Smile or take it as a compliment.
That’s batting coach Graham Gooch’s advice to England’s batsmen as they prepare to face more sledging from Australia in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide from Thursday.
Gooch acknowledged on Monday that helping the batsmen deal with verbal goading was part of his job.
“You give advice on anything and different things make different people tick,” Gooch said. “You advise technically, you advise mentally.
“If someone comes with sledging, people deal with it in different ways.
“Some people it motivates, makes them play better, more determined.
“Some people it can unsettle. But generally sledging is about getting you to play the man and not the ball, get your focus off the ball.
“Players I’ve seen who’ve dealt with it best either smile at the opposition or take it as a compliment.
“Generally if you get sledged, you’re doing okay.”
Former England captain Gooch said his role to was advise.
“Whether they listen is another thing,” the 60-year-old veteran of 118 Tests said.
Gooch said there was no denying Mitchell Johnson had a great game in Brisbane with his nine-wicket haul to lead Australia to a 381-run win in the first Test.
“He bowled fast and inconvenienced a few of our players with the short ball,” he said.
But short-pitched bowling was nothing new and the England batsmen simply had to deal with it better, he added.
Adelaide’s first-ever Test drop-in pitch is expected to be a flat track in keeping with the South Australian ground’s batting-friendly reputation.
“To get dismissed twice for under 200 is very disappointing,” Gooch said of England’s Gabba debacle.
“We don’t know what this wicket will be like.”
Gooch suggested the rowdy Gabba crowd could take some credit for Australia’s win there.
“The crowd whipped it up a bit and we didn’t handle the situation as well as we should have, so we’ve got to improve,” he said.
“We have a simple plan. Play better, OK?”
Ian Bell was England’s middle-order man of the series in their Ashes triumph in August but he’s now facing the prospect of a possible switch to No.3.
Gooch says Bell and inexperienced No.6 Joe Root, a former opener, are under consideration to take on the first-drop role following Jonathan Trott’s withdrawal from the rest of the series with a stress-related illness.