friday on Sky Sports Cricket, Willis urged the umpires to step in if the home side's verbals stray too far.
"I understand that the sledging on the field is getting particularly unpleasant and particularly personal, directed at one or two individuals in the England side," he said.
"Without going into any details, one of those individuals is Bairstow - I don't like the rumours I'm hearing about it and the Australians really do need to learn to behave themselves on the field.
"I don't mind the odd word, fielders round the bat saying 'you can't play' or anything like that, but when things get personal, I can't be doing with that.
"I think that if the umpires hear anything of that nature then they should be reporting it to the match referee."
Australia spinner Nathan Lyon spoke about "ending players' careers" before the series - which the hosts lead 2-0 after winning the day-night Test in Adelaide - got underway, while David Warner compared the Ashes to a "war" before admitting he regretted his choice of words.
"I expected one of the Aussies [to do it]," added Willis. "I think on the last tour it was Warner, and on past tours we've heard Glenn McGrath saying they're going to win 5-0.
"So we expected that in the press and we also expect it on the field - I don't particularly mind any of that. I don't see why a professional cricketer should be bothered by any of that on the field.
"Even when Michael Clarke said Australia were going to break James Anderson's arm - it's not very pleasant but I'd just turn a blind eye to that if I were Anderson."