Sledging – bind or be blind?

The two greatest rationale and philosophy of our times, capitalism and democracy, are based on the idea that individuals, through their actions based on self-interest, will drive forces towards the most beneficial state for inviduals and/or society as a whole. In extending this thinking to the cricketing field and the current controversy over sledging, is it not best that the cricketers themselves decide what is acceptable and not acceptable to them, through their actions on the field, instead of expecting an external body such as ICC to define it for them? This thinking takes the exterme opposite view of what Harsha Bhogle tries to recommend in his article in The Times of India.

My sincere opinion is that cricketers should be allowed to use sledging, without any constraints, irrespective of how offensive it is. Most people take offense because they might feel ill-equipped in the approved forms of retaliation. In the newly recommended open environment, one can use whatever means one has, to retaliate. In a bizzare way, nothing will eventually be offensive to anyone, since its free for all. I look at it as a positive development in line with the ongoing changes that cricket has embraced in Twenty20, IPL and Technology.

Also, with every control that has been vested in the hands of the ICC, there have been perceptions of inconsistency and impotence felt by stakeholders of the game across the globe. In the interests of the game and a practical step forward, I feel its best that the players are let loose on each other in the center, so that the public is relieved of the after shocks. This brings to an abrupt end, months of debate and platitudes over whether someone or some society is racist or not, whether a certain person was as severely punished as another etc. I am positive that with each sledging act in the field, players will yell the choicest of abuses at each other without any interruptions from any players or officials, and when the energies are exhausted in that act, each will take their stance to bat or bowl or field the next ball and the game will move on.

– Bharath

8 responses to “Sledging – bind or be blind?

  1. Pingback: To bind or to be blind?? | Technology

  2. Totally agree Bharat. If we can’t tape players’ mouths, let’s have a blood-fest that is totally devoid of all civility. People talk of there being “lines in the sand”. But whose sand? Whose line? Why is your line better than mine? Just let it rip and go for each other in a free-for-all slug-fest…

  3. LOL. And maybe the players should wear microphones as well for the TV audiences to hear 🙂

    BTW – I liked this closing line from an article in The Australian:

    As always, Australia likes to bowl bouncers and is offended when the opposition doesn’t bowl half-volleys in return.

    Sums up how the Aussies like to dish out sledges, but can’t handle it when it comes their way

  4. Aware that your post is quite tongue-in-cheek…

    In the wake of Ben Johnson, I recall a discussion about opening up all athletics to drug-taking so that it was all in the open.

    That was abhorrent then, much as this proposed descent into foul mouthed barbarity is.

  5. As an experimental basis this can be started during the IPL. The games are T20s and they should begin only at 9.00 pm. Ths will classify it as late night television and parents need not worry about children being exposed to the choice abuses being delivered on field and heard via the mics. An ‘A’ certification can also be added to the telecast.

    A special children’s category of the telecast can be re aired the next day with the epithets being edited out.

  6. There was a lot of talk during the Harbhajan-Symonds altercation at Sydney about not bringing into the open, whatever happens on the cricket field. This seems to be a reasonable suggestion, unless a sledging session in the middle turns into an ugly brawl.

    What Hayden did was unfortunate as he was speaking in public and it does not behove one who is representing his country to make such remarks on competing players in any manner. CA was right to pull him up.

    We do have stump microphones in most matches nowadays, but these have had to be turned off due to the excessive number of expletives used.

    A code of conduct strictly regulated by the ICC through the on field umpires seems essential to avoid the wonderful game of cricket from degenerating into what we see on a soccer field or ….

  7. Srikanth Mangalam

    Good luck with the idea…It is only a matter of time before exchange of verbal blows end up in exchange of blows! Ice hockey is a true testimony to that.

  8. Sreekanth,
    My blog was purely in reference to managing sledging in the game. I am not recommending that its free for all in every respect. Physical blows should be dealt with in the same manner as it is being dealt with today.
    What has come to limelight is the impracticality and impotency of the ICC rules. It has not reflected on any of the players, in my view. Most ICC improvisations in non-tehnical areas have been absolute rubbish. Example, to reprimand a batsmen or bowler for showing dissent with an umpire, reminds me of the false respect I had to show towards my teachers during my high school days. If I truly respected a teacher for his abilities, I didnt need the school to tell me how to respect him/her. Along the same lines, my disrespect was aggravated by having to demonstarte the contrary in front of the teacher by force. Umpires were respected by players in the past and are continued to be respected even today at the same level. Players do not need ICC to teach them that. But ICC has taken an additional responsibility of using a microscope and a timer to see if a batsman/bowler twitched an unwanted muscle in his face, a tad bit to the right or left that is not approved in their manual, or if they stayed or appealed longer than the 3.47 seconds approved in the manual. If violated, with absolutely no room for compromise, a stern stick is let loose by the officials. I think every player is human at first, with feelings and emotions like everyone of us. To show displeasure, disappointment, anger at being given wrongfully out or not out, as the case maybe, will stir emotions. After all, they are humans. To expect them to be super humans is being outright stupid in expectation. So what if the players stays a few seconds longer and stares at the umpire? After all, the decision will stand anyway. Let the player have his moment. The game will move on. Every player knows that the umpires are humans and will make mistakes. I am sure people will try to show Steve Bucknor’s example to drive home some contrary point. Bucknor was a repeat offender and had lost his respect among players, not in India alone. ICC should have given him a graceful retirement much earlier, when his judgement started dwindling. At one point, he was very good umpire famous for his long evaluation before raising the finger.
    ICC, BCCI, CA et al – these are organizations that need to concentrate more on administrative activities rather than redifining the rules of the game and meddling with the day to day conduct of the players. Let the players, who are the largest stakeholders in this equation, decide what makes them deliver the best cricket on the field, and not the officials.

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