We have a bowling coach and a fielding coach. What we really need is a sledging coach, preferably an Aussie.
Look at the irony: the Aussies are the acknowledged masters of sledging and it is Sreesanth who has to rein himself in. Dhoni said before this series that the Indians would more than match the Aussies in “chit-chat”, which according to him does not even require much talent. But his team has already come out a poor second not just in the game but gamesmanship too.
Sreesanth is accused of taking things too far. But if you look at how it affected the Kochi game, his taunt, however crude, came after Symonds' dismissal. Compare that with Mathew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist initiating a verbal exchange with Harbhajan Singh, who jumped out and got himself stumped off the very next ball. A wicket, no penalties, and Gilchrist's post-match homilies on behaviour to Sreesanth on top of everything. So who's winning this contest?
The issue is why the ICC lets a fielding side disturb the concentration of a batsman, through abuse, provocation or even banter. It should not be a matter of degree – all forms of it should be labelled for what it really is: cheating. And the umpires are aware of all that is said or done on the field, not just the instances picked up on camera or mike.
Can you imagine in a game of golf whispering obscenities into an opponent’s ear when it’s his turn to tee off? Or take tennis, where the calculated tantrums of McEnroe and Nastase have become history because of zero tolerance.