F1 » 15 December 2013
Webber backs 'Aussie intimidation' but admits won't work in F1
Mark Webber has said that verbal psychology is very much an integral part of cricket, but accepts that it doesn't necessarily translate to his own sporting arena.
Mark Webber says that he sees little wrong in Australia's 'sledging' of the English cricket team, but admits that similar tactics would not necessarily work in motorsport.
With his team finally enjoying the upper hand after a couple of Ashes series dominated by the 'old enemy', Webber has another reason – other than his new WEC contract with Porsche - to look forward to the winter, and has encouraged his countrymen to take the verbal intimidation up a notch.
“There has been a lot of controversy, especially in the British media, about sledging and the Aussies potentially going too far,” Webber wrote in a sportlobster.com blog, “My opinion is the more the better. I want to see plenty of it.”
Insisting that the age-old 'tradition' of trying to get inside an opponent's head is 'a brilliant part of the sport', Webber claimed that what was going on in the modern game was a far cry from similar incidents in the past, perhaps tempered by the introduction of modern technology designed to bring the game closer to the fan at home.
“David Warner describing English performers as 'poor' and 'weak', or Michael Clarke telling [James] Anderson his arm would be broken is all tiddlywinks compared to the '80s - you have to remember these guys aren't young boys, they're grown men.
“Now there are more stump-cameras and microphones at the crease, so the sport has changed a bit, but it's brilliant. I love a bit of verbal - it's a long day out in the field, they've got to talk to someone! The slip cordon should be reminding the batsmen if they haven't scored any runs in a while. I think it's all part of the contest. It's theatre. The key is just not to let it get under your skin.”
Acknowledging that, in a changing world, some of the tactics – and subjects of conversation – may be off-limits, Webber also insists that psychology remains a major part of competition, whatever the sport.
“Obviously, you want players to lead by example but, these days, everyone wants everything to be whiter than white and perfect all the time,” he conceded, “But it's not perfect out there. Sometimes we need a reality check. These guys are dedicated, they want to win and when the juices are flowing they are going to get amongst it.
“Most of the Aussie cricket team came down to watch me at the British GP this year, and I know that there aren't many guys in that team who wouldn't shake the hands of the opposition or go next door for a beer at the end of a test.
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