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Sledging the Aussie way
« on: May 08, 2004, 18:40 »
A brief history of mental disintegration 03/12/02
Mouthing off... words from the crease

Steve Waugh calls it mental disintegration, the rest of Western Civilisation (and everywhere else that has heard of a game called cricket) refers to it as sledging. But whatever you call it, the art/tactic of ridiculing batsman/bowler/fielder (delete as applicable) is one of the most controversial aspects of the sport. The only non-controversial aspect of sledging is that the Australians are considered to be, surprise, surprise, world champions.

But what is actually said? Cricket365 investigated the archives and came up with these examples of sledging from over the years for you to mull over...

Merv Hughes: tough guy

Fred Trueman & Australia?s Gate Man
The story goes that in an England v Australia Test match during the early 1960s Fred Trueman was fielding close to the gate from the pavilion. As a new Aussie batsman wandered on to the pitch he turned around to shut it behind him.

Cue Fred: "Don't bother shutting it son, you won't be out there long enough."

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Tin Tray

Rod Marsh & Ian Botham
It?s become something of a traditional greeting, but cricket folklore insists that it was when Botham took guard in an Ashes match, Aussie wicketkeeper Marsh welcomed him to the wicket with the immortal words:

"So how's your wife, and my kids?"

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Toboggan Run

Daryll Cullinan & Shane Warne
Another celebrated greeting to the wicket involved Shane Warne and his favourite South African batsman, Daryll Cullinan. As Cullinan passed by on his way to the wicket, Warne took the opportunity to announce that he had been waiting two years for another chance to humiliate him.

"Looks like you've spent it eating," Cullinan retorted.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Toboggan Run

Adam Parore & Daryll Cullinan
Despite holding his own in the above exchange, Cullinan is well known for being Shane Warne?s ?bunny?. Which explains why, in a game between South Africa and New Zealand shortly after Cullinan had been given the runaround by the Aussie leggie, Parore is famous for greeting the sight of the South African carefully playing his first ball, from Kiwi spinner Craig Harris, with a cry of: "Well bowled, Warnie!"

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Tin Tray

Herschelle Gibbs & Steve Waugh
?You?ve just dropped the World Cup, mate? - Steve Waugh?s legendary words to Herschelle Gibbs after the South African had dropped the Aussie captain in the 1999 World Cup. Worse still, Gibbs had only dropped him because he tried to show off and threw the ball up in the air too quickly in celebration.

Of course, Waugh?s quote wouldn?t have been remembered if he was out next ball. Instead, he went on to complete a century, Australia won the match with two balls remaining, followed that up with another victory over South Africa in the semi-final, and then duly went on to win the tournament.

And a legend was born.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Cresta Run

Glenn McGrath & Eddo Brandes
It?s very possibly the greatest story about biscuits ever told.

After the Zimbabwe number eleven played and missed at a McGrath delivery, the Aussie bowler wandered up the wicket and politely enquired:

?Oi, Brandes, why are you so fat ??

?Cos every time I f**k your wife she gives me a biscuit,? replied Brandes.

Apparently, even the Aussie slips cordon was reduced to tears of laughter.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Cresta Run

Robin Smith & Merv Hughes
Arguably the most famous batsman/bowler conversation in the history of cricket is this exchange during the 1989 Lord?s Test between England and Australia:

Merv Hughes [to Robin Smith after the England batsman had played and missed]: ?You can?t f**king bat, mate.?

Smith [to Hughes after smacking the next ball to the boundary]: "Hey Merv, we make a fine pair. I can't f**king bat and you can't f**king bowl."

Just brilliant.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Cresta Run

Merv Hughes & Javed Miandad
Mervyn has something of a reputation of being a master sledger, and one of his greatest moments surely was during the 1991 Adelaide Test against Pakistan.

Merv was unimpressed with Javed Miandad speaking Urdu rather than English, and even less so when Miandad contemptuously called him a ?fat bus conductor.?

A few balls later the ?fat bus conductor? dismissed Javed.

?Tickets, please,? Merv called out as he ran past the departing batsman.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Toboggan Run

Merv Hughes & Viv Richards
And it?s not just because he?s in this feature three times that Merv is considered to be a master sledger.

Sometimes the moustachioed one didn?t even need to speak to get under a batsman?s skin.

During one Test match in the West Indies he didn?t say a word to Viv Richards - but continued to stare at him after deliveries.

?Don?t you be staring at me, man,? said Richards. ?Get back and bowl. This is my island. This is my culture. Don?t you be staring at me. You have no right to be staring.?

Merv didn?t reply...but after he dismissed Viv with his fifth ball, he announced to the departing batsman: ?In my culture we say ?piss off?.?

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Toboggan Run

Viv Richards & Greg Thomas
However, it?s also the case that Richards has gone on record to state that ?My better innings were when I was being sledged? and his famous exchange with Glamorgan bowler Greg Thomas when he was playing for Somerset would certainly suggest as much.

After going past the outside edge with a couple of deliveries, Thomas told Richards: ?It's red, round and weighs about five ounces."

Unfortunately for Thomas, the next ball was in the ?slot? and Richards hammered it out of the ground and into a river.

At which point Viv piped up: ?Greg, you know what it looks like. Now go and find it"

And, if that wasn?t enough, Richards then went on to hit 140 in 75 minutes.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Cresta Run

Timothy Zoehrer & Phil Edmonds
But it would be wrong to assume that all sledging is simply abusive; sometimes it can be quite subtle.

Imagine, for example, how England?s Phil Edmonds felt when he took guard to bat and heard the Aussie wicketkeeper chirp: "At least I have an identity. You're only Frances Edmonds's husband."

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Toboggan Run

But that?s not to say that a great deal, and perhaps most, of the sledging that goes on in cricket is downright intimidating and aggressive....

Bobby Simpson & Geoff Boycott
Back in the days before contact lenses were common-place, Geoff Boycott strode out to make his debut for England wearing glasses against the Aussies at Trent Bridge.

It was a sight which prompted Aussie captain Bobby Simpson to advise bowler Graham MacKenze: ?Look at this four-eyed f**ker. He can?t f**king bat, knock those f**king glasses off him straight away.?

How charming.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Tin Tray

Graham Gooch & Ian Chappell
But as introductions to Test cricket come, Gooch?s is one of the most famous.

As he wandered out to bat in his first Test match, Gooch greeted Ian Chappell, the Australia captain, with a polite ?Good morning, Ian.?

?What?s so f**king good about it?? came the immediate reply.

Gooch was then dismissed without scoring.

In both innings.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Toboggan Run

David Steele & Jeff Thomson
Another Englishman given a typically Aussie welcome to the wicket on his debut was David Steele. Upon seeing Steele, faster bowler Jeff Thomson is said to have uttered - or shouted, depending on your nationality - ?Who?s this then - Father f**king Christmas??

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Tin Tray

Craig McDermott & Phil Tufnell
But perhaps the most intimidating one-liner delivered in recent cricket history occurred in the 1991 Ashes series in Oz when Craig McDermott was dismissed at Perth by Phil Tufnell and responded by asking:

?You?ve got to bat on this in a minute, Tufnell. Hospital food suit you??

The answer of Tufnell, who to this day appears unsure as to what end of the bat he should hold, isn?t recorded.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Cresta Run

Robin Smith & Allan Border
Then again, often it was the captain who lead by example in the sheer unpleasantness stakes.

Mid-way through the Trent Bridge Test of the 1989 Ashes series Smith requested a glass of water.

Border?s response apparently went along the lines of: "What do you think this is, a f**king tea party? No, you can't have a f**king glass of water. You can f**king wait like the rest of us."

And he did.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Toboggan Run

Graeme Smith & Matthew Hayden
Of course, Sledging was put back on the agenda earlier this year when South African batsman Graeme Smith, playing in his first Test series for South Africa, publicly revealed some of Australia?s verbal gems.

?[Matthew] Hayden stood for about two minutes telling me that I wasn't f**king good enough. How the f**k are you going to handle Shane Warne when he's bowling into the rough??

Remarkably, Smith hadn?t even taken guard before Hayden?s rant began.

Cricket365?s Sledge Rating: Tin Tray

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