London, May 20 (ANI): England off-spinner Graeme Swann has told the Aussies they will be wasting their breath trying to sledge ice-cool England skipper Andrew Strauss.
"The Aussies are past masters at mind games, and there is no surprise they look to unsettle a captain - he's the fulcrum of the team. But I can't see it bothering Straussy one bit, he's so relaxed it will be water off a duck's back," Swann told The Sun.
Australian captain Ricky Ponting fired the first shot in the pre-Ashes war-of-words yesterday, claiming his bowlers will target the left-hander this summer.
But Strauss has proved his mental strength since taking over the leadership in January, most recently guiding his troops to a 2-0 Npower series win over West Indies.
"As a team we're enjoying our cricket at the moment. It was a surreal winter, with the bombs in India and the KP and Moorsey thing. But we have very English way of having a laugh and joke to stay upbeat and get past these things. And as a result, we're starting to gel as a team that could be strong for many years to come," Swann said.
"Straussy has been so important in creating that atmosphere and I've been very impressed by him. He leads from the front, but enjoys a laugh and puts our minds at ease," Swann added.
The 30-year-old is producing the goods with both bat and ball, and cannot wait to take on old friends this summer.
He joked: "I'm enjoying my batting, and I'm gutted Ravi Bopara has come in and stolen the No 3 spot in the side.
"But facing Australia will be a dream this summer, and they have a few left-handers in their side which I always enjoy bowling against. I played with Mike Hussey when I was at Northants and I always claimed I'd face him in an Ashes Test some day - somehow I don't think he believed me! (ANI)