Sunday, December 17, 2006

To sledge or not to sledge

Ian Chappell introduced it. Well no, Percy Sledge introduced it, thanks to his epic "When a man loves a woman". Today, almost everyone does it. The Indians too get in on the act.

Sledging is an artefact of cricket. It is here. I dislike it. But it is here. And it will stay. Steve Waugh called it "mental disintegration". It is when a player (typically from the fielding team -- and more often than not, the bowler or the wicketkeeper) insults the batsman to mentally disturb the latter's concentration. It is a form of gamesmanship that I detest.

However, when the Indians sledge it is often seen as incorrect. Yet, when sledged, if Nel hangs his cheek out, Nel is seen as being fiesty or cheeky! Duh! Where's the logic?

Let me state very clearly that I am not a fan of sledging in any shape or form. I hate it when Nel carries on. I dislike it when Sreesanth carries on. I detest it when McGrath carries on. It is just not a pretty sight and is a blight on cricket.

However, it does happen. One has a choice here. Either you are in it. Or you are not.

If you are in it, you just need to jump in head, feet and all. There are no half measures. And as they say, when you throw a stone in the gutter, expect a splash!

Samir Chopra, in his blog seems to indicate that Indians should not sledge. He asks the Indian team to take Jacques Rudolphs' comments seriously! Ahem! Why? If anything, I'd ask the Indians to get better at it. If Sreesanth wishes to sledge, good luck to him. He needs to ensure that that instrument works effectively for him!

Rudolph talked about Sreesanth's sledging as an act of "stupidity"! Hmmm! I wonder what he makes of Nel's antics?

I'd get the Indian team management to offer lessons in sledging. Those who are interested in adding this arrow to their quiver should take it up and refine this through diligent practice.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mohan, I'm only now getting around to responding to your post (and thanks very much for the comment on my blog).

    I didn't say that Sreesanth shouldn't sledge; I think he should in as classy a way as possible. I just thought he should back it up with the ball in the tests that lay ahead (which he did in ample measure!). You'll recall that that was the sum of Rudolph's comments as well (he expressed himself differently but clearly Sree had gotten under his skin).

    Also, I don't think Indians shouldn't sledge. They just need to calibrate it. In the examples I mentioned, it seemed to me they had lost their temper and ran the risk of being thrown off their games.

    BTW, were you a regular on and the mailing list crickind? And did you write a long article describing your experiences at the MCG when India toured in 2003-4?