Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sledging sets Cricket on Fire!!!

Sledging has been around, probably ever since Cricket has been around!!! Steve Waugh called it 'Mental Disintegration', an attempt to give a good name to the practice!! Sledging is a tactic that teams use to intimidate the opposing player or to make him lose his concentration and do something, which he would not, in normal circumstances. The sledges are often humorous that spice up a dull game but sometimes there are stares, glares and abuses. The goal of sledging is to cause passions to flow in the batsmen that will help to upset the batsman's positive outlook and poise. One of the greatest joys of watching Cricket is when a genuine fast bowler is breathing fire down the batsman's throat and after the batsman plays and misses a few, the bowler gives him a lesson or two in batting!!!

What's the main requirement of sledging?? The main requirements are a Sharp Mind and a Fiery Tongue!!! The sharp mind coupled with a fiery tongue gets the best out of the cricketers and mostly the sledging incident leads to guffaws and peals of laughter from all concerned players!!! What better player to start a topic on sledging than W G Grace!! He was a master of the game and used his sharp mind and fiery tongue to get him out of sticky situations...
  • Once when he was clean bowled, he calmly replaced the bails and told the umpire "Young man, they have come to see me bat, not you Umpire!!!"
What can be more sticky for a batsman than getting out!! And how he used his fiery tongue and sharp mind to get out of it!! But it is often said that you generally find your match eventually and even someone who surpasses you!
  • Once it so happened that, When the ball knocked off a bail, W G Grace replaced it and told the umpire "Twas 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."

Dr. W G Grace, One of the earliest legends of the game
A Fiery Doctor

Dr. W G Grace would never walk and sometimes, it is said, even the umpires gave him the benefit of the doubt! This one involving W G Grace is my personal favorite... Here it goes...
  • Charles Kortright had dismissed him four or five times in a county game - 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."
Its incidents like this that marked the career of one the earliest greats of the game - Dr. W G Grace. This incident reportedly had everyone in gags as a sheepish W G Grace made his way back to the pavilion!!!

Another player who prominently used sledging to good effect was the big built with the most fabulous mustache - the Aussie paceman Merv Hughes, also known as Big Merv!! Here are two sledging incidents involving his fiery tongue and sharp mind!!
  • On a day of repeated plays and misses for Robin Smith, Hughes retorted "Mate, if you turn the bat over, you'll see the instructions on the back."
The Man with the fiery mustache, Merv Hughes
A Fiery Character

  • Javed Miandad once told Big Merv he looked like a ticket collector on a bus... When Merv got him out he ran past him and shouted "Ding Ding, Tickets please".
I still burst out with laughter imagining the big man uttering those words!! Even the fielders must have had a hard time controlling their amusement. Surely Merv had a great sense of humor and coupled with the sharpness of the mind and a fiery tongue, it made for great viewing!!!

Now two involving Shane Warne! Another Aussie! Man, these Aussie's are taking all the pedestals as far as sledging is concerned!!
  • Australia enjoyed some great rivalry with the South Africans and once as the South African batsman Daryll Cullinan was on his way to the wicket, Warne told him that he had been waiting two years for another chance to humiliate him. The South African batsman's response? "Looks like you spent it eating"
The Bad boy of Australian cricket,
never shy of having a chat with the batsman - Shane Warne
A Fiery Bloke

  • As Warne was trying to tempt portly Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga out of his crease, Ian Healy suggested "Putting a Mars Bar on a good length". Apparently Ranatunga's response was even better. David Boon (another portly Aussie player) was fielding at short leg, so Ranatunga quipped that Boony would get to the Mars Bar first!
Definitely the second incident must have drawn laughs from everyone! Its a great example of the sharpness of mind and a fiery tongue! If Warne was sharp and fiery then Ranatunga proved to be sharper and fierier!!!

I will reserve my last incident for the man who not only batted in the most fierce manner but had a great sense of humor. One of the best players to have ever played the game, West Indian batsman Viv Richards. It is said that no bowler dared to sledge him as he punished them hard for their misdemeanor!! But bowlers being bowlers, sometimes could not control themselves and paid the price!!

Bowlers never dared to sledge Sir Vivian Richards,
when they did... they were thrashed!!
A Fiery Maaan
  • In a county game against Glamorgan, Greg Thomas attempted to sledge Vivian Richards after he had played and missed at several balls in a row. He informed Richards "It's red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering." Richards hammered the next delivery out of the ground and into a nearby river. Turning to the bowler, he commented "Greg, you know what it looks like, now go and find it!!!"
So sledging definitely has its own charm in the sport of cricket and without it the sport would miss something! Definitely the players should not cross the line and hurl abuses towards the opposing players family... But light hearted banter is always welcome!! Humor may be used to just as good effect as abuse for the point of unsettling batsmen!

Reading all these stories of cricket matches of the years gone by is to be reminded over and over again, that cricket matches have always featured chatter in the middle, that grown men, when thrown into close competitive proximity will often find ways to express a variety of emotions... Aided by a fiery tongue and a sharp mind, we get some of "THE MOMENTS" in sports...

PS - Images courtesy -- 1st, 3rd, 4th, 2nd

PPS - This was my entry to the contest on Indiblogger - Sets You On Fire

If You Like it then please Promote it Here - Sledging sets Cricket on Fire!!!


Ranjith (SRGF) | A light hearted talk said...

You have a very sharp mind that you have successfully managed to link the topic to your blog's theme in a decent way. I think that you have much better tactics than what the cricketers mentioned by you possessed, :-)

sriramnivas said...

Sledging is not good for the game of cricket. I believe, Australians are good in it......Indians should learn from them!!!

DS said...

@ Ranjith
Its always good to write on contests in such a way that they revolve around your blogs theme.
Thanks for your comment.

DS said...

@ sriramnivas
Sledging as such is not such a bad thing as you can see from above examples, its only when the players get personal with the sledges that things tend to go awry.
And before learning sledging from the Aussie's we must learn their never say die attitude and competitive spirit.

Thousif Raza said...

I think it was really good write up :) i iked it. I have seen plenty of cricket matches but reading the quotes and the sledging part was new to me. It was an interesting and enjoyable read. The only point is, there was no fieryness(if u can call it a word :P) in it. It was there but it wasnt to the fullest extent..

But i liked the post :) it was good read, very interesting.

Take care and keep writing........

N.S.Kirti said...

i had to read this twice to understand the concept.(i love learning new things btw)
A merryy Christmas to you!
hey, i nominated you for "versatile Blogger Award!" here is the post:

animesh said...

Haha, I am not a Cricket fan but always made it a point to watch India Pak matches. I don't even watch them also as they seem to be so empty and dry without all those fights and so called sledging.
Story in pieces

Anonymous said...

W.G. Grace was something else!!! Heard so many stories about him from my father...sledging then is not what sledging is now. It used to be a fun thing. Like John McEnroe made tennis fun ;) Now it is plain sad. And immature. No fiery tongue, just bad spirit.

Nice post by the way! Great concept for the contest.

DS said...

@ Tousif Raza
Mate, it was not about fieriness! It was about sticky situations! Now what can be more sticky situation for a batsman than when he gets out or when he is surrounded by 10 opposing players who are having a go at him... Its in these situations that the sharp mind and fiery tongue come to the rescue!!
Thanks for liking the post:)

DS said...

@ NS Kirti
From next time read my posts in leisure time and not while doing physics lessons, you will understand them in one go :P
And many Thanks for the award:)

DS said...

@ animesh
Even today India Pakistan matches have lots of incidents and spicy moments... Though not as much as from days gone by...

DS said...

@ Antara
Yeah, those were different days, cricket was not a professional game...
Now a days there is mostly bad spirit but you can always find a lotus growing somewhere in the muck!!!
Glad you loved the concept and post though:)

Chapters From My Life said...

Javed Miandad has been one cricketer though good with bat, I have totally disliked. Always. But it was fun when he played in Australia. It was always controversies galore.
Good luck!

Abhi said...

Great post,DS. As long as it is not serious and humour is involved, I think sledging is okay.

DS said...

@ Farida
Yeah, remember how Javed once charged towards Dennis Lillee with the bat...
He was a motor mouth!!!

DS said...

@ Abhi
Thanks Abhi. This is the point I am trying to put forward through my post. Glad you understood it.

Indrani said...

I don't understand the technicalities of good cricket, nevertheless this was an interesting read! Wish you the best for contest!

Animesh said...

Yeah, Indo-Pak matches have incidents today also, but they are no more fun anyway for they lack the actual passion which we are used to see. They seem to be too kiddish in fact.

Unknown said...

It shud be done in a sporting manner without hurting the feelings of the opponent..
its fine upto a certain level..

DS said...

@ Indrani
Thanks:) Best wishes to you too.

DS said...

@ Animesh
I disagree with you on this. The passion and the tension is huge today! The recent Afridi-Gambhir incident or the Shoaib-Harbhajan spat are a proof...
Even the semi final of the 2011 one was a high voltage one.

DS said...

@ Manish
Thats true. One must not cross the line. Little bit of chit chat and friendly banter is good.

Subhorup Dasgupta said...

Loved reading this, though I am not a cricket obsessive, but all the people and most of the incidents you wrote about are stuff that has been part of my life, so I could relate and enjoy. The nature and pace of cricket has changed a lot. All the protests by the purists has not been able to prevent that change. It is likely that in the madmax future, there will be rules for sledging as it will be accepted as part of the game. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! All the best for the contest too.

DS said...

@ Subhorup
Glad you loved the post. I am a purist at heart too (I love test cricket more than T20) but then sledging was always a part of the game and will always remain so...
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too:)

Nitin Jain said...

nice post ! Sledging can be uncalled for sometimes, must be annoying for those at the receiving end ! I guess working under pressure, amidst competition, with lot of money at stake, to carry forward the age old rivalry, people hard work and sometimes when they hop on the bad luck ride, tends to sledge, abuse. Sometimes its annoying, sometimes entertaining, sometimes inappropriate, sometimes against the rule of the game !!

ra said...

i love it when players start sledging .. it makes the more all more exciting...i remember the brwal between shahid and gambhir and then between shoaib and bhajji ..

brings out the real you :P


DS said...

@ Nitin
Your last line sums it up perfectly... Sometimes its annoying, sometimes entertaining, sometimes uncalled for and indeed sometimes against the spirit of the game.

DS said...

@ rahul
Yeah, it surely does spice up a game. And those incidences were really fiery, the Gambhir-Afridi spat went a bit too far in my view though.

Arti said...

I actually love sledging! It fires the game up and the audience too. I think I may not be a big fan of the game to be saying this, coz sometimes the situations do tend to go out of control. But yeah, a light hearted banter as described by you, is always welcome and sure does heat up the atmosphere more! Yes, sledging does need a sharp mind and a fiery tongue, very well compiled DS.. This was a very good read, enjoyed it! All the very best :-)

DS said...

@ Arti
Thanks for liking the post. When famed bloggers like you say that, my joy is doubled. I already feel like a winner after getting so many encouraging comments.
Your thoughts nicely echo my too!!

Deguide said...

Richards i watched him getting hit on his cheeks by Rodney hoggs bouncer, the next ball was contemptuously sent over the ropes. Similarly when we played against Anglo Indians practise matches they used to sledge after being drugged out. I used to slam each and every bowler beyond recognition, all sledging vanished. That is how the batsmen should behave. Regarding crowd behaviour it can be really irrational and one has to take in their stride or play to the gallery like Randall.

DS said...

@ Deguide
That is one Richards story I did not know about!
About the crowd behaviour, as a player, I feel it is best to turn a deaf ear to the taunts and abuses.

sam said...

yo yo nice pic collection..
awesome work dude..
Just for change. check out my fiery post also..
all the best :)

DS said...

@ sam

Kajal said...

and these moments create more excitement.. the glares// the mumbling under the breath.. wow.. DS you have made a non cric. fan like me READ the entire post and not only that you made it a delightful read too :)

cricketfootballquiz said...

Writing about sledging, you ought to have mentioned how Sachin Tendulkar countered it. I vividly remember how once repetitive sledging by McGrath was met by leaves and a simple "I don't give a damn Style' by Sachin.. Thats how the response should be.