IPL 2013 April 26, 2013

Counter sledging through performance - Richards

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Viv Richards, the former West Indies captain who is also the Delhi Daredevils ambassador, has said it's important to be confrontational in cricket against sledging and "bullying" tactics, but through performance.

When faced with a situation where a player is "standing at the crease with guys swearing at you, telling you all sorts of things about your parenthood…if you've got good substance, your presence at the crease will be enough," Richards was quoted as saying in Times of India. "You have got to think you are the man, having your chest and chin up and never taking a backward step. One has to try and exhibit what batsmanship is all about. When you score a hundred, it's going to hurt a bowler more than anything else.

"There are times you have to be confrontational. There are some bullies in cricket and nobody should be allowed to bully anyone. For me, if you confront me, I'll finish the confrontation myself."

Richards praised Chris Gayle for his destructive batting, the most recent example being his unbeaten 175 against Pune Warriors, but said even Gayle "plays the bluff" sometimes when he builds an innings gradually. "Gayle realises that being destructive as he is, there is a need to dash all the time. Sometimes he takes his time to play his way in and makes up for it later. I am sure Gayle plays the bluff a few times.

"While he's there in the middle the fielders are sweating all the time, wondering when he is going to just go. I believe it's like stopping at a traffic light - when it gets to green you have the chance to put the foot on the pedal."

Richards said he would always have a player like Virender Sehwag in his side. "They (players like Sehwag) may not get going all the time but when they do they can make up for all the losses."

There was no T20 cricket in Richards' time but had he had a chance, he said, "In this format the best batsmen should play the most overs. I would have liked to open the batting, but would not take the first ball for sure. I like to take a look from the other end."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Noboundary on | April 26, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    Well as the greatest batsman of his generation, it was actually Sir Viv who bullied the opposition with his great and at times ferocious batting! It is not easy for lesser batsmen to tackle sledging especially the racial kind. But there is a lesson to be learnt from Viv... let your bat or ball do the talk... as the great WI side did.

  • POSTED BY Donsshaddow on | April 26, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    Cricket by and large is a no-contact sport. A sport where the batsman uses his bat to do the talking and a bowler, the ball. What Viv says is spot-on, cricketers should do what they do best - play cricket and not indulge in a verbal-volley. there's no better way to deal with a sledger than hitting him for a boundary. That should do the trick

  • POSTED BY Sir.Ivor on | April 27, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    West Indians were not made for sledging. A mere look from Courtney Walsh was enough to put fear in the batsman facing him. Ambrose on the other hand was ready for fisticuffs on the field as Steve Waugh will testify. Their history was a lot about good clean fun, music,dancing and decent brotherhood. They are mostly God fearing and respectful. Even Viv Richards did not sledge much.They are not like the Australians who felt that champions needed to abuse to sustain that image. I remember Frank Worrell,Wes Hall Gary Sobers and Rohan Kanhai. All of them were gentle yet super athletes. The very sight of such players instilled an awe that was not fear but more of reverence because they were superhumans and gentle as well if you ignore their capacity to bowl real fast or hit the ball into the Bay of Bengal. So when Viv says that players should rattle the opponents by their performance than by sledging it is just a tacit admission that Calypso spirit and sledging don't go together.

  • POSTED BY deepak226 on | April 27, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    sometimes sledging can work against you also. sledging can be added motivation to do well and once one does well one can thank the opponent for sledging. best way to answer it is to perform and then thank the opponent for sledging. :)

  • POSTED BY Nightwing32 on | April 26, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Oh come everyone sledges but there are lines that you don't cross. It is in every sport. Viv sledged, who cares big whoop. It is pretty much what happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch.

  • POSTED BY nayonika on | April 26, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    Mr.Virat Kohli,please take note of Sir Richard's simple sermon and remember all your life. Your bat will talk and talk loud and clear. Just keep your mouth quiet and you will be as aggressive as him as a batsman and skipper.

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Can we replace Warner for Sir Viv? I have a sneaky feeling it would improve DD's fortunes.

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    The problem is Viv could certainly walk the talk .. his attitude was backed up by a technique honed against pace and bounce of some of the fastest men in the planet, and in the pudding pitches of Somerset. His aggression was fueled by a belligerence built on fierce pride. A major chunk of 'confrontational' men these days do not have that sort of substance behind the style.

  • POSTED BY jkaussie on | April 26, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Sledging has been in all sports for years, especially those where the distance between the crowd and the players insured you wouldn't be heard! WG Grace and his brother were famous for it; Viv Richards and many of the greats from that dominant WI side were also noted for it - Haynes in particular! I think it is fine as long as it never descends into comments about family, race, sexuality or religion - if it does then it has become abuse and that isn't acceptable. But getting an opponent to question their ability or their will to ride out a tough situation, no problem at all.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | April 26, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @sramesh_74 . If you ever happen to read Steve Rixon's & Allan Border's autobiograhy, then they cite several examples of Richards dishing it out, & not holding back either. And in one memorable encounter at the SCG in 1985 Richards offered to meet Rixon after the game to "sort it out". When Rixon willingly accepted the challenge, did Richards take it further? Read the book to find out if he did, *G*

  • POSTED BY Noboundary on | April 26, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    Well as the greatest batsman of his generation, it was actually Sir Viv who bullied the opposition with his great and at times ferocious batting! It is not easy for lesser batsmen to tackle sledging especially the racial kind. But there is a lesson to be learnt from Viv... let your bat or ball do the talk... as the great WI side did.

  • POSTED BY Donsshaddow on | April 26, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    Cricket by and large is a no-contact sport. A sport where the batsman uses his bat to do the talking and a bowler, the ball. What Viv says is spot-on, cricketers should do what they do best - play cricket and not indulge in a verbal-volley. there's no better way to deal with a sledger than hitting him for a boundary. That should do the trick

  • POSTED BY Sir.Ivor on | April 27, 2013, 7:14 GMT

    West Indians were not made for sledging. A mere look from Courtney Walsh was enough to put fear in the batsman facing him. Ambrose on the other hand was ready for fisticuffs on the field as Steve Waugh will testify. Their history was a lot about good clean fun, music,dancing and decent brotherhood. They are mostly God fearing and respectful. Even Viv Richards did not sledge much.They are not like the Australians who felt that champions needed to abuse to sustain that image. I remember Frank Worrell,Wes Hall Gary Sobers and Rohan Kanhai. All of them were gentle yet super athletes. The very sight of such players instilled an awe that was not fear but more of reverence because they were superhumans and gentle as well if you ignore their capacity to bowl real fast or hit the ball into the Bay of Bengal. So when Viv says that players should rattle the opponents by their performance than by sledging it is just a tacit admission that Calypso spirit and sledging don't go together.

  • POSTED BY deepak226 on | April 27, 2013, 3:59 GMT

    sometimes sledging can work against you also. sledging can be added motivation to do well and once one does well one can thank the opponent for sledging. best way to answer it is to perform and then thank the opponent for sledging. :)

  • POSTED BY Nightwing32 on | April 26, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    Oh come everyone sledges but there are lines that you don't cross. It is in every sport. Viv sledged, who cares big whoop. It is pretty much what happens on the pitch, stays on the pitch.

  • POSTED BY nayonika on | April 26, 2013, 15:10 GMT

    Mr.Virat Kohli,please take note of Sir Richard's simple sermon and remember all your life. Your bat will talk and talk loud and clear. Just keep your mouth quiet and you will be as aggressive as him as a batsman and skipper.

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    Can we replace Warner for Sir Viv? I have a sneaky feeling it would improve DD's fortunes.

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 12:19 GMT

    The problem is Viv could certainly walk the talk .. his attitude was backed up by a technique honed against pace and bounce of some of the fastest men in the planet, and in the pudding pitches of Somerset. His aggression was fueled by a belligerence built on fierce pride. A major chunk of 'confrontational' men these days do not have that sort of substance behind the style.

  • POSTED BY jkaussie on | April 26, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    Sledging has been in all sports for years, especially those where the distance between the crowd and the players insured you wouldn't be heard! WG Grace and his brother were famous for it; Viv Richards and many of the greats from that dominant WI side were also noted for it - Haynes in particular! I think it is fine as long as it never descends into comments about family, race, sexuality or religion - if it does then it has become abuse and that isn't acceptable. But getting an opponent to question their ability or their will to ride out a tough situation, no problem at all.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | April 26, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @sramesh_74 . If you ever happen to read Steve Rixon's & Allan Border's autobiograhy, then they cite several examples of Richards dishing it out, & not holding back either. And in one memorable encounter at the SCG in 1985 Richards offered to meet Rixon after the game to "sort it out". When Rixon willingly accepted the challenge, did Richards take it further? Read the book to find out if he did, *G*

  • POSTED BY JohnnyRook on | April 26, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    @Smithie. I can only speak about me. I don't like bullying in any form. Sledging is a form of bullying. So I am against it immaterial of the language. I have no issues with a bowler who kills the batsman with a legal bouncer but I have major issues with a bowler who abuses a batsman or vice-versa.

    Other problem Ian Chappell once mentioned is escalation. Problems always start small. If not nipped in the bud, they will always end up very big.

    Also cricket is a very heterocultural environment and with a lot of historical animosity to boot. One man small barb might be other man's major insult (Monkeygate) or re-opening of old wounds. In western culture, if two people fight, the guy who crossed the line is bigger culprit. However in subcontinent the primary culprit is always the instigator. So value system is different. It may also be the reason Referees and Umpires from subcontinent are loads more lenient than western counterparts. Hope this helps.

  • POSTED BY MAK123 on | April 26, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    Here, Richards is clearly speaking from his past experiences in competitive cricket. Perhaps many would remember the infamous "grovel" comments made by Toney Greig (RIP) when the great WI side visited them. The next day, the English side was blown away by the furious WI bowlers. A great case study for those who want to counter bullying.

  • POSTED BY funkyandy on | April 26, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    Sir Viv = still the king!! Truly the greatest!

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    That is Viv Richards, True sportsman with sporting spirit. What he said is absolutely right. One should learn sporting spirit form West Indian players, always jovial and play a game like game. One more thing what Richards said is right best player should face maximum overs in T20 format.

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    I watched the documentary "Calypso Kings" , where Sir Richards was the greatest anti-bully at the time. His presence alone commanded respect if nothing else. The majestic hoik over sqaure-leg sent sledgers over the ropes all day long.

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    I have seen Viv only TV. His very presence at the crease would dwarf everything around him. I have never seen anyone with that kind of presence ever. Everything about him on the field was regal. Viv and Walsh - The King and the Gentle Giant.

  • POSTED BY Smithie on | April 26, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Sledging is part of cricket and if used wisely can impact a game but the reverse can also be true. Why do Indians in particular find it so objectionable? Do they engage in it in Hindi and only object to it in English? Many Aussies especially would love to hear some rational Indian perspectives on the issue.

  • POSTED BY KK47 on | April 26, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Why is that the only former players blaming T20s for demise of test-cricket are those who never stood a chance even there had been? Look at Viv, the most destructive batsmen world has ever seen ruing the fact that T20's were not present in his playing days. If Delhi Daredevils cannot find some fight even in the presence of Viv, I don't know how they will.

  • POSTED BY sramesh_74 on | April 26, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    The original Mater Blaster never sledged. His swaggering walk, body language and brutal strokeplay effectively shut the mouths of any potential sledger!!!

  • POSTED BY sramesh_74 on | April 26, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    The original Mater Blaster never sledged. His swaggering walk, body language and brutal strokeplay effectively shut the mouths of any potential sledger!!!

  • POSTED BY KK47 on | April 26, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Why is that the only former players blaming T20s for demise of test-cricket are those who never stood a chance even there had been? Look at Viv, the most destructive batsmen world has ever seen ruing the fact that T20's were not present in his playing days. If Delhi Daredevils cannot find some fight even in the presence of Viv, I don't know how they will.

  • POSTED BY Smithie on | April 26, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Sledging is part of cricket and if used wisely can impact a game but the reverse can also be true. Why do Indians in particular find it so objectionable? Do they engage in it in Hindi and only object to it in English? Many Aussies especially would love to hear some rational Indian perspectives on the issue.

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    I have seen Viv only TV. His very presence at the crease would dwarf everything around him. I have never seen anyone with that kind of presence ever. Everything about him on the field was regal. Viv and Walsh - The King and the Gentle Giant.

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    I watched the documentary "Calypso Kings" , where Sir Richards was the greatest anti-bully at the time. His presence alone commanded respect if nothing else. The majestic hoik over sqaure-leg sent sledgers over the ropes all day long.

  • POSTED BY on | April 26, 2013, 9:31 GMT

    That is Viv Richards, True sportsman with sporting spirit. What he said is absolutely right. One should learn sporting spirit form West Indian players, always jovial and play a game like game. One more thing what Richards said is right best player should face maximum overs in T20 format.

  • POSTED BY funkyandy on | April 26, 2013, 9:54 GMT

    Sir Viv = still the king!! Truly the greatest!

  • POSTED BY MAK123 on | April 26, 2013, 9:55 GMT

    Here, Richards is clearly speaking from his past experiences in competitive cricket. Perhaps many would remember the infamous "grovel" comments made by Toney Greig (RIP) when the great WI side visited them. The next day, the English side was blown away by the furious WI bowlers. A great case study for those who want to counter bullying.

  • POSTED BY JohnnyRook on | April 26, 2013, 10:38 GMT

    @Smithie. I can only speak about me. I don't like bullying in any form. Sledging is a form of bullying. So I am against it immaterial of the language. I have no issues with a bowler who kills the batsman with a legal bouncer but I have major issues with a bowler who abuses a batsman or vice-versa.

    Other problem Ian Chappell once mentioned is escalation. Problems always start small. If not nipped in the bud, they will always end up very big.

    Also cricket is a very heterocultural environment and with a lot of historical animosity to boot. One man small barb might be other man's major insult (Monkeygate) or re-opening of old wounds. In western culture, if two people fight, the guy who crossed the line is bigger culprit. However in subcontinent the primary culprit is always the instigator. So value system is different. It may also be the reason Referees and Umpires from subcontinent are loads more lenient than western counterparts. Hope this helps.

  • POSTED BY Chris_P on | April 26, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    @sramesh_74 . If you ever happen to read Steve Rixon's & Allan Border's autobiograhy, then they cite several examples of Richards dishing it out, & not holding back either. And in one memorable encounter at the SCG in 1985 Richards offered to meet Rixon after the game to "sort it out". When Rixon willingly accepted the challenge, did Richards take it further? Read the book to find out if he did, *G*