My hope is that one more Aussie win will return the Ashes to us.
Yet cricket is not a predictable game. And it can be overshadowed by outside issues. Such as sledging.
Sledging is sustained verbal banter (truthfully outright verbal abuse) designed to unsettle an opponent.
All players have encountered it. It is more pervasive than admitted. I rarely indulged in it. In all honesty I saw sledging as a waste of time.
Cricket is both physically and mentally adversarial. It was a complete surprise to hear opponents calling your names and saying they wanted you out. That’s why they did more than turn up for practice!
And most of the insults (sorry misdirected advice) were of a very poor standard indeed. Usually just silly sexist names and insults. Most (nearly all) weren’t funny.
So I rarely replied and only then to give coaching advice! “I’m just trying to keep him interested (after playing and missing at a wide ball)”. Apart from that I never really repeated much of what was said to me.
And I had an expectation that first grade, first class and international cricket would have a higher standard of verbal banter (sorry sledging). So with an hour to spare I quickly thumbed through Crickets Greatest Sledges. And finished it in 10 minutes.
Nope most of them I had heard before in under 16s and third and fourth grade. The best was a batsman telling a bowler to go fetch the ball after it was hit. I was told that at practice all the time !!
How disappointing !
And this highlights the problem with sledging. The standard just isn’t good enough. And it needs to be improved. In fact, Australia should aspire to be a world class country of sporting sledgers.
And starting with cricket, there should be more emphasis on improving this skill from junior cricket through first grade and into international cricket. A sporting program should be put together to train and educate cricketers to sledge better. An improvement in these skills would improve it as a spectacle.
But in my humble opinion, the best way to improve sledging is not for it to rely upon insults. There are only a limited number of insults (see above!).
The best way to improve sledging is to educate and train our sports people in the fine art of humourous verbal banter.
- Firstly, sportsmen and women will enjoy the game more and deal better with the games ups and downs!
- Secondly, their opponents will have to deal with the off putting effects of on field humour.
- Thirdly, all sportsmen and women will have a clear post game career path post sport as after dinner speakers, stand up comedians and authors.
- Fourthly and most importantly, the stump microphones can be left on ALL the time!
- Sledging: It’s just not cricket! (eddybramley.wordpress.com)
- Sledging isn’t confined to the cricket pitch – just ask Ed Balls (telegraph.co.uk)
- Sledging: how to deal with cricket’s ugly little secret (theguardian.com)
- Cricket: The Ashes: First the mockery, then the sledging; now the ground? (beyondrealisation.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 cricket sledges (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)