Cook explained, on the eve of the second Test in Adelaide, that sledging is a necessary evil — a legitimate tactic, one even he finds a challenge when batting, but which must not overshadow the Ashes.
The England skipper cuts a serene figure at the crease, rarely deflected from his primary purpose of batting as long as he possibly can.
But he said: “Anyone who says they’ve never been affected by sledging is lying. Something will always be said or done which will distract you for that split second.
“The skill of it is how you handle the next ball.” “It’s important both sides recognise a couple of scenes in that last game weren’t great for the game of cricket,” he said.
“I think both sides (do) recognise that. People want to see real, tough cricket — it’s what they enjoy, especially between Australia and England. But there’s got to be a boundary we don’t cross.
“Maybe last week we let emotion get ahead of us a little bit on some occasions, and it became a little bit ugly,” he added.