Cricket Expert & Columnist
Shane Warne discusses how Australia went about welcoming England for an Ashes series
In the final part of our Ashes on the Brain series, Shane Warne provides the Aussie perspective, explaining why they always targeted the England captain...
Last Updated: 14/11/17 7:16am
An Ashes series always brings out the best in England and Australia.
For us Aussies, when England were coming to us, we always felt like we had an advantage with our pitches more than anything else. I'm not one of these that gets into the crowd behind the team and all that - that never really affected me.
Whether I was booed in England and had songs sung about me all day or support in Australia, I didn't think the crowd really affected the result of the game or had too big of an influence.
It sort of intrigues me when people say about getting the crowd right behind them or trying to shut them up, I didn't quite understand that.
You know when a team is after you and we made a point of making sure the captain knew that we were all after them.
Shane Warne on targeting England's captain
As far as preparation goes, when you came to England for an Ashes series, the preparation was completely different because you were trying to get used to a Dukes ball again so when England came to Australia, they've been using the Dukes ball all year and have to get used to the Kookaburra. Don't underestimate how important that is and how long it takes to adjust to that.
The practice sessions are really important, tour games are really important and I've liked England's recent attitude when they've come to Australia. They've tried to win every game, in years gone by, in the 90s, I don't think every England side came to do that.
So for an Australian, when England come for the Ashes it is always a huge event. We can talk about all the other series but for an Australian or an Englishman, there is nothing more important than an Ashes series. They are career-defining series.
It doesn't really matter how you go against everyone else, if you do well in the Ashes it sort of defines your whole career and your reputation is made.
There is always plenty said before these series and we used to all laugh at Glenn McGrath about his 5-0 predictions until suddenly we said, 'Pigeon, why do you always come out and say we're going to win 5-0?'
He said, 'well I believe we can win every Test that we play. I'm not being cocky or arrogant or having a go at England or anything, I just believe we can win every Test. So if I believe we can win every Test then we're going to win 5-0.' That was just the way he thought.
He was a class act and that was just his way and it shows you his mind-set too, he believed no matter what the situation, no matter what the conditions, that we could win every Test match we played.
At that time, the outside influences had more expectations than we did. When you're playing, you know that no matter how bad Australia or England are, both sides will lift their game for an Ashes series.
While when England came to Australia the outside influences were saying we were expected to win, I don't think that we thought like that. We just thought that we were coming up against a very good side, there was no real expectations or anything like that; we just wanted to play and prepare.
I think it is more the outside influences that would say 'the Aussies are huge favourites' - that didn't really affect how we prepared.
All we basically used to do was go after the captain. We tried to keep the captain down in the first couple of Test matches.
You're always trying to knock them over but we really wanted to go after the captain and let them know that all 11 of us that are out in the field - whether it was Alastair Cook, Michael Vaughan, Andrew Strauss, Nasser Hussain, Mike Atherton, we just used to really go after them.
Aggressive body language, a few verbals and, in their first innings or two, really try and not let them get any runs.We were trying to get them out every time anyway but you know when a team is after you and we made a point of making sure the captain knew that we were all after them.