Now that the dust has settled on the sledging problems after the first Test in Durban between South Africa and Australia, it once again raises the question, is sledging in the spirit of the game? The answer is a definite NO, as sledging is nothing more than an Australian concept to intimidate the other cricket playing nations. Faf du Plessis is right when he says that the Australian team run around like a pack of hyenas looking to attack the opposition.
In recent years the Australians’ sledging has threatened to lead to physical confrontations, as we saw at Kingsmead the past weekend. The words exchanged between David Warner and Quinton de Kock nearly led to blows with Warner having to be restrained by his team-mates.
There are many of these examples in the past where Australian players verbally abused the opposition and when they returned the compliment, the Australians could not handle it and the situation threatened to turn violent. Remember Glenn McGrath and Ramnaresh Sarwan in the West Indies in 2003 and Shane Warne wanting to physically attack Andrew Hudson at the Wanderers in 1994? These are but two examples of Australian sledging threatening to turn violent on the cricket field.
Cricket does not need this type of behaviour and the International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to step in and ban sledging by all teams, especially the Australian personal abuse that is camouflaged as sledging.
If one takes tennis and golf as examples, players are not abusing each other across the net or on the tee while the game is being played. Why must cricketers have the freedom to abuse the opposition to gain an unfair advantage? Surely this is not in the spirit of the game.
Sledging has been part of cricket for years, but the Australians have taken it to a new level that is personal abuse and could lead to possible physical conflict. In a world where violence is a problem, cricket cannot afford to be seen to endorse actions of certain players behaving in a manner that is unbecoming to world norms and the great game.
The Australians are the perpetrators. The ICC needs to ensure that they are put to terms in the interest of cricket and not let them hide behind their outdated defence of “playing it hard”.