Over the sledge

Published: 04 December 2017

Stuart Broad and Steve Smith exchange a few sledgey words

England coach calls for muted mics

Stuart Broad and Steve Smith exchange a few sledgey words
Image © 2017 AAP Image/Dave Hunt

In the winter, sledging is a family-friendly activity which sends snow flying and lights up children’s faces.

But come summer, the term refers instead to flying insults. And the England cricket coach would like to see kids’ ears protected.

Trevor Bayliss says he’s uncomfortable with the amount of Ashes sledging, and he wants verbal exchanges censored from television viewers.

Bayliss is concerned the verbal clashes between his players and Australia is overshadowing the cricket.

Asked if he was comfortable with the level of sledging in the series, Bayliss replied: "Personally from my point of view, probably not.

"And that goes from both sides," he said.

"But it's just the way the game is these days."

Bayliss was worried about the impact that sledging heard via stump microphones would have on children watching and hearing it on television.

"I would like to see the microphones turned down," he said.

"I don't think that is necessarily a great thing for young kids at home watching.

"It adds to the spectacle when you hear playing the game.

"But I don't think anyone necessarily actually has to listen to what is being said."

Bayliss denied England had a premeditated plan to sledge Australian captain Steve Smith while he was batting in the second Test in Adelaide on Saturday.

"It's grown men playing a very competitive sport and sometimes those emotions boil over," Bayliss said.

"It's just red-blooded young males out competing against each other.

"I think most of the time it's fairly light-hearted. Sometimes there's a lot more made of it in the press than what actually happens out in the field.

"After the games and after this series the blokes are together having a beer with no hard feelings. It's just the way the game is played."

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland said the sledging didn't meant a lack of respect between the sides.

"I do feel very strongly about the spirit of cricket and the way the game is played,' Sutherland told ABC radio on Sunday.

"I do feel conscious of playing hard but playing very fair.

"But I am also very conscious, and I know our players are conscious of, wanting Australian cricket fans to be proud of them.

" ... Certainly I'm very proud of our team and the way they go about it and, in recent times, the way they have found where the line is drawn."

Giving lip to the opposition has a long and illustrious history in cricket, going back at least as long as The Ashes (the origin of which is itself more a sarcastic ribbing than a trophy).

The term sledging dates back to the 1960s, with a somewhat disputed origin. Former Aussie captain Ian Chappell suggested it came from the term “as subtle as a sledgehammer” to describe a particularly coarse remark made in front of a woman.

But other stories circulate about Percy Sledge’s 1966 hit, When A Man Loves A Woman, and foul language then being known as “Percy Sledging”.

Either way, it certainly has nothing to do with dashing through the snow. Which definitely should be banned on the cricket field.

with AAP
© 2017 AAP