PAUL NIXON has quickly become the vocal point of England's campaign in the Commonwealth Bank Series.
Wicketkeeper Nixon, 36, has established himself as sledger-in-chief this winter, which has proved a real Indian summer for one of county cricket's most prominent characters.
Nicknamed `The Badger' - "because I'm mad for it" - he is scheduled to continue his barking of encouragement to teammates and verbal challenge to the opposition with a fourth cap against New Zealand at the Adelaide Oval tomorrow and a possible World Cup slot.
Given his over-flowing enthusiasm for the game, there was no chance Nixon would die wondering after being given such a late chance at the top level - and he has wasted no time getting stuck in, most notably when he launched his extraordinary invective at Australia's Michael Hussey, who refused to walk after nicking behind at the Gabba on Friday.
"As a wicketkeeper you are the heartbeat of a team, and a wicketkeeper's energy sets the standards," said Nixon. "I will be the first to give guys a bit of stick on the pitch and the first to buy guys a beer off it.
"That is the way to play the game over here, it is what sport is all about.
"In the heat of the battle `Huss' wants to win the game, and that is exactly what I want to do.
"If I feel strongly that he's nicked it and not walked I will give him a bit of stick. The Aussies would be exactly the same if it was the other way around."
Nixon makes no apologies for his approach.
"If I get under other people's skin then that's their prerogative," he said.
"He's an absolutely magnificent player, in the peak of his form - and I respect that. It is part of my job to try to get `Huss' - who is very mentally strong - off his game.
"It is easy for him to say that it spurs him on, because he won the game. If he had nicked off and been given it's a very different story."