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Sledging: Hilarious cricket banter

By Rajneesh Gupta
April 13, 2020 19:40 IST
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Rajneesh Gupta picks fun sledging through the decades.
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Rishabh Pant

IMAGE: 'Have you ever heard of a temporary captain, Mayank?' Rishabh Pant asked Mayank Agarwal while welcoming Australian Captain Tim Paine to the crease. Photograph: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Sledging is a form of gamesmanship in which the opposition player is subjected to a verbal exchange with an intention to distract or rattle him/play with his emotions/get under his skin so that he loses his concentration.

In simple words, sledging is an attempt to put a player off his game.

The history of sledging is perhaps as old as the game of cricket.

The annals of cricket history are littered with instances of players taking a jibe at opposition team members to gain undue advantage.

Even the great W G Grace did it. And the great man didn't even spare the umpires.

Once in an exhibition match given out leg-before, he refused to walk and told the umpire: 'They came to watch me bat, not you bowl.' And the innings continued.

Once, when the ball knocked off a bail, he replaced it and told the umpire: 'T'was the wind which took thy bail off, good sir.'

The umpire replied: 'Indeed, doctor, and let us hope thy wind helps the good doctor on thy journey back to the pavilion.'

Sledging only adds extra spice to the charm of the game.

However, with the passage of time sledging has also undergone changes, with personal abuse/cuss words/taunts/expletives replacing friendly banter.

Steve Waugh's Australian side took this to a whole new level and called the tactic mental disintegration'.

There had been instances when the limit was crossed leading to some ugly scenes on the cricket field.

However, this two-part feature covers the funny side of sledging.

We look back at some of the hilarious sledges on the cricket field -- some are verified, some are not, but they will all tickle your funny bone.


W G Grace v Charles Kortright

In a county game Charles Kortright had dismissed W G Grace four or five times only for the umpires to keep turning down his appeals.

Finally, he uprooted two of Grace's three stumps.

Grace stalled, as though waiting for a no-ball call or something, before reluctantly walking off with Kortright's words in his ears: 'Surely you're not going, doctor? There's still one stump standing.'


Bill Woodfull v Douglas Jardine

During the controversial Bodyline series of 1932-1933, the English captain, Douglas Jardine, was said to have visited the Australian dressing room to complain bitterly to his counterpart Bill Woodfull that an Australian player had called him a bastard.

Woodfull turned to his team and asked: 'Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?'

This quote was later immortalised in the Bodyline television mini-series.

There are different versions of this tale. Some claim that Jardine was actually complaining on Harold Larwood's behalf to the Aussie vice-captain Vic Richardson (Ian and Greg Chappell's granddad, by the way).


Trueman v Aussie batsman

In an England versus Australia Test during the early 1960s Fred Trueman was fielding close to the gate from the pavilion.


As a new batsman came out he turned to shut the gate, Trueman said, 'Don't bother son, you won't be out there long enough.'


Mother (in law) of all sledges

In the 1980s Ian Botham returned early from a tour of Pakistan, and on radio joked, 'Pakistan is the sort of country to send your mother in-law to.'

Needless to say, the Pakistanis did not find this amusing, and when Pakistan defeated England in the 1992 World Cup final, Aamer Sohail told Botham, 'Why don't you send your mother-in-law out to play, she cannot do much worse.'


Viv Richards

IMAGE: The flamboyant West Indian great Viv Richards. Photograph: ALLSPORT/Getty Images

Viv Richards v Greg Thomas 

This incident took place during a county championship game between Glamorgan and Somerset.

Glamorgan quickie Greg Thomas had beaten Viv Richards's bat a couple of times and informed the legendary West Indian: 'It's red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering.'

The very next ball was given the King Viv treatment and smashed out of the ground, into a river at which point Richards piped up: 'Greg, you know what it looks like. Now go and find it.'


Ian Botham v Rod Marsh

Botham and Rod Marsh were known to be mates who would share a beer together.

In the 1982-1983 Ashes when England's heroic allrounder strolled to the crease in one match, he was greeted by Marsh with a cheery quip: 'How's your wife and my kids?'

Botham remained unperturbed and replied, 'The wife's fine, but the kids are retarded.'


Viv Richards v Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar

IMAGE: When Sunil Gavaskar walked out to bat at No 4. Photograph: ALLSPORT/Getty Images

In the Madras Test of the 1983/1984 series, Sunil Gavaskar decided to relinquish his opening position and come in at No 4.

But Malcolm Marshall fired out Anshuman Gaekwad and Dilip Vengsarkar for ducks, setting the stage for Gavaskar to walk in at 0/2. And he thought there would be less pressure!

'Man, it don't matter where you come in to bat,' Viv Richards quipped, ' the score is still zero.


Ian Botham v Rodney Hogg

Rodney Hogg lost his balance while bowling and fell at Botham's feet.

Botham: 'I know you think I'm great, Hoggy, but no need to get down on your knees.'


Javed Miandad v Dilip Doshi

One of the greatest batsmen of his era, Javed Miandad knew a thing or two about unsettling opponents (remember his frog jumping incident with Kiran More in the 1992 World Cup?).

In a Test at Bangalore, Javed was batting against Dilip Doshi, who was one of the hardest bowlers to hit.

Javed had tried everything -- the drive, the cut, the sweep, even going down the pitch to the crafty left-arm spinner -- but he simply wasn't able to get him away.

Suddenly in the middle of a fresh over, Javed started asking Dilip his room number. This went for quite some time and even when he was at the non-striker's end.

After some time, Dilip, who was making a comeback to the side and was concentrating hard on his bowling, couldn't take it anymore and exasperatedly asked him why he wanted his room number.

'Mere ko wahan chhakka maarna hai (I have to hit a six there),' Miandad replied.


Merv Hughes v Robin Smith

Smith played and missed while facing Hughes in the 1989 Lord's Test between England and Australia.

Hughes, never short of a word or two, told the Hampshire star: 'You can't f***ing bat, mate.'

Smith then smashed the next ball to the boundary and replied: 'Hey Merv, we make a fine pair. I can't f***ing bat and you can't f***ing bowl.'


Merv Hughes v Javed Miandad

The big fella popped up again with another classic, this time in the 1990 Adelaide Test against Pakistan.

Hughes and Miandad almost came to blows after the Pakistani batsman dared to call big Merv a 'fat bus conductor'. But revenge was sweet for Hughes.

A few balls later, he finally got his man and as Miandad walked past, he could not resist shouting, 'Tickets, please!'

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Rajneesh Gupta /

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