IPL 2013 April 26, 2013

Counter sledging through performance - Richards

ESPNcricinfo staff

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

  • Subramani 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.

  • deepak 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. :)

  • Shankar 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.

  • Ramakrishnan 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • Jon 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.

  • Peter 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*

  • abhijeet 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.