Verbal abuse is just not cricket
As the Ashes series across the ditch heats up, cricket clubs here are urging players not to engage in verbal abuse to gain an edge over the opposition.
Australian skipper Michael Clarke was fined 20 per cent of his match fees after telling English rival James Anderson to ‘‘get ready for a broken arm’’ in the fiery first test last week.
And the Aussie sledgers have made it clear they won’t be easing off in the next Ashes test tomorrow.
Former International Cricket Council umpire manager Doug Cowie says outright sledging, insults and bad language is not in line with the spirit of the ‘‘gentleman’s game’’.
The St Heliers man says during a test players will crack jokes and try to get into the opposition’s headspace but there is a fine line between banter and abuse.
‘‘People do make comments to each other and as long as it’s within the boundaries of maintaining respect it is fine but outside of that things do get reported and punished, as we saw with Clarke.’’
Cornwall Cricket Club premier player Matt Davies says sledging can be a psychological art when used wisely.
‘‘It’s not like it doesn’t happen. It’s happening all across Auckland but just without the microphones to pick it up.‘‘
Heckling other players to gain a tactical advantage has roots back to 1960s Australian cricket.
Australian fast bowler Merv Hughes had a particular reputation for sledging and is remembered for the line: ‘‘If you turn the bat over you’ll get the instructions, mate.’’
is witty and entertaining, premier club umpire and Auckland University Cricket Club manager Richard Walker says.
It creeps into lower-grade club games and it is part of an umpire’s job to manage that, he says.
‘‘Some of the players are very good at it, and if they are, it can be very funny. Basically, if I’m smiling it’s fine and if I’m not then it’s not appropriate. Things like personal and racial abuse are not on.’’
Eden Roskill Cricket Club premier player and former first class cricketer Azhar Abbas says it is about ‘‘toeing the line’’.
‘‘Sledging is as old as the sport itself. It’s not like it’s anything new.
‘‘At the end of the day you’re playing a competitive sport.
‘‘You don’t want your opponent to be very comfortable. But the sledging should be done in a respectful, nice way. There should be limits.’’
Ellerslie Cricket Club president Milan Jasarevic agrees banter is part of the sport.
‘‘The mental game is as big a part as the physical but there are unspoken rules regarding what is appropriate banter and what isn’t.’’
Fine line: Auckland cricketers say there’s a line between banter and verbal abuse.