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This article was first published 20 years ago  » Cricket » To sledge or not to sledge?

To sledge or not to sledge?

By Prem Panicker
Last updated on: September 04, 2003 00:20 IST
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Rajesh: Nice article about sledging. I have only one complaint against the way sledging has been handled and that is the racist factor in all this. It has always been the case that the whites (Australia, South Africa, England, NZ to a extent too) have been let go and the players from Asia have been taken to task, this is clear even to a 10 year old, the bias.

I don't trust the ICC to change, they look like a bunch of morons to me. I wish our players could go after the McGraths, Slaters, Gibbses, Bouchers, Hussains, McMillans but our players would get punished and they would be let free. So, the only way we can get back at them is to maybe smile and swear in hindi or any native language or turn the other way, take the high road but kick their asses on the field and add insult to them by commenting in the post match interview or something like Sachin did after our world cup match against Pakistan.

Everytime I see it on TV, my blood boils literally. The sad part is that even umpires and match referees from Asia do it against our own, for example, Asoka De Silva and Ranjan Madugalle. I bet I can do a better job umpiring than De Silva, heaven only knows how he got be a international umpire in the first place.

Saeed Khalfay: Hogwash! Play like men!  It appears that all this is being timed for the Indian visit to Australia.  They are scared to death as to what awaits them  Otherwise, why bring it up now.  This has been going on for a long time, and Australians are not the only ones involved.  They may have been the most aggressive ones, but not the only ones.  This businsess of "sportsmanship" is full of .......  Most sports do not expect their participants to be gentlemen, honest, etc. 

We expect too much of the cricketers, and it is all based on so-called historical preception.  In cricket, we expect our players to walk off without showing any emotions even when the decision is an atrocious one agianst you.  I remember a West Indian wicket keeper being reprimanded (even suspended) for claiming a run-out illegally.  Nonsense!  Look at basketball, football, baseball, etc.  If a member of a team fools the referee/umpire into making an incorrect decision in his/her team's favor, it's considered outstanding heads-up play. 

No one says "unsportsman-like" or dishonest, stop it, punish him.  If a player (via verbal insults) tames the opposition, he is considered to be an outstanding "in your face" type, etc,....  ! It is all about money, fame and "honour in result".  So it is time we stopped quibbling about this issue.  If you cannot handle the heat then you don't belog in the kitchen (or whatever).

As regards "betting", etc, so far the only known cases have taken place in the sub-continent even if those involved include Australians and South Africans.  Again, it is all about money.  Why are we so defensive when it is pointed out that this is happening in our part of the world?  Let's face it, and root it out.  Don't ignore it because it is occurring pre-dominantly in our backyard.

But be prepared to read the sermons from the likes of Prem Panicker about how McGrath did this and that.  And how the referees were biased in not giving him harsher punishmement, etc.   At least I am sick of it.  And Panicker will be the first one to bring politics into sports, and consider it to be acceptable.  So, it is OK to tarnish the game by injecting politics, but it is a sin to say anything that may be considered "sledging".

FORGET IT, and grow up! 

Prem: My timing must be horribly off -- if the Aussie tour was the real intent behind this, I should have done this piece maybe three months down the line; played the stroke too early, I guess.

I am glad you feel the same way I do -- that the Aussies are not the only ones guilty of this, and that this has been going on for a long time. As I recall, that is exactly what I said -- that finger-pointing at one particular team or nation was counter productive.

So has crime -- I am not sure, though, that 'going on for a long time' is a good enough reason to turn a blind eye to it.

As to the other points -- I was not around when South Africa was sidelined in the name of apartheid; I can promise you that I had nothing to do with England's decision to boycott Zimbabwe during this recent World Cup, to cite just two recent examples; I disown any responsibility for India's one-time tennis boycott of the Republic of South Africa, in 1974, that led to us not playing the only Davis Cup final we reached; neither I nor any of my ancestors had anything to do with the US-led boycott of the Moscow Olympics or the Soviet-led reciprocal boycott that followed...

Leading from which, it is a bit late in the day for me to be injecting politics into sport -- it was injected, by more capable hands than mine, a long time ago and is today an integral part of it.

And finally, comes the question of being 'manly'. I don't know about you, but in my book, it is a poor 'man' who needs, in the guise of competition, to question the birth of his opponent, or suggest sexual acts involving the wives, mothers and daughters of said opponents.

R Ramasubramoni: It is time some action is taken against sledging and sledgers. Maybe we could borrow from soccer and hockey the concepts of green, red , yellow cards. These arguements of 'doing what it takes to win', 'we are professionals and winning is the aim' need to be whacked.

'Doing what it takes'-then go ahead and bring a knife, pistol if non-cricketing activities are ok with you. And if u reply 'i'm only using a few words' then try uttering the same words in front of a cop.

They say these fellas are professional (cricketers) and would do these things to play n win. But so am I, a professional, in software. AT my work I am supposed to give off my best but if I am found swearing n screaming thats my last day there. So it shld be for these guys, even on a criket field.

'Cos ultimately sport is followed since it is about the best of abilities and qualities that us people cant normally do. And here we have em putting up the worst behaviour. Or does it mean behaviour is not one of the things on display?

The McGrath incident is a case in point. Its high time the fella stopped his 'mental disintegration' or whatever his captain comes up with. Obviously the opponents r smarter and come up with fitting responses that leaves him screaming. He and the rest of the aussies r no angels and have no business whining abt it. Pretty soon cricket will be "R" rated.

The whole situation is aggravated by the fact that the match referees treat these incidents softly and similar cases differently based on the nationality of the players. Clearly not cricket

Shivaram Kumar: Simply Singing article. I absolutely agree with u. ITs high time the ICC act more in a pragmatic manner. The expletives have become a sort of cliche in the game, which most of teams think  and justify as a part of game. It just manages to create an inclement environment between players. Instead of simple givin time, the umpires must indeed be given more powers and asked to implement it. Something like a red card would be nice.

For the fielding team if any abuse from any1, the are removed off the field for the day's play, be it one day or Test and for that 1 day the fielding team must play with just 10 players, that player is not allowed into the game. IF its some 1 from bating team, same thing be done to him with immediate effect as to stop his batting and he cannot take the field. The team cannot field a substitute for him. If any player gets more than 2 red cards within a stipulated time interval, he must be given band for at least couple of months. Something like this would I believe help in ameliorating the playing environment.

H Paramu: Prem's article on sledging was simply superb and well said. If somebody in any office during the course of work utters an expletive to his colleague he'll be taken to task and chargesheeted. That's the case with any profession. Nobody should be allowed to get away simply because they are donning a cricketers attire. I think it is high time that the top bosses of cricket pay attention to this serious matter and punish who behave badly in the field and bring disrepute to the game.

It is a real pity that even our captain Sourav Ganguly did not support Sunil Gavaskar when he raised this issue. I can never forget the incident when Ricky Ponting abused Srinath , when Srinath apologized to Ricky after bowling a bouncer which hit him on his helmet. No self respecting Indian wille ever tolerate that. Cricketers have a responsibility to be good citizens and role models for the young generation.

Stephen Moras: Just leaving office, so gonna be short :-)

The solution is very simple..Use the football rules..Yellow n red card..

U think Australia wud like to play a Test match with a man short in its first innings becoz he was abusive?? i doubt it..Bowlers n batsmen wud think twice coz not only wud they get cautioned n the sent off, their team wud also be in a mess coz they wud be one man short. Now imagine McGrath being sent off, changes the whole picture of the game. This will simply result in less abuses.

Wud lov to see this implemented some day..

Prem: Right, in fact, I recall sometime last year, the card concept was discussed, in vague terms, by the cricket honchos themselves -- and then dropped, with no reason officially assigned. It is in fact the perfect solution -- put a price on misbehavior, and see how soon the 'heat of the moment' cools down.

Vijay: Time and again u show too much bias in Sachins case.Ur not even uttering a word on the Ferrari controversy, the reason u give amuses me, that so much has been said, so much has been said about Sledging, so much has been said about Indo Pak ties but u still keep writing about that over and over,but when it comes to Sachin just turn away, this isnt fair.

Prem: I don't suppose, Vijay, that you noticed that people were actually commenting on something I had said; in fact, I was the one who brought it up in here. Then again, if you seek bias, I am sure you will find it.

Samir Govind Pai: good to know you are back at something you are great at. well despite all the harackeri that the BCCI does i must adit that my admiration for Jagmohan Dalmiya grows by the day for his vision for cricket.

His corporate cup could just give cricket that one aspect that it lacks , a strong domestic cricket structre in any of the Test playing countries . tough england had a good system with it's counties, the game has to compte with a superior sport soccer and will die a eventual death in times to come.

I have always belived that it is India the commercial capital of cricket where domestic cricket can grow and the only way it can grow is if we have corporate professional teams taking part with free acess to top intertnational players.

A la premiere league the biggest benefeciaries of this would be domestic cricket players.

Anthony/Iran: I don't know if you still remember me..I was in Sony,Dubai and am now stationed in Iran deputed for an assignment here....forget films is difficult getting to watch cricket here...

Couple of years ago, if memory serves me right, you started a dicussion board about cricket with Harsha, sometime Faisal used to chip in and maybe went on for sometime and then it died down..maybe because Harsha left....again later, a column was started about cricket giving some interesting facts etc..on a regular basis and this too stopped...All of them were on cricket..

Now, I am happy to see you active with your articles in diverse topics...I hope atleast this time it will not stop..I am sure many readers follow your articles and are willing to eaarnest request is not to leave many of us faithful readers stranded midway!

Atleast, people like me in Iran or in some remote corners of the world who has access to internet but cannot watch or follow cricket etc..can count on your writing and debates on the rediff pages and follow the happenings in cricket and movies.

Prem: Hi, Anthony, good to hear from you, been a while. Hopefully, what we started here will continue.

Prashant/UK: For quite a long period (almost two years) Yuvraj Singh is playing for Indian One-day side with much of the consistency, determination and more importantly maturity. I think this is high time he should be given a chance in Test team. He is definitely as mature (if not more) as Sehvag. He is technically as sound (if not more) as Sehvag. He is one of the best fielders in India. He likes the responsibility.

He can be used as a part time spinner and that's an added advantage. I know he is not a great bowler. I have nothing against Sehvag (rather he is one of my most favourite players) I think we need positive players to win the matches. Players like Sehvag, Yuvi (apart from famous batting-trio) can change the match anytime. I'm sure you'll be shocked to here my next suggestion. I want Yuvi as opening partner to Sehvag. Opening day, first session of the Test match is very important. If we start a match on positive note most probably we'll end it on positive note too.

If you look at all successful teams like Aus, SA.... they got sold positive opening pair and not a defensive pair who just wants to survive. NZ tour is the most appropriate time to give him chance and to make him feel at home.

I'll be very much happy to hear, your comments on this.

Prem: I'm all for a positive, aggressive opening pair. Interestingly, the openers rated the best in the world today -- Hayden and Langer -- both started off as stodges, before reinventing themselves; today, their unbridled aggression gives the Aussies that edge right at the start.

Will Yuvi work in that slot? I donno -- I'd think at least part of the trick is to make sure a player you are shoving up the order is comfortable in that slot. Openers by inclination are one thing, but promoting a middle order player into the top slot can be tricky; if the batsman is not ready for the role, he fails -- and our selectors being what they are, the guy could well find himself out in the cold for the duration as a result.

Your Responses: Part Two

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