The Ashes

Cherish the banter: Joe Root says England is prepared to deal with Ashes sledging

The England captain said his team is ready for a sledging war with suspended Ben Stokes the expected focus of Aussie barbs.

England are steeled for a sledging war in the Ashes series with suspended Ben Stokes the expected focus of Australia’s barbs, captain Joe Root said on the team’s arrival in Perth on Sunday.

Stokes, the vice-captain and star all-rounder, is not among the touring party. He remains under investigation after being arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has not yet ruled the 26-year-old Stokes, who has a broken finger, out of the series which starts with the first Test in Brisbane on November 23.

Root, who made it clear before departure that they must be prepared for Stokes’s possible absence for the entire five-Test series, said his team were ready to deal with any heat that comes their way.

“Potentially they might [sledge us about Stokes],” Root told reporters. “But Ashes cricket – there’s always an edge of psychological banter.

“Once you’ve played in a few, you sort of know what to expect and you know how it goes leading up to the games.

“I’m sure there will be plenty of banter flying around on and off the field.

“That’s something you’ve got to cherish and relish and be able to look back on at the end of your career and say, ‘I gave it my best shot, and I enjoyed it’.”

Former Australia Test captains Steve Waugh and Ian Chappell are among those who believe England can’t retain the Ashes without the influential Stokes.

The controversy surrounding him has given Australia plenty of sledging ammunition, according to their feisty opening batsman David Warner.

Warner has already voiced his desire to ramp up his trademark on-field aggression in the coming series.

“The history, the pride that is at stake. As soon as you step on that line it’s war,” Warner told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation this month, when asked what the Ashes meant to him.

“You try and get into a battle as quick as you can. I try and look in the opposition’s eye and work out how can I dislike this player, how can I get on top of him.”

Root said he is determined to show Australia just how good he is during the Ashes series as he seeks to atone for a miserable first tour ‘Down Under’.

Root is now one of the world’s leading batsmen, having scored more than 5,000 runs in 60 Tests at an average of 53.76 including 13 hundreds.

But his previous Ashes tour, in 2013/14, ended with him being dropped for the Sydney finale after he managed a meagre 192 runs in four previous Tests at a lowly average of 27.42.

England lost that series 5-0 under Alastair Cook.

England will begin their Ashes preparations with a two-day tour match against a Western Australia XI at Perth’s WACA Ground starting on Saturday.

They then play a Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide (November 8-11) and Townsville (November 15-18) before the first Test at the Gabba.

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“My body instantly craves chai and samosa”

German expats talk about adapting to India, and the surprising similarities between the two cultures.

The cultural similarities between Germany and India are well known, especially with regards to the language. Linguists believe that Sanskrit and German share the same Indo-Germanic heritage of languages. A quick comparison indeed holds up theory - ratha in Sanskrit (chariot) is rad in German, aksha (axle) in Sanskrit is achse in German and so on. Germans have long held a fascination for Indology and Sanskrit. While Max Müller is still admired for his translation of ancient Indian scriptures, other German intellectuals such as Goethe, Herder and Schlegel were deeply influenced by Kalidasa. His poetry is said to have informed Goethe’s plays, and inspired Schlegel to eventually introduce formal Indology in Germany. Beyond the arts and academia, Indian influences even found their way into German fast food! Indians would recognise the famous German curry powder as a modification of the Indian masala mix. It’s most popular application is the currywurst - fried sausage covered in curried ketchup.

It is no wonder then that German travellers in India find a quite a lot in common between the two cultures, even today. Some, especially those who’ve settled here, even confess to Indian culture growing on them with time. Isabelle, like most travellers, first came to India to explore the country’s rich heritage. She returned the following year as an exchange student, and a couple of years later found herself working for an Indian consultancy firm. When asked what prompted her to stay on, Isabelle said, “I love the market dynamics here, working here is so much fun. Anywhere else would seem boring compared to India.” Having cofounded a company, she eventually realised her entrepreneurial dream here and now resides in Goa with her husband.

Isabelle says there are several aspects of life in India that remind her of home. “How we interact with our everyday life is similar in both Germany and India. Separate house slippers to wear at home, the celebration of food and festivals, the importance of friendship…” She feels Germany and India share the same spirit especially in terms of festivities. “We love food and we love celebrating food. There is an entire countdown to Christmas. Every day there is some dinner or get-together,” much like how Indians excitedly countdown to Navratri or Diwali. Franziska, who was born in India to German parents, adds that both the countries exhibit the same kind of passion for their favourite sport. “In India, they support cricket like anything while in Germany it would be football.”

Having lived in India for almost a decade, Isabelle has also noticed some broad similarities in the way children are brought up in the two countries. “We have a saying in South Germany ‘Schaffe Schaffe Hausle baue’ that loosely translates to ‘work, work, work and build a house’. I found that parents here have a similar outlook…to teach their children to work hard. They feel that they’ve fulfilled their duty only once the children have moved out or gotten married. Also, my mother never let me leave the house without a big breakfast. It’s the same here.” The importance given to the care of the family is one similarity that came up again and again in conversations with all German expats.

While most people wouldn’t draw parallels between German and Indian discipline (or lack thereof), Germans married to Indians have found a way to bridge the gap. Take for example, Ilka, who thinks that the famed differences of discipline between the two cultures actually works to her marital advantage. She sees the difference as Germans being highly planning-oriented; while Indians are more flexible in their approach. Ilka and her husband balance each other out in several ways. She says, like most Germans, she too tends to get stressed when her plans don’t work out, but her husband calms her down.

Consequently, Ilka feels India is “so full of life. The social life here is more happening; people smile at you, bond over food and are much more relaxed.” Isabelle, too, can attest to Indians’ friendliness. When asked about an Indian characteristic that makes her feel most at home, she quickly answers “humour.” “Whether it’s a taxi driver or someone I’m meeting professionally, I’ve learnt that it’s easy to lighten the mood here by just cracking a few jokes. Indians love to laugh,” she adds.

Indeed, these Germans-who-never-left as just diehard Indophiles are more Indian than you’d guess at first, having even developed some classic Indian skills with time. Ilka assures us that her husband can’t bargain as well as she does, and that she can even drape a saree on her own.

Isabelle, meanwhile, feels some amount of Indianness has seeped into her because “whenever its raining, my body instantly craves chai and samosa”.

Like the long-settled German expats in India, the German airline, Lufthansa, too has incorporated some quintessential aspects of Indian culture in its service. Recognising the centuries-old cultural affinity between the two countries, Lufthansa now provides a rich experience of Indian hospitality to all flyers on board its flights to and from India. You can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalized by Lufthansa to the extent that they are More Indian Than You Think. To experience Lufthansa’s hospitality on your next trip abroad, click here.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.