November 28, 2013

How did sledging become a sign of manliness?

Michael Clarke has gained praise in some quarters for showing mongrel by sledging. What sort of message does that send?
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It's hard to compete with messages that say real men don't walk away from a fight
It's hard to compete with messages that say real men don't walk away from a fight © Getty Images

The bubble. It's a buzzword in sport today. This morning I attended the media launch of a new book called Bubble Boys, by Michael Blucher, a prominent Brisbane identity in the sports media community and a respected mentor to many elite athletes, especially when it comes to the matter of brand perception and image management. The author ruefully claimed that the book was seven years in the making and out of date within ten minutes! He was referring, of course, to the Michael Clarke sledging incident and its impact on the Clarke brand. (Incidentally Clarke's previous manager Chris White was also at this book launch, a wise, decent man whose advice might serve Clarke well right now.)

Picking up the Australian, I then read Gideon Haigh's excellent piece, which also refers to the bubble, this time in reference to Jonathan Trott, and is proof that the best cricket writers need not necessarily have played Test cricket. A quality writer who has distinguished himself in the Test arena, Michael Atherton, added to my enjoyment of the morning newspaper with his erudite and informed perspective, made more poignant by his first-hand experience of playing (and being sledged) at this level. He cautiously chided all parties involved, reminding them that at the end of the day, this is still sport and it behooves us all to not lose sight of that amidst all the trash talk.

Bubble Boys takes a balanced look at the pressures, both internal and external, perceived or real, that elite athletes have to now contend with. My professional life is centred firmly in this space, so I have some insights into bubble boys and it is with some caution that I offer my opinions on the fall-out from the Brisbane Test, conscious of my own personal leanings but not oblivious to the hard-nosed realities of modern warfare, which is what this Ashes series threatens to descend into unless both teams and the media change the mood.

For some, the series has come alive. For me, some of the joie de vivre has died. The cricket was high-quality but I prefer my sport, no matter what the stakes are, to be served in more genteel fashion. I expect the inevitable vitriol from some bloggers, but the tone of their response may just underscore the point I'm making - that sometimes players, media and fans lose sight of the raison d'etre of sport. If this is sport, it doesn't push my buttons, despite my proximity to and familiarity with the bubble boys.

The fact that England have now withdrawn into their shell and refuse to engage with the media is a sad indictment of where things are at. The media played its part in creating this siege mentality, especially the Brisbane tabloid that refused to name Stuart Broad in its reports. The players' behaviour in refusing to talk to the press makes a lie of their claims that sledging never affects them. Clearly words hurt. Or are they only impervious to on-field sledging? That the Ashes media coverage has descended into a race to the bottom, with players hiding behind headphones, is schoolboy stuff. It's like being sent to Coventry in some Enid Blyton boarding-school story.

Clarke is the ultimate bubble boy. Often misunderstood, carefully image-managed, groomed for the captaincy at a young age, living in a goldfish bowl (replete with supermodel female partners), reputation damaged by some team-mates, and now suddenly facing a new reality that is both ambrosia and arsenic. On one hand, his behaviour at the Gabba has been described as unbecoming of an Australian captain; on the other hand, his much-maligned reputation as a pretty boy, a metrosexual (whatever that is supposed to connote, presumably negative, as described in yesterday's Australian), a brand that hasn't resonated with the VB-swilling public - unlike how those of AB, Tubby, Tugga and Punter did - has now apparently been transformed: from pup to mongrel. And according to many, this is apparently the best thing for his image. It took a threatening expletive and a sanction from the ICC to get him into that club! His fantastic batting wasn't enough for us?

It's a concept that I struggle with personally, but I daresay I'm in the minority. I find it disturbing that we equate manhood and toughness with what we've just seen from the captain. The captain no less.

I've always been a Clarke supporter thus far, but not this time. The other main protagonists, Jimmy Anderson and David Warner, splendid cricketers both of them, played their part in the drama, but does that surprise anybody? Brand consistency they call it.

One of the programmes I run is called A Few Good Men, and it is aimed at getting the good men of sport (and there are many) to take a leadership role in confronting the growing problem of violence in society, specifically violence against women. To think that the national cricket captain is being praised in some quarters for enhancing his brand with a threat to someone to expect a "broken f***ing arm" just speaks to the hopelessness of trying to start a counter-revolution that flies in the face of what our sporting leaders are promoting, even if only in the context of a sporting sledge. It's hard to compete with messages that say real men don't walk away from a fight (the Australian rugby league coach implied as much recently when his star player was involved in a punch-up at the World Cup in Manchester).

Michael Vaughan was quoted today as saying that the Lillee-Thomson era was much worse, so there's nothing to worry about. That doesn't really address the core issue of whether we think it is edifying to watch our cricket stars behave like hooligans or not. Just because it has been worse in times gone by doesn't necessarily make it right. The penalties may vary but a wrong doesn't become a right because it's less bad.

Many people not familiar with the environment of professional sport shake their heads and wonder how this sort of behaviour can occur in what is effectively a workplace. Some of the invective hurled by both teams would constitute workplace harassment in most cases. At best, it would be seen as abysmal etiquette to colleagues or competitors. Yet in sport these bubble boys proudly sing the national anthem, represent their countries, are heroes to kids (and cash in handsomely for that), and then reckon that the rest of their behaviour can exist in a moral vacuum. Maybe sport does live in a bubble after all, and so do all those who work in this special industry

My ten-year-old son posed a question to which I had no definitive answer. It was in relation to a Powerpoint slide I use in my work on respect for women that goes something like this: A male librarian says, "We've agreed to put the magazines which are degrading to women out of the reach of children", to which the female librarian says, "I see. And how old do they have to be before degrading women is all right?" In the context of recent events involving verbal and physical violence, my son wanted to know about the shift from being told not to sledge, not to use foul language, not to threaten opponents, to these things suddenly being perceived as a positive sign of manhood. In junior sport, all of these are frowned on. Judging by the endorsement of the new, more masculine, Michael Clarke, my son wants to know when you go from being boy to man, where the sins of boyhood become the proud tattoos of manhood. The only answer I could offer him was that in our family there was no invisible line.

Leadership is turned upside down when grown men are excused for behaviour that would earn a young cricketer a suspension. We expect so much of our boys but should they display those same decent qualities in adulthood, society demands we burst that bubble. Bubble boys indeed!

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and is a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on November 30, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    I've searched many a dictionary but am yet to find abusive to be a synonym for aggressive.

  • on November 29, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    Where were these thoughts of yours when the all conquering Aussies were bullying the world with mental disintegration in the previous decade? Anyway better late than never I guess.

  • connoblehill on November 29, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    If I were the England team I would make it policy not to talk to any media at all and leave the media completely in the cold ditto the Australian cricket team. Absolutely no comment except by Cook to mature interviewers (probably Richie B when well and Mark Nichlas.). Be as cool and removed as possible and win or lose say nothing.

  • ReverseSweepRhino on November 29, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Sports are played with both body and mind. Verbal exchanges are a crucial part of the mentality of game.

    However, there are limits. Just as there are limits on physical aggression, there should be clear limits on verbal aggression. The umpires should be encouraged to award a 5-run penalty for excessive swearing or extremely threatening language. (Perhaps a warning the first time, followed by penalties for further infringement by anyone in the team.)

    This penalties will force the players to tone down their verbal aggression, or to say the same thing in a less threatening way. Had Clarke said something like "You might need a couple of x-rays after this over, mate!" that would have seemed appropriate to the vast majority of fans.

    Leave the stump microphones on and enforce penalties in the game itself. I think it will help more than match-fee fines and post-game criticism.

  • jkaussie on November 29, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    @david_jockel what are you on about?? How is that relevant to this article? The article talks about lost tempers and bad language directed at opponents, nothing to do with either of the players you mentioned. Neither of them have been cited or mentioned as having gone over the top with on field "banter". @muzika_tchaikovskogo, ahh finally another unsubstantiated whine re the imbalances of the ICC! The very incident mentioned in this article is proof that no player gets away with anything untoward, there's simply way too much scrutiny.

  • rappedonthepads on November 29, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    The least we can do is to forever stop referring to this as the Gentleman's game. We're on a descent steeper than we thought.

  • njr1330 on November 29, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    Did Tendulkar ever swear at anyone? I doubt it. Did Bradman ever threaten to break anyone's arm? No, he was too busy scoring runs, thereby grinding the opposition into the dirt!

  • on November 29, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Excellent article. Since when has there been so much admiration (led by the press) to what (from both sides) can be interpreted as legalised bullying. Grow up....we just want to see a hard fought contest.

  • on November 29, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    @Rachit, maybe they should ban the "occupation" of pugilism, then? We can't have blanket rules about different kinds of occupations. Being in an air-conditioned office is quite different from a sport. In fact, if you're comparing occupations, it would make much more sense to compare cricket with sports like football, tennis. You would find there're really no common standards of acceptable intimidation. Tennis players are usually civil, footballers get physical, and cricket seems to be somewhere in the middle. I don't know if children turning to violence bcoz of sports has been reported as a major problem in any modern society. So maybe like other sports, we let the players what they think is acceptable. And since we don't want a -ve effect on children, let's make sure the mics are turned off after every delivery! And as far as I can see, almost all cricketers, including Clarke and Anderson, seem to do a very good job of representing their country. They can't be expected to be perfect.

  • Vishnz on November 29, 2013, 1:30 GMT

    Excellent article. And I didn't know our very own Marty Crow can write so eloquently! I am 50+ and have played cricket from the age of 6 or so. I absolutely enjoy the game but I play the game not the person! I am always the first to applaud a good shot even if it is off my own bowling! If one has to sledge and get under the skin of the opponent to win, then one doesn't have confidence one's own abilities!!! Manliness my foot. It is fitting that the only team to bowl underarm is well-known for such tactics (and their entire nation stands by them, and says "How unlucky the words were broadcast" and beats up the broadcaster!). I say that the on field umpires need to have more power to intercede, and the third umpire should always be able to hear the stump-mike and intercede too! Ban the repeat offenders for defined periods on an ever increasing scale. Remember the Indian test at Sydney and how sensitive the Aussies got! They can't take it can they but can dish it out!!

  • on November 30, 2013, 22:59 GMT

    I've searched many a dictionary but am yet to find abusive to be a synonym for aggressive.

  • on November 29, 2013, 10:17 GMT

    Where were these thoughts of yours when the all conquering Aussies were bullying the world with mental disintegration in the previous decade? Anyway better late than never I guess.

  • connoblehill on November 29, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    If I were the England team I would make it policy not to talk to any media at all and leave the media completely in the cold ditto the Australian cricket team. Absolutely no comment except by Cook to mature interviewers (probably Richie B when well and Mark Nichlas.). Be as cool and removed as possible and win or lose say nothing.

  • ReverseSweepRhino on November 29, 2013, 9:28 GMT

    Sports are played with both body and mind. Verbal exchanges are a crucial part of the mentality of game.

    However, there are limits. Just as there are limits on physical aggression, there should be clear limits on verbal aggression. The umpires should be encouraged to award a 5-run penalty for excessive swearing or extremely threatening language. (Perhaps a warning the first time, followed by penalties for further infringement by anyone in the team.)

    This penalties will force the players to tone down their verbal aggression, or to say the same thing in a less threatening way. Had Clarke said something like "You might need a couple of x-rays after this over, mate!" that would have seemed appropriate to the vast majority of fans.

    Leave the stump microphones on and enforce penalties in the game itself. I think it will help more than match-fee fines and post-game criticism.

  • jkaussie on November 29, 2013, 5:13 GMT

    @david_jockel what are you on about?? How is that relevant to this article? The article talks about lost tempers and bad language directed at opponents, nothing to do with either of the players you mentioned. Neither of them have been cited or mentioned as having gone over the top with on field "banter". @muzika_tchaikovskogo, ahh finally another unsubstantiated whine re the imbalances of the ICC! The very incident mentioned in this article is proof that no player gets away with anything untoward, there's simply way too much scrutiny.

  • rappedonthepads on November 29, 2013, 4:18 GMT

    The least we can do is to forever stop referring to this as the Gentleman's game. We're on a descent steeper than we thought.

  • njr1330 on November 29, 2013, 3:54 GMT

    Did Tendulkar ever swear at anyone? I doubt it. Did Bradman ever threaten to break anyone's arm? No, he was too busy scoring runs, thereby grinding the opposition into the dirt!

  • on November 29, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    Excellent article. Since when has there been so much admiration (led by the press) to what (from both sides) can be interpreted as legalised bullying. Grow up....we just want to see a hard fought contest.

  • on November 29, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    @Rachit, maybe they should ban the "occupation" of pugilism, then? We can't have blanket rules about different kinds of occupations. Being in an air-conditioned office is quite different from a sport. In fact, if you're comparing occupations, it would make much more sense to compare cricket with sports like football, tennis. You would find there're really no common standards of acceptable intimidation. Tennis players are usually civil, footballers get physical, and cricket seems to be somewhere in the middle. I don't know if children turning to violence bcoz of sports has been reported as a major problem in any modern society. So maybe like other sports, we let the players what they think is acceptable. And since we don't want a -ve effect on children, let's make sure the mics are turned off after every delivery! And as far as I can see, almost all cricketers, including Clarke and Anderson, seem to do a very good job of representing their country. They can't be expected to be perfect.

  • Vishnz on November 29, 2013, 1:30 GMT

    Excellent article. And I didn't know our very own Marty Crow can write so eloquently! I am 50+ and have played cricket from the age of 6 or so. I absolutely enjoy the game but I play the game not the person! I am always the first to applaud a good shot even if it is off my own bowling! If one has to sledge and get under the skin of the opponent to win, then one doesn't have confidence one's own abilities!!! Manliness my foot. It is fitting that the only team to bowl underarm is well-known for such tactics (and their entire nation stands by them, and says "How unlucky the words were broadcast" and beats up the broadcaster!). I say that the on field umpires need to have more power to intercede, and the third umpire should always be able to hear the stump-mike and intercede too! Ban the repeat offenders for defined periods on an ever increasing scale. Remember the Indian test at Sydney and how sensitive the Aussies got! They can't take it can they but can dish it out!!

  • on November 29, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    Well said Mr. Jeh. The West Indies - Australia Test Series wherein there was a Tied Test result, was one of the most fiercely contested Test Match Series. The fierce contest was between Bat & Ball only - Foul Language / Physical Threats were not used. Frank Worrell & Richie Benaud won the hearts of Cricket Lovers all over the world. What I am watching now is shocking - ' it ain't Cricket '. Wake up ICC & come down heavy on the perpetrators of this Thuggery - ban them for life. Dr. Ahad Khan

  • on November 29, 2013, 0:12 GMT

    Another good article. I think its all to do with the concept of good & bad, right & wrong in our society and the contradictions we see in and around our lives. It is an ethical dilemma which is probably not a new thing and the battle between good & bad, what is acceptable and what is not will be ongoing. Healthy debate should also continue.

  • on November 28, 2013, 17:58 GMT

    Every time the tal is more about the sledging, and incidents between players, and not the cricket, it depresses the hell out of me. More so than that, I just turn the cricket off and immediately lose interest. I want to see teams play a game. Not snarl at each other in a misguided game of machismo that has no place in this sport - no matter what some may think.

  • VKJaya on November 28, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    Two thought provoking articles, from Martin Crowe and Michael Jeh. The Brisbane incidents are an example of the ugly behavioural trends we see in the world today, not limited to sports. There is no longer any sense of shame. Cricket is no longer the gentleman's game that it used to be. The blame should be laid squarely on the ICC, which should have acted a long time ago on when'sledging', began rearing its ugly head. It is also disgusting when commentators attempt to gloss over such atrocious behaviour with comments such as ". . . . appear to be having a chat", without calling it what it really is, verbal abuse. Perhaps these gentlemen having played the game and endured 'sledging' themselves feel it is not 'manly' to do so. Punitive action is called for in respect of all offenders, for after all the game is greater than the players. If no corrective action is taken immediately, we may not be too far away from the day things get really physical on the cricket field.

  • muzika_tchaikovskogo on November 28, 2013, 13:10 GMT

    @ViVGilchrist: Considering the kind of offences Australian players over the years have got away with, I fail t see any reason for complaining.

  • David_Jockel on November 28, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    One of the great ironies of all this is that two of the main characters, Mitch and Dave, had grown mustaches as part of Movember, an initiative designed to promote awareness of men's health issues - including depression.

    Nobody seems to have noticed this irony. The main comments I heard about Mitch's mo were along the lines that it was badass and added to his scary persona.

  • itsthewayuplay on November 28, 2013, 12:30 GMT

    If you're good at what you do, you don't have to sledge. Tendulkar throughout his career, particularly at his peak and Dravid and Laxman. The best way to respond to sledging for batsman is let it motivate them to go on to score big runs and for bowlers to run through a team. Because that's the aim is sledging is - to put a player off their game. Senior players would have to protect the younger and inexperienced players. But ultimately sledging is a sign off weaknesses because the perpetrator knows they are not good enough on cricketing skills alone or their opponent is better than them.

  • Biggus on November 28, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @Rachit Sharma:-Your workplace analogy doesn't really hold water mate. The possibility of physical damage from fast bowlers is part of the game, more akin to your boss in your workplace saying, "Get ready for an absolute mountain of paperwork, you won't be getting out of here until 7". It's part of the job.

  • Jagdish3k on November 28, 2013, 10:36 GMT

    It's all utterly rubbish.Australia have nor shown any sign of Batting resilience or exceptional quality of batting. Anyway, there bowling unit is good enough, if not excellent. However this is one test only. The sledging has been glorified as a tactic by this team which , itself shows a sorry state of affair. The England team has shown enough resilience in the past and i feel will do better in next test.The Australian team are not confident about their batting which will show later or sooner in the series.Anyway apart from home Series test wins , what else Mr. clarke has achieved. May be Glorifying the sledging is his achievement. Pub looks and behaves more Childish than Childlike.

  • on November 28, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    @abhishek kishore: dude, i dnt knw where u work, or wat u do...but i knw for sure that if i threaten someone with physical harm IN OFFICE, i will get a call from HR and might be given my marching orders soon! this isnt a bar room scenario, these arent ur frends...this is wat the cricketers do for a living, their "office", if u pls. also, i disagree with the "if he got spanked by the teacher, anderson shud hv too"! if clarke's comments got heard on the mic and he was punished, its coz he was caught. dsnt mean that the the ppl who didnt get caught were doing the right thing. if the same evidence was there for anderson (n no one apart from warne heard him say anything), i am sure he wud hv been docked his match fee too. the minute u get in the national team, u r representing your country on the global stage. "only human" dsnt count then. like it or not, u r the role model for many ppl, and this is not how i want a role model/national sportsman to behave wen the world is watching

  • BackStreetBowler on November 28, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    While MC has got castigated obviously for being unlucky enough to be caught on mic, the point Jeh makes is extremely valid. At no point can I condone sledging in sport especially now that I am father of an 8 yr old soccer aspirant.

    Somewhere the feeling seems to have percolated that the Australian win was thanks to this rediscovered aggressive attitude (read sledging). If we believe this, we are doing the greatest disservice to the performances of Johnson, Warner and Clarke.

    I think the best answer to all sledgers and also to those who support them would be a resounding response on the field. A big win by England in the 2nd test should just do the trick!!

  • jw76 on November 28, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    Well said, Michael. An excellent article, as is that by Martin Crowe about the masks we wear. Many modern Test players seem to think that working up and expressing a personal hatred for the opposition is the best way to perform, and I am sick of it. It is time the players and the authorities who do so little to restrain them started to see what they are doing to the image of the game - and of their own countries as well.

  • chaminda85 on November 28, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    I think this is blown way out of proportion. I enjoy the intensity and the contest that was involved. I may not be a kid anymore and I understand people's concern about expletives being broadcast on TV, but I like that the intensity and emotion of the game gets to this extent. Mentioning whether a child should sledge or not is an important discussion, but I believe that these are discussions people should be having with their own children and not be totally relying on sportsman and celebrities to provide the moral compass for children.

    This shouldn't have been broadcast on TV, but I have no problem with it happening.

  • VivGilchrist on November 28, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    The simple lesson through all of this is that its only considered "sledging" when Australia does it.

  • switchmitch on November 28, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Well articulated Michael Jeh.

  • Insult_2_Injury on November 28, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    When I heard that via the stump mic, I just knew that would be the whole focus, because it's the age of being offended and the media loves an angle. The brilliant nature of sport is that even though there is a win/ lose / draw for the purist, there are many other elements in play to dissect/oppose/agree with. Take what you want from the contest and leave me to take what I want. WG Grace sledged his way through his career and here we are a century later without the whole of society crumbling around us, still discussing it.

    For what it is worth, it was an excellent game of cricket with the real performances of note coming with bat and ball, while all the rest was just grist for those who can't be satisfied that emotion will be displayed by BOTH sides of a contest.

  • on November 28, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    They're human beings right? I don't know many people who've never ever threatened to physically harm somebody they've been annoyed at. Its not very mature, but there's nothing to get this worked up about. Every single action of theirs can't be judged with the perspective of providing an "example". Mind you, nobody actually harmed anyone. I can't believe such a big deal is being made about it.

  • Biggus on November 28, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    If he's gained any kudos from the incident it's for standing up for a debutant whom Anderson apparently offered to punch in the head. Fast bowlers have been breaking bones for a long time and it's considered part and parcel of the game whereas punching someone on the field of play has yet to find acceptance in the rule book, but here we are castigating Clarke, for apparently acting like a hooligan, and not a word about Anderson. Had I been in Clarke's position and one of the mouthiest players in the game offered to punch one of my players, a debutant no less, in the face I wouldn't likely have used that adjective but the message would have been similar. What Clarke said in effect was, "You've just threatened to punch one of my players. I consider that to be unacceptable so you'd better get ready for a very torrid time from our quick bowlers". Who is the real hooligan then, the one threatening pugilism or the one promising retaliation WITHIN THE LAWS OF THE GAME?

  • on November 28, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    Excellent article. I hope it's widely read.

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  • on November 28, 2013, 2:21 GMT

    Excellent article. I hope it's widely read.

  • Biggus on November 28, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    If he's gained any kudos from the incident it's for standing up for a debutant whom Anderson apparently offered to punch in the head. Fast bowlers have been breaking bones for a long time and it's considered part and parcel of the game whereas punching someone on the field of play has yet to find acceptance in the rule book, but here we are castigating Clarke, for apparently acting like a hooligan, and not a word about Anderson. Had I been in Clarke's position and one of the mouthiest players in the game offered to punch one of my players, a debutant no less, in the face I wouldn't likely have used that adjective but the message would have been similar. What Clarke said in effect was, "You've just threatened to punch one of my players. I consider that to be unacceptable so you'd better get ready for a very torrid time from our quick bowlers". Who is the real hooligan then, the one threatening pugilism or the one promising retaliation WITHIN THE LAWS OF THE GAME?

  • on November 28, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    They're human beings right? I don't know many people who've never ever threatened to physically harm somebody they've been annoyed at. Its not very mature, but there's nothing to get this worked up about. Every single action of theirs can't be judged with the perspective of providing an "example". Mind you, nobody actually harmed anyone. I can't believe such a big deal is being made about it.

  • Insult_2_Injury on November 28, 2013, 6:14 GMT

    When I heard that via the stump mic, I just knew that would be the whole focus, because it's the age of being offended and the media loves an angle. The brilliant nature of sport is that even though there is a win/ lose / draw for the purist, there are many other elements in play to dissect/oppose/agree with. Take what you want from the contest and leave me to take what I want. WG Grace sledged his way through his career and here we are a century later without the whole of society crumbling around us, still discussing it.

    For what it is worth, it was an excellent game of cricket with the real performances of note coming with bat and ball, while all the rest was just grist for those who can't be satisfied that emotion will be displayed by BOTH sides of a contest.

  • switchmitch on November 28, 2013, 8:17 GMT

    Well articulated Michael Jeh.

  • VivGilchrist on November 28, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    The simple lesson through all of this is that its only considered "sledging" when Australia does it.

  • chaminda85 on November 28, 2013, 9:22 GMT

    I think this is blown way out of proportion. I enjoy the intensity and the contest that was involved. I may not be a kid anymore and I understand people's concern about expletives being broadcast on TV, but I like that the intensity and emotion of the game gets to this extent. Mentioning whether a child should sledge or not is an important discussion, but I believe that these are discussions people should be having with their own children and not be totally relying on sportsman and celebrities to provide the moral compass for children.

    This shouldn't have been broadcast on TV, but I have no problem with it happening.

  • jw76 on November 28, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    Well said, Michael. An excellent article, as is that by Martin Crowe about the masks we wear. Many modern Test players seem to think that working up and expressing a personal hatred for the opposition is the best way to perform, and I am sick of it. It is time the players and the authorities who do so little to restrain them started to see what they are doing to the image of the game - and of their own countries as well.

  • BackStreetBowler on November 28, 2013, 9:46 GMT

    While MC has got castigated obviously for being unlucky enough to be caught on mic, the point Jeh makes is extremely valid. At no point can I condone sledging in sport especially now that I am father of an 8 yr old soccer aspirant.

    Somewhere the feeling seems to have percolated that the Australian win was thanks to this rediscovered aggressive attitude (read sledging). If we believe this, we are doing the greatest disservice to the performances of Johnson, Warner and Clarke.

    I think the best answer to all sledgers and also to those who support them would be a resounding response on the field. A big win by England in the 2nd test should just do the trick!!

  • on November 28, 2013, 10:11 GMT

    @abhishek kishore: dude, i dnt knw where u work, or wat u do...but i knw for sure that if i threaten someone with physical harm IN OFFICE, i will get a call from HR and might be given my marching orders soon! this isnt a bar room scenario, these arent ur frends...this is wat the cricketers do for a living, their "office", if u pls. also, i disagree with the "if he got spanked by the teacher, anderson shud hv too"! if clarke's comments got heard on the mic and he was punished, its coz he was caught. dsnt mean that the the ppl who didnt get caught were doing the right thing. if the same evidence was there for anderson (n no one apart from warne heard him say anything), i am sure he wud hv been docked his match fee too. the minute u get in the national team, u r representing your country on the global stage. "only human" dsnt count then. like it or not, u r the role model for many ppl, and this is not how i want a role model/national sportsman to behave wen the world is watching