Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why Does India try to Sledge?

A week ago my call was 0-4 for India, and at 0-2 the whitewash is on!

Credit where it is due, India have competed quite well at times and in fact inexplicably threw away the Adelaide test which they should have at least drawn. How was that for a brain explosion, it was almost West Indies like. Nonetheless I have been impressed by Murali Vijay and Kohli, and expected worse.

Along came Brisbane, a place where Australia never loses and once again they didn't disappoint. But some hilarity stuck out, in particular India and their new found love for sledging.

Sledging is a cricket exclusive term, or as Steve Waugh termed it... "Mental Disintegration". The Aussies of old used it beautifully to defeat the opposition with mind games and end contests before they even started. Just ask any England team pre-2005 or Daryll Cullinan.

But it is important to realize the most important ingredient the Aussies had, the batting and bowling riches to make it work. The wonderful oxymoron Glenn McGrath is the best example, hurling expletives in the opposition's faces and yet delivering the same dour ball at the same generous pace patiently waiting for the batsman to crack.

Which brings us to India who it seems have adopted the same tactic, hey it worked for them why won't it work for us? This problem is, they are hopeless at it.

So what happened in Brisbane?
  • Ishant Sharma, after being utterly thumped all day throws a few f-bombs when removing Steve Smith.  Note that Smith was yet to be dismissed in the series so far and was on 133. Note also that this is one of the most useless bowlers in the game today and it wasn't even a good delivery.
  • Rohit Sharma and Superstar Virat greet Mitchell Johnson to the batting crease with some foul mouthing off, followed by some "bouncers" and "fast bowling" of the Indian variety. He proceeds to belt them for 13 fours and a six and then shows them how it's done with the ball including both Kohli (1 run) and Rohit (0 runs).

"Economy rate less than 5, in your face!"


Ladies and gentlemen, this is *not* how it's done.

Add to that whinging more about umpiring (but DRS won't solve anything of course!), Kohli not having enough time to pad up, the practice wickets not being up to standard and apparently the food was no good either. Moan moan moan. 

The real mystery is why India decided to adopt the brilliant idea of annoying the Australians into hammering them. 

In the 90s - Indian teams would show up, get disintegrated, go home and await the return series for revenge. It was horrible, but at least we lost with dignity.

In the 00s - Sourav Ganguly taught the boys to stand up for themselves and push back when pushed. But these guys didn't go around picking fights, the likes of Dravid, Tendulkar, Kumble and Laxman continued to play with dignity and class. It wasn't sledging, it was simply refusing to be bullied and we saw some of the best and most competitive India-Australia cricket. 

In the 10s - We have Gambhir shoulder charging Shane Watson, whose shoulders are bigger than Gambhir himself. We have Raina and Dhawan flopping around on the field mocking an injured batsman. We have two-bit bowlers like Varun Aaron giving send offs to David Warner. Sir Jadeja, Kohli and the Sharmas are always willing to throw in their unwanted two cents, while Dhoni tells us it provides entertainment for the crowd. 


The Indian cricket team that I grew up with was all about humility and grace, they had adopted a more English approach of cricket being a gentleman's game. Now they have taken on the Australian model of turning cricket into psychological warfare, only without any actual weapons. It is all noise and hot air at the moment.


So this is the message to Team India... sledging while winning makes you Australia, sledging while losing makes you idiots.