I was recently reading a great article on sledging by Harsha Bhogle and it got me thinking what does aggression on the cricket field mean. Aggression on a cricket field has been a hugely misunderstood concept.
I never understood the concept of sledging and mental disintegration. We have never seen a player like Tendulkar resorting to such on field theatrics and has still managed to score runs all around the world.
Australians have been the pioneers in the art of Sledging over the years. What once started as a friendly banter on the field between the batsmen and the bowlers has now become personal attacks in the name of Sledging. The happenings in the recent series between India and Australia has surely proved that sledging needs to be put to an end soon in cricket.
So now coming back to my original question, What is Aggression? What does it mean by being aggressive on a cricket field? Aggression as far as I am concerned is nothing but positive intent by a player on the field. By intent I mean, positive body language. Courtney Walsh, being a great fast bowler was also one of most likeable one. A good ball by him was followed by a stare at the batsmen on his follow through, which was scarier than an offensive comment by our mordern day pacemen. That was more than enough to put the fear in the batsman’s mind. Sachin Tendulkar and Brian lara, two greatest cricketers of our time did not require sledging but are still considered most aggresive cricketers.
The recent Indias tour to Australia will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, even though it was one of the most competetive series involving the world champions. As Harsha had mentioned in his article its really sad to note that Dhoni wanted the youngsters to learn the “Art of sledging” from Australia. Being aggressive means to sledge according to the mordern day cricketer. Pointing the batsmen back to the pavilion, as if he doesnt know get there isnt aggression. Ishant Sharma is a great talent and he should remember that performances on the field are judged by your wickets and not by your words.
The Indian team is a very talented bunch and they should put behind this tour and concentrate on being more consistant and if they do that they will be the number 1 side by the end of this year. India will face Australia, England, Srilanka and SA this year and winning against each of them would mean that they will be the best team by a long way. Things could have been handled little bit better by the management of both the teams in the last couple of months which would reduced the media coverage, putting more emphasis on the action on the field.
I hope that both Kumble and Dhoni, sit with the youngsters and cool them down and explain to them that the Australian series is now behind them and it would be better if they concentrate on the season ahead. There were lots of distractions for both the teams with the IPL auction and also the constant media coverage on anything or everything sorrounding the “Turbunator” but still the focus remained on cricket for the Indians atleast.
I hope that we play good cricket throughout the year and become the number one cricket team in the world and not number 1 sledgers in the world.