Sledging may have been Australia’s gift to cricket but the behaviour of players from India and Bangladesh during and after the ICC Under-19 World Cup final on Sunday has left the administrators and some former greats shocked.
The West Indians never had to sledge. “That look, eyebrows raised, hands on hips, and a vicious bouncer past your nose would give the message,” remembered Kapil Dev, who admitted he was “shocked” at the manner in which the Indian and Bangladesh juniors conducted themselves.
“I welcome aggression. Nothing wrong in it. But it has to be controlled aggression. You can’t cross the line of decency in the name of being competitive. Personally, I would say it was unacceptable that youngsters put up such obnoxious display on the cricket field,” he noted.
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Mohammad Azharuddin, who led India in 47 Tests, was also critical of the both the teams. “How can you do this? You just keep abusing the opponent right through the game in the name of playing hard. Australians played hard always but without getting personal. We had fast bowlers who did not believe in using cuss words to pump themselves up or upset the batsmen.”
Kapil, one of the greatest the game has known, wants the youngsters to remember that they represent the country and have to set examples. “You all can lip read what they were uttering. I don’t want to take names but it was unpleasant to see. The boys were wasting their energy by indulging in needless sledging.”
Another great, Sunil Gavaskar, has always been critical of the poor behaviour on the field by modern cricketers. He would never fail to question the act of bowler abusing the batsman on getting his wicket. “When you have got the batsman out what is the need of cursing him. Haven’t you won your battle by getting him out,” asked Kapil.
Kapil and Azharuddin want the BCCI and the coaches to act fast. “I would like to see the board to take some strict action to set an example. Cricket is not about abusing the opponent. I am sure there is enough reason for these youngsters to be dealt with firmly,” said Kapil.
Azharuddin hoped the support staff was asked to explain. “I would take action against the errant players but also want to know what role has the support staff played in educating the youngsters. Act before it is too late. The players have to be disciplined.”