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Sledging: The Way of Cricket



In the 70's, the Australian Cricket Team was labelled the Ugly Australians for their love for verbal abuse and hostile fast bowling, spearheaded by the hunky Rod Marsh and Ian Chappell. Keeping up the tradition of sledging even 40 years later is the Aussie cricket team at the Ashes 2013-2014 and the gentleman's game just got uglier.

Michael Clarke was fined 20% of his match fee for telling England's last standing batsman James Anderson to "get ready for a broken f***ing arm". The comment was broadcast for all to be heard by the stump microphone. The verbal intimidation seems to be working as England is clearly rattled by the slew of sledging by the Aussies, so much so that England's Jonathan Trott returned home following the first Test due to a stress-related illness, probably aggravated by David Warner's announcement that Trott's batting had been "pretty poor and pretty weak". In fact, Mitchell Johnson has told England not to expect any mercy in the verbal barrage they will receive from the Australians when the second Test begins in Adelaide next week. Intimidation at it's best, right?

Although the act of sledging may be as old as cricket itself, the term sledging has a colourful origin. Apparently, in the mid-sixties an Aussie cricket named Grahame Corling, whose wife was allegedly having an affair with another team-mate, was teased by the fielding team every time he came to bat with a rendition of the Percy Sledge song 'When a Man Loves A Woman'. Out of his misery was born the term 'sledging'.

As the Ashes drama unfolds, let's take a look at some of the most memorable sledging moments in cricketing history:

Glenn McGrath (Australia) vs. Ramnaresh Sarwan (West Indies)

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21-year old West Indian Ramnaresh Sarwan was thrashing the ball in Fourth Australia vs West Indies Test in Antigua 2003. Humiliated by the onslaught of knocks, Aussie paceman Glenn McGrath asked Sarwan condescendingly, "What does Brian Lara's d--k taste like?" "I don't know, ask your wife," Sarwan replied.

Unfortunately, McGrath's wife Jane very ill with cancer at the time, so the comment hit McGrath where it hurt most and he went into a tirade of abuses towards Sarwan.

Kiran More (India) vs. Javed Miandad (Pakistan)

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This one was more visual than verbal. Vice-captain of the Pakistan cricket team Javed Miandad was batting against India in World Cup 1992 in Sydney. Miffed by More's constant appeals, Javed Miandad imitates his style of appealing by jumping in the air like a frog, sending everyone watching into peals of laughter.



Glenn McGrath (Australia) vs. Eddo Brandes (Zimbabwe)


McGrath cannot seem to evade wife-related responses to his sledging. While bowling to Zimbabwe's Eddo Brandes, McGrath, frustrated at him missing each ball, went up and asked: "Why are you so fat?". Not blinking an eye, Brandes replied, "Because every time I make love to your wife, she gives me a biscuit." Ouch!

Ravi Shastri (India) vs. Mike Whitney (Australia)


This was one of the rare occasions where tables had turned and it was an Aussie who was at the receiving end of an insult. During the second Australia vs India test in Melbourne 1991/92 Shastri hits the ball towards Mike Whitney (the 12th man in the game) and looked for a single. Whitney said, "If you leave the crease i'll break your f***ing head". Shastri retorted, "If you could bat as well as you can talk you wouldn't be the f***ing 12th man".

Harbhajan Singh (India) vs. Andrew Symonds (Australia)


This one is one of cricket's ugliest on-field spats. During the 2007–08 Indian tour of Australia, Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was suspended for allegedly calling a mixed race Andrew Symonds a 'monkey', although many Indians believed Bhajji actually hurled another Indian abuse that sounds very similar to 'monkey'. And has something to do with one's mother.

Other Sledging Classics:

"It's round, it's red and it's got six stitches in it." - English county bowler to West Indian Viv Richards after he had played and missed several times.

"Hey man. You know what it looks like - go fetch it." - Richards in reply, after hitting the next ball to the fence.

"You don't get a runner for being an overweight, unfit, fat #$&!%." - Australian wicket keeper Ian Healy after Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga asked for a runner during a one-day match.

"Can't bowl, can't throw." - Nine network camera man Joe Previtera after a wayward return by Australian bowler Scott Muller. Originally attributed to Shane Warne.

"Thanks, mate. You've just dropped the World Cup." - Attributed to captain Steve Waugh to South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs after he dropped a chance from Waugh in the semi-final of the 1999 Cricket World Cup. Waugh denies saying it.

"We don't want you here, get out of my ground!" - Yorkshire bowler Steve Kirby to Steve Waugh in an English county match. "No, I won't, this is my favourite pitch. And who are you, the *#@%& mayor?" - Waugh's reply.

"The cheque's in the mail." - An SCG spectator to Pakistan's Salim Malik after he was dismissed in the final Test match of the 1995 series. Malik had made a comeback after being embroiled in a match-fixing scandal.