SYDNEY (Reuters) - Less than a week after England sealed a 3-0 Ashes win, Australians are turning their attention to the return visit of Alastair Cook's side by painting fast bowler Stuart Broad as a cartoon villain.
Broad controversially refused to walk during the first test in England after he was given not out by the on-field umpires and the 27-year-old admitted he knew he had hit the ball that ended up in Australia captain Michael Clarke's hands.
Coach Darren Lehmann described Broad's actions as "blatant cheating" in an interview on Australian Radio, comments for which he was fined and later apologised.
Lehmann also said he hoped local fans would not let Broad forget the incident when England tour Australia from late October and Australian media, smarting from the 3-0 series loss, picked up the cudgels on Thursday
They painted Broad as the man dressed in black performing to a backdrop of ominous piano music, comparing him to other English players who have attracted opprobrium from local fans.
"John Snow put up with it. Douglas Jardine wallowed in it," cricket columnist Robert Craddock wrote in Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper about the combative fast bowler of the 1970s and the captain who implemented 'Bodyline' tactics in the 1930s.
"But will Stuart Broad be strong enough to handle the tsunami of abuse that awaits him in Australia this summer?
"Only the bold or foolish incite Australia fans.
"It is generally not in the nature of English tourists to play Australia at their own antagonistic game.
"Sledging is generally considered our game, not theirs.
"Broad will need to have his mental flak jacket on from the moment he lands in Brisbane for the first test."
The English Cricket Board has said it hopes the incidents will not provoke any further vitriole amongst local fans and that player safety will be ensured.
England's first match on the tour of Australia is against Western Australia in Perth from October31-November2 with the first test at the Gabba in Brisbane beginning on November 21.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ed Osmond