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Ashwell Prince mouths off

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Prince does want to see the Proteas back it up with performance, especially with the bat

DARREN Lehmann may want a round-table of coaches and captains to discuss player behaviour, but there’s no doubt things will be different from now on.

A bit like infidelity within a relationship, there’s no amount of counselling that is going to undo what happened on that stairwell on Sunday at Kingsmead – especially with it being recorded on tape for the world to review too.

And even more so when the respective Australian and South African camps are in open dispute as to what actually set off David Warner’s fuse so much so that he needed his teammates to physically restrain him from heading for Quinton de Kock.

With the second Test just two days away from starting in Port Elizabeth on Friday, it is unlikely that the heat between the two teams would have had sufficient time to cool down as yet.

Former Proteas batsman and current Cape Cobras coach Ashwell Prince certainly believes the fire will still be burning within both teams at St George’s Park and that no team will suddenly become becalmed.

“At the end of the day, the typical Aussie is a confident guy, some might call it arrogant, but ultimately it is born out of ‘I know I am good. I know what I can bring to the party. I am going to come and knock you over and I am making no bones about the fact that I am coming to knock you over!’

“I think there is always a place for it. At the end of the day it’s a contest, and as long as it doesn’t become personal. I am not sure of the content that was used in Durban, but when the talk revolves around family, guy’s wives, then it does become something that’s not cricket. If it is cricket related then that’s fine. I was certainly not only going to take it, I was prepared to give it back. I was a firm believer that ‘why is it only the bowler and fielders that are entitled to say something, why can’t I say something?’”

Prince was certainly renowned during his playing days as a cricketer that relished the combat out in the middle. Although short in stature, the left-hander who hails from the tough neighbourhood of Gelvandale in Port Elizabeth never allowed the opposition to intimidate him, even when making his Test debut against the “best team in the world” in 2002.

Prince, who made valuable contributions against the Aussies in both the first Test at the Wanderers and final Test in Durban respectively.

“People play the game from different perspectives. If I think of Herschelle Gibbs, he was an entertainer. Maybe because of the way I came into first-class cricket, as a player of colour post-apartheid, it was always all about proving your worth. So my cricket journey was different. It was almost like you were going into war. I wasn’t there to entertain. This is war! It is your country against my country, and we are both here to defend each other’s country.”

Prince’s comments certainly echo Lehmann’s belief that “it’s a bloody tough game out there and you’re representing your country. Very proud countries, both sides”.

However, for all the sledging that is going on at the moment, Prince does want to see the Proteas back it up with performance, especially with the bat.

– Zaahier Adams