Sledging? Go for it: Smith
Australian captain Steve Smith raised the temperature Tuesday ahead of the first Test against India, calling on his players to "go for it" with the verbal volleys and on-field aggression.
India-Australia series are notoriously feisty affairs -- the 2008 contest Down Under was almost called off following the infamous "Monkeygate" incident as animosity between the old foes threatened to boil over.
There was then further bad blood during India's Test and one-day series in Australia prior to the 2015 World Cup when heated on-field exchanges led to several players being penalised.
But the day after his team landed, Smith urged his players to do whatever it takes for Australia to win their first Test match in India since 2004 when the sides clash on February 23 in Pune.
"I think each of our individuals play the way they play and if they want to get into a battle verbally then, if that gets the best out of them, go for it," he told reporters in Mumbai.
"It's all about us making sure that as individuals we're in the right mindset to go out and succeed and if guys want to get in those kind of battles then go for it.
"But in the end it's about us playing on skill and making sure that our skills are in the best place for us to succeed in these conditions," added the 27-year-old.
Relations between the old foes neared breaking point nine years ago when Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was suspended for three matches for allegedly calling Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds a "monkey" during the New Year's Test in Sydney.