March 28, 2008


Zero tolerance

Andre Nel and Mahendra Singh Dhoni indulge in banter during India's innings, South Africa v India, 5th ODI, Centurion, December 3, 2006
 © AFP


Harsha Bhogle, while detailing the ICC's powerlessness to take firm decisions, says the only solution to sledging is to ban it altogether. His column in the Indian Express has more.

And so nobody is happy with the zero tolerance approach to sledging. Well, I am happy to say I am. Some cricketers are saying it will take something away from the game. Of course it will. It will take away a tumour and last I knew taking away a tumour left a person in better health. A glare on a field, a passing comment, a sarcastic remark, yes, that is part of the game because frustration and disappointment are part of the game. But abuse isn’t, and sadly, the people who speak in favour of sledging belittle abuse. It is all very well to say that racial and personal comments should not be allowed. It is a naïve statement because, as we saw in Australia, we can spend hours debating what is racist and what is offensive to a certain culture.

By complaining about a solution and not contributing to an alternate one, we take the easy way out. And if no solution is acceptable, I’m afraid you have to take what you get. And the only alternative, one that cricketers have brought onto themselves, is that there will be no sledging at all. A lot of mighty fine players scored a lot of runs, took a lot of wickets and stood close in without needing to abuse anyone. And if they could do it, everyone else should. Don’t forget too that we are breeding a generation that thinks calling people offensive and rude names is part of cricket. Aren’t we meant to be caretakers of the game? Handing it over to the next generation in a better state than the one we received it in? Well, all those who talk of the spirit of the game need to ask themselves this.

Ashok Ganguly is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo

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