Sledging: How far do you go? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Sledging: How far do you go?

Where do you draw the line when it comes to sledging in your own club games?

The whole Australia-India controversy was sparked by a possible comment by Harbhajan. Since then it has thrown up a number of issues and a lot of debate but I want to bring it back to club cricket.

Have you noticed a huge rise in chirping in your club games in the last 10 years? I have.

I imagine this has come about mainly thanks to the huge success of Australia and their tactics of 'mental disintegration'. This seems to have filtered through. First via other national sides then down through professional cricket and into the amateur and junior games.

There have been many calls in the last few days for sledging to be ruled out altogether. If it causes this much of an issue perhaps it should be. After all we have the spirit of the game to answer to. I'm convinced that if sledging stopped instantly in the International game it would not take long for every other level to follow.

But that's not the answer.

Part of the attraction of cricket is it's mental challenge. It is a cerebral as well as physical sport and part of that test is being able to focus for long periods of time. If you can break a batsman's concentration and make him doubt himself of his tactics you are more likely to get him out. If you take away that aspect you lose something of the uniqueness of this fine game.

Does this justify anyone calling Andrew Symonds a monkey?

Not a bit.

There is a balance to be found. A line we should never cross and a spirit we should always play under. Play hard, play fair, have a beer afterwards.

How can we draw that line? I think most people know where the line is really. Most people know that overt aggression, personal insults, abuse and racist comments can't be accepted at any level.

That's not going to stop me buzzing in batsmen's ear this season though. If I didn't I wouldn't be playing hard enough and that's not fair on the batsman.

What do you think?

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Sledging can be quite a contentious issue but if done fairly I feel that it's certainly part of the game. It'll help to focus some players minds, whilst making it uncomforatable for others.

I quite enjoy a bit of banter when batting and equally love having a chat with the batsman when bowling. Maybe a few jokey comments but generally just chatter. I like to think that I know the line and stop short of crossing it.

Saying that, I have played in games when the sledging has gotten personal and been fairly nasty. It that it does is make for an unpleasant game and you walk away with a less than glowing opinion of that team. I guess it all comes down to the make up of the team.

One thing I will say is that sledging goes on in all sports, it's just that most sports don't last all day with plenty of time for things to evolve and cross the line.

I agree Tom. It's something I would like to see remain but as you say in the right way.

I've always found this a difficult one. I have never, and can never see myself sledging others.

Although I'm 19, I'm quite a traditionalist within the game. I don't think I would ever engage in this form of interaction with the opposition because of my own moral reasons. Like most cricketers nowadays, I have been on the recieving end of grim remarks which have hit a soft spot! Even whilst playing at high standards.

Having said this however, I totally enjoy the concept of mind games in cricket. As a tactic, I can't see much wrong with sledging. Obveously there's a line not to cross, but the game is changing all the time and, in my mind, descovering new ways to improve your team's, and perhaps personal performance should if anything be encouraged.


Much like Tom, i enjoy a bit of banter in the game, it keeps the game interesting. But their is always a line, and it has to be when it starts getting really personnal i.e beyond perhaps the snide comments over my awful hat-hair.

I think most people are in agreement about this.

If sledging helps keep players focussed on their job (to dismiss the opposition) then it can't be a bad thing.

It had only just started to creep in when I was playing at my prime (many moons ago) and it may have helped in a situation where you are fielding and haven't taken a wicket for an hour and you can see the fielders getting bored.

There is a line that should not be crossed and if it leads to bad feelings after the game then I think it is wrong.

That's a good rule of thumb. If it is bad enough to continue off the pitch it's over the line.

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