So here I go...
Along with the phenomenal rise of the Aussies as the undisputed world champions the world also got to witness an unprecedented rise in sledging. That being the case, it must also be mentioned that sledging is a worldwide occurrence and Australia are not the only ones indulging in it.
With cricket telecast undergoing a revolutionary change matters got magnified as people got to witness & hear the slightest of offensive gesture enacted & verbal abuse uttered on the cricket field. At times, in the heat of the battle, things would go off hand and touch boiling point.
In short, the world has got to see cricket transform from, a so called, gentleman's game to a more rugged & competitive sport.
Although the Aussies are the ones who are immediately associated with sledging, it must be admitted that the Aussies have charmed the whole world with their thorough professional display & outright ruthlessness when it comes to performance on the cricket field. They have taken cricket to dizzy heights and more importantly are not done yet.
However, the subject that I have chosen to dwell on is not the Aussies and their mind- boggling surge but the subject of sledging.
Is sledging a necessary evil or is it a tumour (an unwanted ball of mass) that is eating into the health of the game?
I have a split take on this.
I, personally, as a player, would not like to indulge in sledging as I have, somehow, found it an unpleasant act to be indulging in. Moreover, I would rather prefer my skills to do the talking than gulp the bitter taste that sledging leaves behind.
Having said that, as a batsman I have always believed that we have no room for complaint against sledging as we need to be competent to handle anything thrown at us.
It is a competitive world out there and everybody is out there to grab every inch of space available - there is no quarter given. When it is such a tough world out there it is a case of 'the survival of the fittest'.
As a batsman, I believe, one needs to be able to shut out every form of distraction and be able to get on with the job on hand. As long as there is no talking once the bowler has started his run up, I have no hassles with any kind of chirping that goes on around you.
So while I, personally, would not prefer to indulge in sledging, I have no complaints against the ones that indulge in.
However, the umpire should step in if things get vulgar and go off hand. If in the umpire's opinion the concerned player has crossed the line then he/guilty party should be pulled up. So that things are kept under check.
My verdict is that sledging is something that cricket will have to do with provided things are kept under check and not allowed to go over board.
In the final analysis, it is a fine line that the authorities will have to draw in an effort to demark competitive sledging from abusive behaviour. If they are successful in doing that then sledging may well be a necessary evil that the game of cricket will have to live with.