CHENNAI: When one hears the name Glenn McGrath, one of the things that come to the mind is his altercation with Ramnaresh Sarwan. When he took over as director of the MRF Pace Foundation, the first question Express posed to him was whether he would teach his wards the art of mental disintegration.
The fast bowling great was stumped. After a pause, he replied, “No. It’s not the right thing. In my case it happened at the spur of the moment. I won’t be advocating this to the boys,” McGrath had said.
Age might have mellowed McGrath down, but sledging is still an integral part of the Aussie mindset. Will the India-Australia ODI series beginning on September 17 witness verbal duels?
“Sledging is part of their culture. It’s a weapon in their armoury. They use it at critical junctures to unsettle players and achieve their goal,’’ said former India batsman Hemang Badani.
“During my hundred against them at Pune (2001), they continuously tried to disrupt my concentration by sledging. I didn’t bother. Seniors like Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman told me to avoid falling into the trap,’’ added Badani.
Steve Waugh, one of the finest captains and propagator of the ‘art of mental disintegration’, had said during one of his visits to India that Australians, in general, hate to lose and would go all out to clinch the victory.
“Back home, only limited teams play domestic cricket. Limited teams mean limited opportunities, so it’s survival of the fittest,” Waugh had said.
Sadagopan Ramesh, a member of the famous 2001 Test series won by India, believes sledging has come down in the last few years.
“Overall, it has come down a bit. But you never know when it will flare up. It all depends how the game pans out for them,’’ said Ramesh.
During a tour of Australia in 1986, Kapil Dev’s hit killed a seagull on the field. Shaken, Kapil signalled for water, but Australia captain Allan Border did not allow.
“That is their mindset. They are tough competitors. Getting a wicket is important for them, the means do not matter.”
India have a captain in Virat Kohli who is aggressive and knows how to pay back in the same coin.
“There is nothing wrong in Kohli’s approach. You need someone to hit back when your players are targeted unfairly. Different captains have different approaches. Kohli is passionate about the game and as a captain feels it his duty to protect his players. There is nothing wrong if he is aggressive,” opined Badani, coach of the Board President’s XI that will play against Australia on September 12.