Aussie is at it again. Not content with smashing all the test playing nations on the pitch – he is intent on sinking to new levels in the sledging stakes.
It wouldn't be so bad if it were not so indicative of both the Australian attitude towards cricket and (more importantly) the inability of the cricket authorities to do anything to obviate their more unacceptable practices.
Although most international teams seem to engage in sledging now-a-days, it is beyond contention that the Australians are the most abusive. When I first read about this one - I just couldn't believe it!
“If that seems over the top, it was child's play compared to comments allegedly directed at New Zealand's Chris Cairns by two Australian players. It was claimed the players had made "choo choo" noises at Cairns, whose sister had been killed in a recent train accident. The story was denied by all parties.”
This clearly isn't sledging. What it is is just plain unacceptable. Say something like this in a public bar and you might get a mouthful of teeth!
This is just about as bad!
During a WSC final at the SCG where the game had been shortened due to rain and the atmosphere was running at about 95% humidity a very exhausted Arjuna Ranatunga appealed that he had "sprained" something. He duly asked the umpire for a runner. As clear as a bell through the effects mic you heard Healey's legendary reply, "You don't get a runner for being an overweight, unfit, fat c#$%"
This is unacceptable because of the abusive language. For heaven's sake, footballers get booked for this kind of language! It should not be allowed on a cricket pitch.
Another example along the same lines
Sledging can be plain amusing. It's unlikely Merv Hughes was thinking tactically when he told a struggling English batsmen: "I'll bowl you a f***ing piano, ya Pommie pooftah. Let's see if you can play that."
This one might just be on the borderline, but only because it is a man's game and it is amusing, so the unacceptable language might be almost Ok.
Of course, sledging is not confined to cricket.
The right words can intimidate and demoralise. In 1989, a young Phil Kearns packed down opposite the All Black rough nut Sean Fitzpatrick. Amid the grinding of shoulders, Kearns became aware he was being spoken to: "What are you doing here, Kearns? You don't belong here. You're just a little boy. Why don't you go home to mummy?"
Sometimes sledging can get a reaction the perpetrator wasn't expecting!
In 1994, Allan Border told South African all-rounder Brian McMillan: "For a big bloke, you don't bowl very fast." He got no reaction - until lunch, when McMillan burst into the Australian dressing room and told Border to repeat the slur while the South African pointed a pistol at Border's head.
Last word goes to Warne, who is, by all accounts, very quick to dish it out – but can't take it?
Sledging is often personal. One reason Warne is quick to taunt Cullinan is that the South African is fond of making remarks about Warne's girth - "Leave us some lunch, fat boy" being one of his favourites. Similarly, Ian Healy once became frustrated with an overweight batsman from a South African provincial side who seemed not the least interested in scoring runs. Eventually Healy called to the bowler: "Why don't we put a Mars bar on a good length to see if we can lure him out of his crease?"
Unfortunately, the latest Aussie escapades are clearly just not on. Leaving any joking aside, the charge that they have overstepped the mark in defence of their Aboriginal player, Andrew Symonds, is a bit rich. After dishing it out on a racial basis (see the above examples) are they now saying that calling Symonds a monkey is going too far?
Actually he does look like a monkey. But, is this a racial remark? Probably not. Boxers are often tagged with the epithet of “a big gorilla”. Is this racist? If an Indian spinner is described as whirling his arms “like a dervish” - is this grounds for an inquiry?
Methinks the Aussies doth protest too much.
The real question, in my eyes, is where are the umpires in all this?
Replaced. At least Steve Bucknor was.
It's long past time that the authorities supported the umpires and put a stop to all but the obviously imaginative or humorous sledging.
It really is getting to be a joke!
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