After all that's been happening in cricket in the last few days, I thought I'd write something that'll take our minds away from the unpleasant events (albeit for a few moments).
Sledging—the dreaded "S" word in cricket—often brings out the funny side of the sport. While things are said at the heat of the moment to intimidate opponents, off the field these incidents are just laughed at.
I think sledging makes cricket more interesting for the fans. It also fosters the creative streak amongst the players.
Here's a look at some of the most hilarious/interesting sledges in cricket, in no particular order. Though most of these are well-known, reading them again will surely bring at least a chuckle or two. So here goes..
Sledge No. 1 (One of my father's favourites)
Sir Ian Botham has beaten Sir Viv Richards a few times. Beefy goes up to Viv and says "It weighs about five ounces, it's red, shiny, round and you're supposed to hit it!"
King Richards simply obliges and the next delivery is walloped out of orbit. Then, Viv says "You know what it looks like, you go find it!"
Sledge No. 2
Mervyn Hughes to Graham Gooch after playing and missing at a number of consecutive deliveries: "I'll get you a piano instead to see if you can play that."
Sledge No. 3
Shane Warne: "Daryll, I've been waiting years for the chance to embarrass you again."
Cullinan: "Really? It looks like most of the time you spent eating."
Sledge No. 4
Cullinan had become Warne's bunny. When he was batting against the Kiwis, he got beaten some Kiwi bowler. Parore yelled "Bowled Warnie!".
Sledge No. 5
In one of the tour matches in South Africa, Australia played Hansie Cronje's province. Cronje was at the non striker's end, there was a short chubby batsman on strike.
Ian Healy yelled to Warne, "Bowl a Mars Bar half way down...We'll get him stumped".
The Aussies and Cronje were all in hysterics. the batsman's retort: "Nah, Boonie fielding at short leg will be onto it before I can move."
Sledge No. 6
During 1991 Adelaide Test, Javed called Merv Hughes a fat bus conductor.
A few balls later Merv dismissed Javed and called out "Tickets please", as he ran past the departing batsman.
Sledge No. 7
In an England v Australia Test during early 1960's Trueman was fielding close to the gate from the pavilion. As a new batsman came out he turned to shut the gate, Trueman said "Don't bother son, you won't be out there long enough."
Sledge No. 8 (Did not know of this 'till two minutes ago!)
Sachin Tendulkar Vs Abdul Qadir
The year was 1989, the little master had recently made his debut in Pakistan. The 16-year-old was facing the best bowlers in the business. As the Pakistani crows jeered and mocked Sachin holding out the placards saying "Dudh Pita Bhachcha...ghar jaake dhoodh pee", ("Hey kid, go home and drink milk").
Sachin sent the then young leg spinner Mustaq Ahmed hiding for cover (he had hit two sixes in one over.)
The frustaded mentor of Mustaq Ahmed the legendary Abdul Qadir challenges Sachin saying "Bachchon ko kyon mar rahe ho? Hamein bhi maar dikhao" ("Why are you hitting kids? Try and hit me.").
Sachin was silent, since then we all have come to know that he lets his bat do the talking. Abdul Quadir had made a simple request and Sachin obliged, and how! Sachin hit 4 sixes in the over, making the spinner look the kid in the contest. The over read 6, 0, 4, 6 6 6.
David had felled Goliath ... and a legend was born.
Sledge No. 8
Malcolm Marshall was bowling to David Boon who had played and missed a couple of times. Marshall: "Now David, Are you going to get out now or am I going to have to bowl around the wicket and kill you?"
I selected only the most "presentable" ones. There are tons of sledges involving McGrath-Sarwan, McGrath-Brandes, Marsh-Botham and others. All of them, though crass often times, do bring out a hearty laugh from all of us.
In these troubled times, all the heated debates about the legitimacy of sledging (that happened not so long ago) seem so strangely irrelevant.
All we want is a good game of cricket. Sledging certainly adds a dimension to this great game.
Are those good times past us now?