Taylor and Clark concerned by zero-tolerance approach March 26, 2008

Australians say sledging ban would make game boring

Cricinfo staff

Stuart Clark: "The removing of sledging completely from the game of cricket ... I think it's going to be detrimental to the game" © Getty Images

Mark Taylor has joined Stuart Clark, the Australia fast bowler, in saying the game could become boring if measures are taken to ban sledging and confrontation during matches. The ICC has asked teams to improve their behaviour through a "zero-tolerance policy" over verbal abuse.

"How are we going to remove something that has been so much part of the game?" Clark told Sydney radio station 2KY. "Put it this way - it's going to be very boring for six hours if you can't talk to one another and can't do anything like that. What is a sledge and what's not a sledge is my big question there."

Cricket Australia says the ICC's code of conduct already covers the issue and said a total ban on sledging, which was raised during an ICC meeting in Kuala Lumpur last month, had not been supported. The behaviour reminder comes after Australia's often heated series with India over the past four months.

Taylor, a member of the ICC cricket committee, said it was important not to go "over the top" with the regulations. "When you get a close series like we had this year with Australia and India you are going to get confrontation," he said in the Courier-Mail. "Provided it's kept in reasonable check it is all good.

"That's the kind of competition people want to see. We can't go over the top, make the players the same and the game very boring."

Clark, who appears to be one of the more quiet members of the Australia squad, said removing sledging would be "detrimental to the game", but he supported eliminating racial and political barbs. "It's going to be a hard one to police because there are going to be times where people are going to be talking and it's going to be misconstrued or taken the wrong way," he said. "I can't say what they [the ICC] are thinking but the removing of sledging completely from the game of cricket ... I think it's going to be detrimental to the game."