Thursday, October 4, 2007

A sledge is a sledge is a sledge

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.

10 comments:

Soulberry said...

Sreesanth was out of line, should channelize it differently, but the Oz get away with as much. Only, since they are past masters and experts at all aspects of the game, they cleverly conceal filth behind a straight face and blase attitude.

Harbhajan is no snithc or wimp as Ricky tries to paint him and cover up his own team's tripe. That they are winning everywhere probably brings about this presumption in their little kernels that they can do what they want to others and when others react they are laughed at.

I will have no sympathies for the Oz men...they may be good players, I'll admire their game, but pretty rotten with their own manipulations and behaviour.

Cricket Guru said...

Th problem, SB, is that we try to blindly ape the oz. You cannot beat the Aussies with their own brand of cricket. As you say, they are masters at it.

Why are we trying to 'look' aggressive? The best and the most simple retort would be let your bat and ball do the all the talking.

I liked what 'Uncle J Rod' said in his post, 'People didn’t sledge Tendulkar when he was at his best because if you spoke to him he made sh!t loads of runs.'

John said...

Soulberry,
I don't think you made it this clear on my blog. There is a response to your comment which merits attention.

Anyway, toning down his antics hasn't helped our man Sree. But if we drop him, we have the possibility of an all left-arm pace attack. Which I somehow don't enjoy the prospect of. I also suspect that Sree knows this too well, and could be taking his place in the side for granted. Time to throw Ishant Sharma into the fray, I say. Or hope that Munaf comes back completely rehabilitated.

Cricket Guru said...

John,

I doubt whether Sree has reached that stage where he can take his place for granted.

Hopefully, experience will mellow him and make him understand that there is no better 'sledge' than taking a wicket.

Sumit Chakraberty said...

cricket guru, if our team is going to do the talking with only bat and ball, while the aussies also use distraction of batsmen as a tactic, then the contest is going to be even more uneven. our players have to learn how to sledge effectively, to gain wickets from it, and also get away with it, as long as the icc does not acknowledge that teams are using it to cheat. the problem is our board does not understand what's really happening, and there's no savvy coach even to back up our players. it's shameful our board pulls up our players instead of systematically taking up with the authorities all instances of indians being sledged, even if they're not caught on cam. every instance of sledging on the field should be immediately brought to the attention of the umpire and then taken up with the match referee... as for sachin, i can remember many an occasion when mcgrath got the better of sachin after provoking him. of course, they also know when to lay off, so as not to fire up a batsman with adrenaline - the key is to be in control in order to be artful and effective in sledging.

Soulberry said...

Aw John...let us not presume criminality and innocence as per convenience. We all know how cricket fields are. I find it un-mildly amusing when someone goes to the press to say otherwise about their team.

I think even Zimbabwe finds a sledge if they can, provided the situation is appropriate.

Let's leave that alone...there are bad acts on the field and there are good ones like Sangakkara walking off today.

The "beauty" was Sangakkara was still sledged by Robert Croft in his Sky Sports commentary for walking off like a gentleman!...Luckily for him, he was sitting among saner men who didn't buy his line.

Just let the game do the talking rather than the microphone. Then the "sledge" has the unquestionable stamp of a champion.

Stuart said...

Sledging is an interesting issue. I think the verbal abuse stuff is stupid, and most players say that it doesn't actually affect them that much. It is the "psychological" impact of comments that is really effective.

I was reading the other day about Jayasuriya getting incredibly upset (and out soon afterwards) when Matt Hayden called out to the bowler "look he's changed his grip, he must be struggling". That isn't sledging in any way, but it got under Sanath's skin, and he got out. Australia never sledged Brian Lara, cause it simply focused his mind on the job and he kicked their arse.

Sumit Chakraberty said...

stuart, the other point is why the game tolerates distraction of any sort - abuse or psycho. it doesn't happen in baseball, does it?

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