Cricket Opinion

Who Does the Line Belong To?

It is often said that the line belongs to the umpire. That is in reference to decisions that are made in terms of giving a batsman out. The line in question is about the etiquette on the field. How much is enough when it comes to sledging? It may be easier to give a more accurate answer as to how long a piece of string is. Players will get away with as much as they can before they are called out. Cricketers have to adapt to the situation they are in. If an umpire is refusing to step in, then they have the option to fight fire with fire.

The Australians are renowned for sledging and getting in the faces of the opposition. It is the Australian way and makes them the team they are today. Their confrontational approach has contributed towards building some of the best rivalries around. Fans love to hate. Turning up the ante is what creates great sporting spectacles.

Where would international sport be without a bit of needle? A lot of the noise in between games is what stirs up everyone’s interest. It is that same interest that fuels the adrenaline that comes spilling out when your team is able to win.

Sledging also contributes towards some of the more unsavoury scenes in cricket. Who can forget the ugly spat between Glenn McGrath and Ramnaresh Sarwan? Curtly Ambrose and Steve Waugh almost came to blows at the Queen’s Park Oval. Few will forget Kieron Pollard throwing his bat at Mitchell Starc. Pollard had backed away before Starc bowled but the lanky left-arm quick didn’t stop, bowling the ball at a helpless Pollard.

There are times where lines are crossed. If the authorities are to police sledging, then what is acceptable and what isn’t? Sooner or later, someone is going to go ‘too far’. Can you complain when someone has gone too far after you have partaken in sledging?

David Warner did in the most recent incident involving an Australian player. It’s hard to think of a single player in world cricket who has said more to opposing players. The pot calling the kettle black comes to mind. Warner would do well to remember that he is fair game. Former South African captain Graeme Smith labeled Warner a fool after his complaints.

The South Africans are more fired up than ever after the recent incidents. The backlash the Baggy Greens are going to feel may hamper their chances of winning the series. Warner is 10/3 in cricket betting to be Australia’s leading run scorer this series. After the events at Kingsmead, how distracted is he? Warner will have to show immense character to rise above the problems he faces. The Australians will be expecting him to contribute.

It could not have been an easy week for the powerful opener. He has been the architect of his own current problems. It will be a concern for coach Darren Lehmann. David Warner is key to winning this series.

There are positive and negatives attached to sledging. The line is a fine one but for the most part, it is respected. The ICC may have a clearer view of this once this particular series ends. For now, the players will have to use their own discretion.