Ever since I began to write on cricket in the late 1980s** I held that sledging was a form of warfare that introduced imbalances into the cricket field. It enabled those better versed in verbal intimidation in all its manifest forms, whether jocular or threatening, to gain an edge over other teams less adept in the lingua franca of the field, namely, English. I argued then that it was a form of imperialism which advantaged the English-speaking sides versed in the art; and indicated that it would eventually lead the Asian sides to become a clone of the English-speaking Western imperialist “sledgers” (even sledging from Black guys originating from a Caribbean background). In brief Western power generated Westernized clones.
Thus, the argument was that sledging was a verbal killing on occasions. Jonathan Trott is a dead cricketer now – in part for other reasons, but also in part due to the sledging encountered at the Gabba. Read Michael Atherton in The Australian, 27 November 2013 or The Times.
Sledging is based on the principle of UNIVERSAL MAN. There is no such person. There are fundamental cultural differences which order the world’s interpersonal exchanges. As in a physical confrontation a verbal bout gives some people an advantage. Women in general will be at a disadvantage in a physical contest with a man. Not so in a verbal ‘argie-bargie’.
When ex-cricketer TV personalities, or anyone for that matter, relay funny tales of amusing acts of sledging, even exhilarating ones, they are deflecting attention by a focus on one end of the scale of sledging disparagement. They are being insouciant and hiding the verbal assaults and mental disintegration that has been – deliberately – exercised at the other end of the scale. They also hide the fact that in the past many of them – though not all: for e. g. Ian Bishop is not such a man – participated in this act of intimidation.
This form of complicit covering up was seen after the recent events in the First Test at Brisbane. Australian newspaper reporters – read the horrid fare in The Advertiser – brazenly supported the killer Australian cricketers from Michael Clarke to David Warner (and for that matter Jimmy Anderson). Steve Waugh is helping the world immeasurably with his charity work and money-collecting; but he believes in policies of ‘mental disintegration.” So, exit JonathanTrott from cricket field. OKAY!!
Or should it by Okay?????
This is my Okay with Question-marks.
The ICC has been piss-weak in implementing the DRS schemes (in all their variety) which contribute towards the leveling of the playing field – albeit not to 100% perfection. Both ICC and Match Referees (all — even Ranjan Madugalle and Roshan Mahanama – ex-cricketers covering up sins past and present) continue to soft-peddle misdemeanors by punishing cricketers with minute fines that amount to nothing.
Cricketing sides will only correct the imbalances prevailing today when the ICC and Match Referees intervene in the course of a game and sin-bin captain or player for a specified period or the rest of the match (or the next match). Matthew Wade was recently sin-binned for a whole (subsequent) game in the Sheffield Shield series for interfering with the pitch (and he is Victoria’s captain). Swift and severe cricketing punishment is a requisite for acts that would take one to court if committed on street or pub.
All of us can assist this process by either NOT relaying funny sledging tales OR by adding a horrid act of SLEDGE whenever we relate a funny one. Balance is the name of the game.
For reasons peddled way back, see Michael Roberts: ESSAYING CRICKET. SRI LANKA AND BEYOND, Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2006, ISBN 955-1266-25-0 or ISBN 955-1266-26-9 …….. Web: www.vijithayapa.com
The two images of Arjuna and the Catholic-Buddhist mix of Chaminda and Sanath are taken from this book –where fuller clarification is provided. Likewise the other two photographs below.
This book includes a section entitled ABUSE IN THE WORLD OF CRICKET
26. The Grunt, the Spit and the Snarl in Sports 96
27. Sin-Bin for Verbal Intimidation in Cricket 98
28. Letter to the ICC, 25 November 2002 103
29. Cricket Dirty Cricket 107
30.Abusive Cricket Fans: A Clarification 112
31. Legitimising the Bully-Boys on the Cricket Field 116
** My first ever article was for a Melbourne based Lankan newspaper and arose from the manifest disadvantage experienced by Arjuna Ranatunga’s side when it toured Australia for a long spell in the 1980s when Sri Lanka was a poor cousin in the cricket world.