Sunday, December 10, 2006

Back up the talk?

An interesting little nugget at the end of this report on the Indian win over the Rest of South Africa:

[Rudolph] wasn't quite so kind though when asked about the various on-field incidents, which had seen parts of the game played in a heated atmosphere not usually found at tour matches.

"Sometimes it's a bit of stupidity," he said. "The inexperience of Sreesanth showed at times. Hopefully, he can back it up in the Test matches with the ball in hand, and not necessarily his mouth."

In general, Indians getting into the sledging act seems to throw off opposing teams more than say, the Aussies or the South Africans themselves (witness, for instance, the furore over Indian chatter and Ganguly's behavior during the 2001 home series against Australia). Further it seems to me that Indian cricketers when they sledge, go immediately from first gear to fifth gear i.e., I think they genuinely lose their temper out there, and aren't just getting a bit feisty for the heck of it. The most famous incidents I can remember, Harbhajan (in general) but most notably his run in with Ricky Ponting a few years ago, Zaheer Khan in the 2003 World Cup final, Gautam Gambhir v. Andre Nel last year, and perhaps most famously Tendulkar telling McGrath to "fuck off" during the 2000 Nairobi Cup were all quite ill-tempered incidents. This seems to suggest that the finely calibrated art of sledging still remains to be mastered by the Indian lads. Practice makes perfect, I suppose.

Rudolph's advice is worth taking seriously. For all the chat, its the wickets that will count the most for Sreesanth (if he plays, that is). And if Rudolph plays in the tests as well, he can check it out for himself.


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