Ex-England and Sussex man Prior criticises Australia for overstepping the mark with Ashes sledging

Matt Prior
Matt Prior
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Former Sussex and England wicketkeeper Matt Prior has criticised Australia for overstepping the mark with their Ashes sledging that he feels 'shouldn't be on a cricket pitch'.

The three-time Ashes winner says that the nature of the talk during the series 'hasn't come out for various reasons' and refused to expand on his comments on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Prior, who retired in 2015 with 79 Tests to his name, has added yet more fuel to the fire in what is already a fiercely-fought rivalry between the two countries.

After Australia’s heavy first Test victory at the Gabba, it became apparent due to on-field microphones that England's Jonny Bairstow had allegedly been involved in a ‘headbutt’ greeting to debutant Cameron Bancroft in a Perth bar.

Australia captain Steve Smith admitted that they used to incident to unsettle Bairstow in the first match and plenty of words have been seen to be swapped since.

But accomplished batman Prior, who was also a Sussex stalwart, has accused Australia of taking this too far with personal attacks.

Speaking on a BBC podcast, said: “There is a lot that’s gone on that I think the England players are quite upset about — and rightfully from what I’ve heard.

“There’s been a lot of chat on the pitch that hasn’t got anything to do with cricket and quite frankly shouldn’t be on a cricket pitch.

"Stuff that hasn't come out for various reasons and whatever it may be. I know I've probably just thrown something out there and I'm not going to put any more colour into the picture."

West Chiltington-based Prior added: "I think the question was asked of Steve Smith a number of times in a press conference 'did the Australian players cross that line? Did they go too far?'

"After he said 'I, 100 per cent swear on my life they did not cross the line', I think he was dragged out of that press conference pretty quickly because there are things that are going on."

Australia captain Smith has continually denied that their comments have overstepped the mark.

When, on the eve of the second Test in Adelaide, he was asked if he was comfortable with what had been said on the pitch during the first Test in Brisbane, the skipper said: "I think the umpires and match referees are there to determine that."