Traditionalists may not like the fact, but sledging in cricket is very much part of the modern game. Sledging is essentially insulting the opposition during the game in an attempt to distract them. It is most commonly used by either the bowler, wicket-keeper or other members of the fielding team to wind up the batsmen who is relatively isolated amongst opposition players.
The Australians are renowned as the inventors of sledging and are certainly the nation that introduced the practice to international cricket. Other nations have been slower to respond – the likes of India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan in particular initially resisted the trend but in more recent years have adopted the practice also.
The debate over sledging will doubtless continue. Some argue that it oversteps the mark of gamesmanship into a form of aggression that the game can do without, whilst others see it as an accepted and often entertaining part of competitive cricket. What is certain is some sledging insults will go down in cricket folklore.
Some of the Best Sledges:
Ricky Ponting & Shaun Pollock - After beating the bat with a couple of deliveries, Pollock told Ponting: "It's red, round & weighs about 5 ounces." Ponting hammered the next ball out of the ground and retorted: "You know what it looks like, now go find it."
Fred Trueman and Raman Subba Row– Fielder Subba Row let an edge off Trueman’s bowling slip through his legs. Fred didn't say a word initially but at the end of the over, Row approached Trueman and apologised sheepishly. "I should've kept my legs together, Fred". "So should your mother," he replied.
Merv Hughes & Javed Miandad - During 1991 Adelaide Test, Javed called Merv a fat bus conductor. Having dismissed Javed a few balls later Merv gleefully called out "Tickets please," as he ran past the departing batsman.
Daryll Cullinan & Shane Warne - As Cullinan strode out to bat, Warne told him he had been waiting two years for another chance to humiliate him. "Looks like you spent it eating," Cullinan replied.
Glenn McGrath - What does Brian Lara's dick taste like?
Ramanesh Sarwan - I don't know ask your wife
Glenn McGrath - You mention my f*cking wife again and i'll rip your f*cking throat out!
Inzaman Ul-Haq to Brett Lee - Stop bowling off-spinners.
Ian Healy trying to convince Ranatunga to leave his crease - Put a mars bar on a good length, that should do it!
Healy to Ranatunga: "Why are you so fat?"
Ranatunga in Reply: : "Because everytime i f**k your mum she gives me a cookie"
And of course you can't forget Ian Healy's legendary comment that was picked up by the Channel 9 microphones when Arjuna Ranatunga called for a runner on a particularly hot night during a one dayer in Sydney... "You don’t get a runner for being an overweight, unfit, fat c**t!!!"