Weellll, how about the bullshit flying around the Commonwealth Bank Cricket Tournament in Oz? Don’t you think it is about on par with a bunch of immature school kids in the throes of some petty bickering about minuscule matters that could well have been avoided?

Okay, so Andrew Symonds heard what he thought was Harbajan Singh calling him ‘monkey’ – so what? This then got blown all out of proportion and was referred to as a racial slur. As I mentioned in an earlier post (here) about it – come again? Racial??? Really!!!! So Harbajan was penalised, the BCCI made asses of themselves, the ICC took a backward step, and things got smoothed over for a bit.

Next episode: Symonds looked like he was bad-mouthing Ishant Sharma after getting out to a superb delivery and Sharma – all nineteen years of him – gestured with his finger towards the dressing room (Java would have extended the middle digit in an unmistakable non-verbal retort). So Martin Crowe (not the most objective or intelligent of match referees in our view) slaps a fine on the youngster, but seems to have been blind to the provocation that caused it. Is that weird, or is that weird?

Anyway, it looks like matters developed from there and the next thing we see is Mathew Hayden getting press for referring to Harbajan as “an obnoxious little weed” – faaar out! Talk of probable charges and fines was bandied about and the next thing we saw was Hayden on the tube reading a statement about it and there was no further mention or news of charges being made or a fine being assessed. Fair enough, in our view. We hold that not only has sledging evolved to be part of the game, but what an individual says about another (off the field, mind you) is known as ‘freedom of expression’ and is perfectly valid.

Don’t you think it’s about time that these grown men, and icons of sport, to boot, grew up and stopped acting like a bunch of cry-babies and ninnies? Let’s get on with the game – and if there is to be some verbal banter, let it be reciprocated in kind, instead of behaving like a bunch of pansies. After all, sledging does add to the spice of the game and is often laced with the type of wry humour that many of us appreciate as much as an elegant cover-drive.

The final match of the tournament promises to be an acrimonious affair. Great! It will certainly add immeasurably to the contest and hopefully the sledging will continue without anyone bursting into tears and running to mummy. It would also be great if the ICC and other cricketing bodies get together and decide to slap fines on the cry-babies, instead of the sledgers – just as long as race and religion are not brought into the equation.

How do you see it?