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Obituary: The art of sledging is dead

Dane Eldridge Columnist

By Dane Eldridge, Dane Eldridge is a Roar Expert

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23 Have your say

    The art of sledging has perished underneath a landslide of fatigued quips and peacocking. Out of respect, please turn to the person beside you and tell them to f*** off.

    Also known as ‘chat’, ‘lip’ or the more affectionate ‘mental disintegration’, sledging was pronounced dead after a long battle with the afflicted posturing and faux aggression of the modern game, much like the capers witnessed in Adelaide’s Ashes Test.

    While the artform fought valiantly to remain relevant in its twilight, doctors confirmed the last traces of wit and humour had now left its body.

    Sledging’s last breaths were spent on life support, with those keeping a bedside vigil respectfully lashing it for being ‘shit’ as it trudged off to the sheds of heaven.

    The artform lived an eventful existence, peaking in popularity during the mid-to-late 1900s as intelligent and inoffensive banter, before gradually declining to become an unimaginative shadow of its glory days.

    Prior to its unceremonious death in the custody of today’s generation, sledging took on many incarnations of various acclaim.

    The practice was revered throughout the jaunty jape era of the war, but its reputation began to suffer with the caustic revolution of the ’70s and ’80s when chipper wisecracks intersected with boorish pro-machoism.

    (AAP Image/Darren England)

    The irreversible psychological trauma of the Steve Waugh years confirmed sledging’s annihilation as a light-hearted tactic, along with Merv Hughes farting.

    But ‘mouthing off’ truly became terminal with cricket’s globalisation through T20 and the internet and stuff.

    As intercontinental relationships strengthened and secrets were shared, players became reluctant to deploy obscene and vividly descriptive insults of wives and partners towards their peers. Additionally, technology made them dumb.

    From here, sledging further unravelled to woofing, facial contortions, international caps for Matt Wade and it’s nadir, the abuse of New Zealanders for being too pleasant.

    A domino effect ensued whereby verbal assaults of cricketers began spilling over into different spheres, with some preferring to abuse each other through Christmas bestsellers or by simply beating each other up in nightclubs.

    At this point there was nothing left for the pitch but witless scraps. The art of sledging was officially dead, with only its ghosts remaining to echo through sportsmen’s lunches and former greats desperate for attention on series’ eve.

    It will be buried alongside the follow-on, with the following to appear on the headstone:

    “In affectionate remembrance of sledging, which died in the 21st century. Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and wannabe gangsters in flannel. RIP. NB: The remains will be cremated and fined 10 per cent of its match fee.”

    Dane Eldridge
    Dane Eldridge

    Dane was named best and fairest in the 2004 Bathurst mixed indoor cricket competition. With nothing in the game left to achieve, he immediately retired at his peak to a reclusive life ensconced in the velvet of organised contests. Catch the man on Twitter @eld2_0.

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    The Crowd Says (23)

    • December 6th 2017 @ 7:09am
      qwetzen said | December 6th 2017 @ 7:09am | ! Report

      Cricket is doing what art has always done; it’s imitating life. And life is getting dumber. The Rise of the Bogan, breakfast television, tattoos, facial jewellery, ‘reality’ tv, hulking great urban 4wds, Nein sports comms, Trump, Brexit, cage fighting, rap, hip hop, comic book cinema etc etc prove that beyond question. Bah!

      • December 6th 2017 @ 8:05am
        Onside said | December 6th 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        ‘Cricket ………….. it’s imitating life.’ Hows that !

    • Roar Guru

      December 6th 2017 @ 7:52am
      DingoGray said | December 6th 2017 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      Dane do really know which end of the pen to hold? Did you ever get your Pen licence in primary school?

      I’ve never read so much garbage. How does the Roar employ you?

      Don’t give up your Day job!

      PS. I’ll get the beers tonight after knock off.

      • December 6th 2017 @ 2:36pm
        Sandy said | December 6th 2017 @ 2:36pm | ! Report


    • December 6th 2017 @ 7:57am
      Onside said | December 6th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      Live microphones killed Test match sledging, but in Grade cricket, creative sledging is thriving.

      • December 6th 2017 @ 9:02am
        Junior Coach said | December 6th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

        Most of seems to be questioning the sexuality and parentage of opposition players, I would hardly call that creative.

    • December 6th 2017 @ 7:58am
      VanMac said | December 6th 2017 @ 7:58am | ! Report

      Mitchell Johnson’s wicket celebration turned death stare to Jimmy Anderson still cracks me up every time i see it.

    • December 6th 2017 @ 9:15am
      paul said | December 6th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

      The art of sledging is not dead, it’s just resting.

      There are two groups of players on a cricket field – those who talk inane crap constantly and those who come up with really good sledges. The first group thinks they sledge, but all they do is bore people, while the second group can hardly be heard over the rubbish coming from group one, eg Warner and co.

      We need the real sledgers to stand up and be counted, and/or the other guys to put a sock in it.

      PS there’s actually a third group; those who egg on the guys talking crap. I didn’t include this comment as they tend to have the IQ of a meat pie.

    • December 6th 2017 @ 9:56am
      Onside said | December 6th 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

      the IQ of a meat pie = 24

      • Roar Guru

        December 6th 2017 @ 10:54am
        jeznez said | December 6th 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

        I think you are being generous. Surely it is 3.14

        • December 6th 2017 @ 11:37am
          spruce moose said | December 6th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

          That would be the PieQ…

          • December 6th 2017 @ 1:19pm
            qwetzen said | December 6th 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

            You’re making a meal out of now…

        • December 6th 2017 @ 2:24pm
          Onside said | December 6th 2017 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

          Despite the hint by Spruce Moose , I didn’t get it, so Googled 3.14. Very good. Piethagoras

      • Roar Guru

        December 6th 2017 @ 1:06pm
        The Barry said | December 6th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

        Nice one…

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