Sledging in cricket is the accident child that should've been aborted at the earliest sign of conception. Its origins, as with all unwanted things are not worth discussing. The greats of the game such as Lara, Tendulkar and Viv Richards didn't bother with it because they didn't need to, they did the talking with their talent.
Alas, they were of a super breed and its natural for the opposite to occur at the other side of the scale. Having said all that it unfortunately is part of the modern game. With the Ashes around the corner, this form of psychological battle between two old enemies therefore might prove significant. And like watching an episode of Takeshi's castle, there is comedy value in watching other adults engage in self ridicule.
Primary targets for Sledging in Ashes
The well documented recent events off the field and the media's reporting of them has made Warner a marked man. Perhaps the provocative gesture of gate crashing an Australian bar by some England players was an early warning shot. Warner is an important player for Australia and his destructive batting style has match winning potential. It remains to be seen whether the off-field distractions will affect his batting. I suspect the unwanted media attention has had an impact on Warner's mindset, so England have an advantage already. However that could disappear if they give him too much lip on the field. Ishant Sharma did just that in Australia last year, Warner replied with his highest Test score of 180.
The term don't judge a book by its cover seems to have gone out the window when it comes to Joe Root. An exceptional young player yes, but as far as his test pedigree is concerned we haven't even reached the first page of this cricketing story. Yet, like a a PR bombardment campaign for a Hollywood blockbuster, premature adulation and ludicrous comparisons with Test legends are rife on social media forums. The Australians are no doubt reveling in this bubble being created for him, pins at the ready. In addition despite being at the kindergarten stage of his test career Root has shown a habit of the occasional chirp at a few of the professors of test cricket. Such inexperience is likely to add to the possibility of him being singled out for sledging. Regardless, the Ashes could be a make or break situation for Root much like it was for Bopara who arrived at the 2009 series in a similar bubble.
Memorable Ashes verbal encounters.
Here are a few clips and quotes to wet the appetites of those looking forward to the shenanigans this year's Ashes will bring.
Mark Waugh vs James Ormond.
Waugh: Look who it is. Mate, what are you doing out here? There’s no way you’re good enough to play for England.
Ormond: Maybe, but at least I'm the best player in my family.
Ian Botham vs Rod Marsh
Marsh: "So how's your wife and my kids?"
Botham: "The wife's fine, the kid's retarded."
Shane Warne vs Paul Collingwood
Warne: You got an MBE right? For scoring 7 at the Oval? That's embarrassing.
Michael Atherton vs Ian Healy
Atherton stood his ground after a strong caught behind appeal, the umpire gave him not out.
Healy: You F****n cheat!
Atherton: When in Rome dear boy.
Michael Vaughan vs Ricky Ponting
During Ponting's first Ashes match as skipper, he decided to have a word or two with the incoming batsman Vaughan.
Vaughan: "Get back in the slips Ponting. Who do you think you are, Steve Waugh?"
Angus Fraser vs Alan Border
After playing and missing a few, Fraser offered some derogatory words.
Border: "I've faced bigger and uglier bowlers than you mate. Now f**k off back to your marker and the bowl the next one."
Nasser Hussein vs Justin Langer
After constant chirping from the slips, Hussein had enough with Langer.
Hussein: "I don't mind this lot chirping at me but you're just a bus driver.
Craig McDermott vs Phil Tufnell
After Tufnell's overenthusiastic celebration post getting McDermot bowled on a bad wicket.
McDermott: "You've got to bat on this in a minute Tuffers. Hospital food suit you?"
Ian Healy vs Nasser Hussein
After a fielder was told to field at Silly point and given instructions to get right under his nose.
Healy: "That could be anywhere in a 3 mile radius"
Merv Hughes vs Graham Gooch
After Gooch played and missed a few deliveries.
Hughes: "I'll get you a piano, see if you can play that."
Merv Hughes vs Robin Smith
Not the wittiest start from Merv.
Hughes: You can't f***in bat.
After smashing the next ball to the boundry.
Smith: "Hey Merv we make a great pair. I can't f***in bat and you can't f***in bowl."
I doubt this particular Ashes series will top any of the exchanges above but its certain to be gripping none the less.
What's your favourite sledging incident? Tweet us and let us know @Hitccricket
Rana Malook is a sports writer for HITC you can tweet him @rararana
image: © andy-roo