Sledging has become a modern part and parcel of sports. It is referred to as a way of getting into the mind of the opposition and also disrupt the natural flow. Sledging basically refers to a cheeky comment between two or more individuals on the field. A bit of sledging brings back a bit of energy to the field as well.
The problem here though becomes when the line is crossed. Some experts say, sledging until there personal remarks made or any abuse is exchanged. There is a very clear line between friendly banter and abusing when it comes to sledging. Some players just cross the line in some instances.
Here are five instances when cricketers abused opponents on the field:
1. Jos Buttler abusing Vernon Philander in his last Test
Well, this is a recent incident and it could be surprising as Jos Buttler is probably one of the nicest cricketers going around the world of cricket. During the Test match in Cape Town in December 2019, South Africa was batting under a bit of pressure. Vernon Philander, who was playing his last Test series, had just nudged a ball to extra cover where the English captain Joe Root was standing.
Root threw the ball back to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, but Philander was standing in the middle of the throw. The ball didn’t hit the batsman and landed safely into Buttler’s gloves but somehow it triggered him. The England wicketkeeper told Philander, “You need to f*****g move”. Furthermore, Buttler abused Philander quite badly. He had no respect for the Proteas veteran. He got some support from the slip cordon where Ben Stokes was standing.
Buttler went on to say a couple more harsh words to Philander. The South African didn’t say anything but only stared at the two Englishmen abusing him. Unfortunately, everything which Buttler said was heard clearly on the stump mic.
2.Virat Kohli abusing Rubel Hossain in WC 2011
When Virat Kohli burst out onto the scene, he was an aggressive cricketer. He still is one, but people who have seen him over the years would say that he has tone himself down a lot. Maybe, it’s the captaincy that has given a breather to the inner Delhi-boy in Kohli.
One of the early incidents, when the world saw how aggressive Kohli was on the field, came during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. It was the opening match of the tournament. Bangladesh was playing India at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium in Dhaka. After getting knocked out by Bangladesh in the previous edition in 2007, a lot was at stake for the Indian.
India had made a strong start and was looking set for a huge total. Bangladesh pacer Rubel Hossain who was going through a good spell of bowling was trying to get onto Kohli’s nerves. After Kohli defended one of the balls from the pacer, Rubel gave a long glare to Kohli.
The Indian batsman didn’t like it and instead abused Rubel and told him to get back to his bowling. Virat went to on score 100 runs off 83 balls in that match. India won the match by 87 runs. Interestingly, it was Kohli’s first-ever World Cup match.
3. Shahid Afridi-Gautam Gambhir spat
Like Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir is also from Delhi and an aggressive player. On and off the field, you will never see Gambhir mincing his words. However, this time he went a bit far with this. The incident happened during an ODI match in Kanpur between India and Pakistan.
During the Indian innings, Gambhir along with Yuvraj Singh was trying to find some momentum. Shahid Afridi had gone for runs and he was still being attacked by the pair. While taking a single off the bowling the leg-spinner, Gambhir collided with him in the middle of the pitch. Though it didn’t hurt either of two players, Afridi didn’t take the collision lightly.
Afridi went on to say something to Gambhir, to which the left-handed responded furiously. The pair exchanged abuses between each other until the umpire intervened. During the incident, both the players abused each other in Hindi and their words can be decoded when the video is watched properly.
4. Ricky Ponting abuses Sachin Tendulkar
Back in the day, Ricky Ponting was a captain who would do anything to get his team over the finish line. He surely did a great job at doing that but on the way, there are certain incidents which the veteran would regret. One such incident took place during the DLF Cup Tri-Series 2006-07 in Malaysia. India was playing Australia in a high-pressure match as the winner of this match would go through to the final. Having been bowled out for just 213, Australia went out for a kill.
Sachin Tendulkar, who was in form after scoring a century a few days, was opening the batting with Virender Sehwag. In the third over of the match, a bouncer from McGrath went past Tendulkar and landed straight into Brad Haddin’s gloves. The Australian team appealed and Tendulkar was given out.
As the batsman was walking towards the dressing room, the third umpire noticed that there was no bat involved and the ball had actually touched the shoulder of Tendulkar. He was recalled on to the field but Ponting didn’t like the decision. He said some things to the umpire but as Tendulkar came back to bat, he started filling the ears of the batsman with abuses. India did end up losing the match and failed to qualify to the final.
5. Marcus Stoinis abuses Kane Richardson
Australian players have been popular for having a go at each other but this time, they took it to the next level. During a Big Bash League match in 2019, Marcus Stoinis, while playing for Melbourne Stars abused Melbourne Renegades‘ pacer Kane Richardson.
It was alleged that Stoinis used a homophobic slur against Richardson. The incident got a lot of attention from the media. Stoinis, in fact, had to pay a hefty fine to compensate for his abuse. Richardson had later revealed that Marcus had apologised to him personally.
However, Stoinis faced a lot of criticism for his comment but luckily escaped a ban. Richardson later revealed that there is no love lost between the two teammates and they continue to be friends.
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