Difficult to eradicate sledging, feel former players

March 24th, 2008 - 10:09 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) Former international cricketers feel that it would not be easy to root out sledging from the game though it has of late become a big menace and the International Cricket Council (ICC) is trying hard to curb it. Former Sri Lanka skipper Marvan Atapattu, retired Kiwi all-rounder Chris Harris and Australian Stuart Law were of the view that sledging cannot be eradicated from the game, instead it tests the character of a player. However, all the three stars felt that cricket has no place for offensive and racial remarks.

On-field spats between cricketers showed its cruel face during India’s recent Down Under series where the thin line had been overstepped on quite a few occasions.

“The whole thing is very simple to me. If you are giving something, then you should be prepared to take it back. Even when we played against India and Pakistan, there were always small conversations. If you can dismantle a person by saying something which is not racial then its not bad,” Atapattu told reporters here Monday.

“But once we were out of the ground we were good friends. The bottom line is that you can’t wipe it out,” he added.

The ICC and its powerful affiliate the Board of Control for cricket in India are working hard to wipe out sledging with the game’s governing body recently issuing a letter to the captains of all international teams, urging their players to cut it out.

The Indian Cricket League (ICL) Delhi Giants captain, though, said that he was all against racial comments, but banning on-field chit-chat is not the right approach as international cricket is all about test of character.

“I believe Test cricket is test of everything. Cricket is a mental game and if you are unnerved by a comment, then you are not fit for it.

“I am not encouraging racial comments but if a casual remark against a player can fetch his wicket, then there is no harm in it,” Atapattu said.

Harris, who is the captain of ICL’s Hyderabad Heroes team aired the same feeling and said whether the ICC and the BCCI like it or not, cricket would always have room for sledging.

“There would always be room for sledging in the game but you have to ensure that it does not become too aggressive or racial,” said the Kiwi.

However, Aussie Stuart Law believes that putting a ban on sledging would rob the game of interest.

“I think it depends on your perception. What is sledging to you is banter to me. I hope they don’t want robots to play cricket. I think you can’t stamp it out. If you can cope with it and perform it will make you a better player, even if not a better person. The worry starts when things get too personal or racist” said Law.

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