The Ashes 2013-14 November 7, 2013

No wit in sledging anymore

In the wake of Shane Warne's criticism of Alastair Cook's captaincy, Marina Hyde in the Guardian ponders if sledging is as witty as it is conceived to be

The romance of an Ashes series hinges on heated competition between two storied rivals. And quite often, gentle banter turns strategic, so much so that sledging is known to occur days before the match actually begins as Glenn McGrath did while predicting a 5-0 scoreline in 2005 and as Shane Warne did recently when he questioned Alastair Cook's ability to think outside the box. But Marina Hyde in the Guardian ponders if sledging is as witty as it is conceived to be.

Strip away the befuddling nostalgia around the celebrated examples of sledging down the years, and they have mostly dated terribly. The moments of genuine wit are so few and far between as to almost conform to the infinite-monkeys-on-infinite-typewriters principle. The moments of insight are arguably even fewer, which is perhaps why other sports have failed to adopt what is so often fabled as a match-winning form of verbal combat. Tennis stars, for instance, have yet to serve up their aces with a chaser of what they imagine to be the equivalent of a cheeky Bruce Willis one-liner

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