Sydney: Former Australian cricketers have slammed the Indian cricket board's stand to pitch for a ban on sledging during International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executives meeting in Kuala Lumpur. They feel the move will make the game 'colourless'.
Taking note of the Sydney Test fiasco involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, the Board of Control for Cricket in India had proposed to the ICC that sledging be banned from international cricket.
The Board is expected to initiate the process in the Saturday ICC meeting by urging all Test nations to support its stand. However, some former Aussie greats like Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh, Len Pascoe and Craig MacDermott feel that putting a ban is not a solution to the problem. It will only make the game dull.
Waugh wondered if the ban would be enforced on officials, umpires and even spectators. "How you would enforce such a ban? If you ban players from sledging, does that rule then apply to officials, umpires and spectators as well?" he questioned.
"I'm all for being fair, but banning sledging is going too far." The 42-year-old former captain added that he prefers to call on-field provocation as 'banter' and not sledging.
"I don't refer to it as sledging, I refer to it as banter. Banter is part of the game. And if there was no banter, you couldn't have a laugh and there would be no stories to tell."
"Without banter I don't think you'd have many people watching the sport. In this case the Indians have to be careful of what they wish for, otherwise they run the risk of taking the colour out of the game," Waugh was quoted as saying in The Daily Telegraph.
Former Australian pacer Len Pascoe questioned BCCI's intelligence and said they don't know the proper meaning of sledging.
"Sledging emerged after a game between New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia in the early 1970s, and it came about from the saying, 'As subtle as a sledgehammer'. But sledging was the name given to everything that was already happening in cricket," Pascoe said.
Former pace spearhead Craig McDermott and Mark Taylor were of the view sledging is a part of the game and termed the BCCI's move to call for its ban as 'ridiculous'.
"It's been happening since day dot and it's usually in jest," McDermott said. "To police sledging would be impossible, unless every player was miked up and the umpires were rehearsed in every language."