Kolkata: Sledging is an issue when the men from Australia are up against a powerful team. And when it comes to an India vs Australia clash, the war of words takes the limelight. We have seen it in the past when India and Australia have clashed in the middle. Be it Zaheer Khan vs Ricky Ponting or Rahul Dravid vs Michael Slater or Harbhajan Singh vs Andrew Symonds or Virat Kohli vs Mitchell Johnson, players from both the countries have had altercations both on and off-the field. With Kohli’s boys all set to face Steve Smith’s Aussies in a four-match Test series beginning on February 23, one of Australia’s mainstays, David Warner has opened up on sledging. “For us, it’s about going out there and playing our brand of cricket. Virat Kohli is one of those players, if you niggle at him, it either makes him better or if you get under his skin, he’ll probably get even better. He’s a world class player at the moment and for us, it’s about going out and playing the best cricket we can,” said Warner, the Australkian vice-captain.
And for a change, Warner indicates that sledging is not their priority. “We’re not going out there to entertain the idea of sledging or banter. It’s out there and playing good cricket and a great brand of cricket and making sure it’s in the spirit of the game,” elaborated Warner who did indulge in sledging during his team’s warm-up tie against India A in Mumbai.
An Aussie not encouraging sledging is news, but one thing for sure, there will be exchange of words on the field once the battle begins and even Warner would not be able to stay calm. We can’t trust an Australian on maintaining decency on the field. But that’s what the Gentleman’s Game has turned out to be. Players have to count on not just their cricketing skills, but also their vocabulary or verbal strength to have the last laugh. And the Aussies are pioneers when it comes to sledging. India vs Australia means serious business and at times the encounter even surpasses the tension around an India-Pakistan clash. And yes, sledging plays an important role in both.
Sad, but let’s accept it. Distract your opponents with expletives and hope for the best. Well, cricket is no longer a game played by gentlemen.
(With inputs from PTI)