Sledging here to stay: Atapattu, Harris

Cricket's stalwarts and ICL players say that it's not a wise move to ban chit-chat on the field. Some believe it will make the game dull.

updated: March 31, 2008 06:58 IST
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New Delhi:

The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the BCCI can try their best but sledging is here to stay, reckon former Sri Lanka captain Marvan Atapattu and retired Kiwi all-rounder Chris Harris.

Atapattu argues sledging is as old as the game itself and though the line had been overstepped on quite a few occasions in the recent India-Australia series, it was not the first time that cricket has seen such war of words.

"Even when we played India or Pakistan, this kind of chit-chat happened. We would target an individual and say something to him to see if that affects him. But once we came out of the ground, everything stayed behind. I'm not encouraging it, but the thing is you can't wipe it out," Atapattu told reporters here on Monday.

Both ICC and the BCCI are determined to stamp out sledging with the governing body recently shooting a letter to captains of all international teams and the Test playing nations, asking them to urge their players to avoid sledging.

Atapattu did not find wisdom behind such a move and said an international player should be mentally strong enough to cope with it.

"I think Test cricket is the true test of character. It tests your mental ability. So if you are unnerved by a comment or two, you probably should not be there," said the Delhi Giants skipper who was here to unveil the Man of the Series award for the Edelweiss 20s Challenge of the Indian Cricket League.

"I don't support racist remarks but if making a casual remark against a player fetches me his wicket, I'll go for it," Atapattu said, all candour.

Harris, who leads Hyderabad Heroes in the Twenty20 event, shared the view and said cricket would always have room for sledging, whether ICC and BCCI like it or not.

"Well, you should always ensure that it does not become too aggressive. Otherwise, there would always be room for sledging. In the heat of the battle, it's natural to mouth something and we only need to ensure that it's not too offensive or racial," said the genial all-rounder.

Stuart Law has been schooled to play cricket in the typical Australian way where it's almost criminal to concede an inch without a fight. The Australian batsman felt banning sledging would rob the game of witty banter and render it dull.

"I think it depends on your perception. What is sledging to you is banter to me. I hope they don't want robots to play cricket. I think if you can withstand it and perform under pressure, it makes you a better player, even if not a better person. You can't stop two players from chatting. It's only when things get too personal or racist that you need to worry," Law said.