Aussies play down sledg­ing prob­lem af­ter Hughes in­quest

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -


For­mer Aus­tralia cap­tain Mark Tay­lor and other se­nior fig­ures yes­ter­day in­sisted ver­bal abuse is not a big prob­lem af­ter a coro­ner ex­am­in­ing Phillip Hughes’s death called it cricket’s “ugly un­der­side”.

Hughes, who played 26 Tests, died from bleed­ing on the brain in Novem­ber 2014 af­ter be­ing hit on the neck by a ris­ing ball while bat­ting in a do­mes­tic match at the Syd­ney Cricket Ground. Dur­ing his in­quest, con­cerns were raised by Hughes’ fam­ily about on-field sledg­ing, or abuse, which they felt may have un­set­tled him. On Fri­day, New South Wales coro­ner Michael Barnes said even if there had been at­tempts to in­tim­i­date play­ers, Hughes did not ap­pear to be af­fected and it “could not be im­pli­cated in his death”.

But Barnes called sledg­ing an “un­savoury as­pect” of cricket, adding: “An out­sider is left to won­der why such a beau­ti­ful game would need such an ugly un­der­side.” The hear­ing heard claims that one bowler told him, “I am go­ing to kill you”, although play­ers on the field said they did not re­call any such com­ment. Tay­lor said he didn’t think sledg­ing was a ma­jor prob­lem in cricket, but he urged um­pires to crack down if they thought play­ers were go­ing too far. “I don’t think we have,” he said in Perth, where Aus­tralia are play­ing South Africa, when asked if cricket had a sledg­ing prob­lem. “The game needs a com­pet­i­tive edge to it, but it doesn’t need a lot or rub­bish talk ei­ther. If some­thing pos­i­tive does come out of this, it will be a re­duc­tion in the idle chat.

“Sledg­ing is some­thing that has al­ways been talked about reg­u­larly, but the um­pires should step in if they think it is over the top.” Cricket Aus­tralia chief James Suther­land agreed it was down to the um­pires to stamp out backchat if it was be­com­ing too much. “If it has be­come a prob­lem, then I would say the um­pires are not do­ing their job,” he said, adding that he did not see it as a prob­lem. “I come back to the fun­da­men­tals-the game should still be played in the right spirit and for the sake of clar­ity, there’s codes of be­hav­iour that are in place that deal with in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­iour. “When that line is crossed, peo­ple should pay the price for cross­ing that line and I can only en­cour­age the um­pires and rel­e­vant of­fi­cials to take action when it is ap­pro­pri­ate.” For­mer Aus­tralian Test opener Chris Rogers said he be­lieved there was less sledg­ing in the mod­ern game, par­tic­u­larly in Eng­land where he feels um­pires are less tol­er­ant. —AFP

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