It is sledging on the field. Mind games off it. Alastair Campbell might even call it spin. The Australians are old pros at it. The English try to maintain a stiff upper lip in the face of it.
It has started already - though some might say it never went away - and we are still a little less than a week away from the second Test in the Ashes series at Edgbaston.
The first volleys were fired across the bows of young Ian Bell - one of England's most exciting prospects with a bat for many years.
Adam Gilchrist launched the attack - via an Australian newspaper a nice safe distance away - when he suggested that Bell had been unable to deal with the problems presented by Shane Warne.
It was a mind thing, contended Gilchrist, doubtless trying to infiltrate the thoughts of the young Bear before the start of the next Test next Thursday morning.
Gilchrist said Warne had exploited Bell's inexperience by "getting inside his head."
The Australian wicketkeeper added: "We've all seen it ourselves, particularly against the spinning ball. It feels as if it is a lottery when are you are playing it."
Gilchrist said batsmen could only hope to survive the initial stages of the attack and become familiar with the surroundings, settling in to their innings.
"Bell wasn't able to do that," he said. "I can't comment on his mindset, but you would have to think there is a mental stranglehold thrown on there on probably everyone."
Warne exerts great pressure with his stranglehold. Many great English batsmen - Alec Stewart (14 times), Nasser Hussain (11), Mike Atherton (10) and Graham Thorpe (9) - have fallen prey to the guile of Warne. So Bell should feel no disgrace in being dismissed in similar fashion for eight runs in his second innings.
It is, however, unlikely that Bell will fall foul of Warne as often as his forerunners.
And he showed remarkable maturity for a 23-year-old in refusing to enter into a slanging match. Instead, he flat-batted the criticism by saying he did not feel out of his depth against either Warne or McGrath.
"It was only my fourth England cap," Bell said, "and I had never experienced anything like it before."
Bell will feel more comfortable on his home track. He will enjoy a hearty support. He might not say it but he will also enjoy the chance to make Gilchrist eat his words. Spin or no spin.