-By The Bayside Desk.
No, this is not a post that’ll tell you cricket is a gentleman’s game and sledging is against the spirit of the game. This is also not an article telling you that sledging is unnecessary and foolish. Sledging is part and parcel of today’s game. It all comes down to one simple fact. Knowing who is the stronger team. The stronger team is the one who should be doing the sledging. It doesn’t matter if you have the upper hand in two out of five days in a Test match; if you are not stronger, don’t sledge.
Case in point: Australia vs India, Brisbane, December 2014
At noon on Day 3 of the match, India had Australia down at 247/6. Mitchell Johnson who was having an out-of-sorts series so far, walked in. The whole Indian team had a go at him. Johnson cracked 88 and helped Australia get 196-run lead
At noon on Day 4 of the match, Australia had won the match.
Now, it doesn’t matter that India are an aggressive team now and that there have been moments in this series where an Indian win seems a certainty. The fact is, India are not stronger than Australia in Australia. When winners sledge, they aim to disturb the weaker team mentally. When weaker teams sledge, they take themselves so seriously that they forget to focus on what’s important: The Game.
When you are weak and you sledge, you get so angry that you forget to multi-task. Your brain says, “Ya toh cricket khelega ya sledge karega.” Everyone knows what happens if India chooses sledging.
There are two other conditions in which it is okay for you to sledge:
- If you are the worst batsman in your team, you know it and you are just out to have fun.
Case in point: Australia vs Zimbabwe
Glenn McGrath was bowling to Zimbabwe number 11 Eddo Brandes. Glenn McGrath, “Why are you so fat?” Brandes: “Every time I make love to your wife, she gives me a biscuit.” All the Australians fell down laughing.
- When you are the best batsman in your team, you know you are going to lose, but still turn in the performance of a lifetime.
Case in point: England vs Australia
Tony Grieg had bounced Dennis Lillee in the first innings of the 1974/75 Ashes Test in Brisbane. Lillee had vowed to make the English pay. Australia bowled England for 265 but Grieg hit a century. Throughout the match, Greig kept goading Lillee constantly, telling him “That’s four, go fetch that,” after he hit boundaries.
Which team won all these matches? Australia. That’s why we leave the sledging to them.