Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

When Sledging in Sports Gets Ugly

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

When Sledging in Sports Gets Ugly

Article excerpt

I HAVE never understood the point in sledging. It's like schoolkids exchanging insults in the playground.

It was my experience that such activities usually ended in biffo, and a visit to the headmaster's office.

Sledging in cricket is allegedly used to upset an opponent's concentration, and thus put them off their game. That would suggest to me that the team doing the sledging don't feel confident that they can beat their opponents using just their cricket skills.

Of course, sledging is not all about spitting venom at one's opponent; the exchanges can sometimes be clever or witty. English cricketer James Ormond once walked out to bat in an Ashes match, and was greeted by Mark Waugh with "Mate, what are you doing here? There's no way you're good enough to play for England." Ormond replied: "Maybe not, but at least I'm the best player in my family." What I have never heard in rugby is the sort of personal abuse and hurtful comments that seems to occur more and more regularly in the game of cricket; and the Australian players have a reputation of being the most aggressive proponents of the art of sledging. …

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