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Thread: Gary Kirsten : the whistleblower

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    U19 12th Man Bapu Rao Swami's Avatar
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    Gary Kirsten : the whistleblower

    By Robert Craddock in Mumbai
    October 24, 2004

    THE Australian cricket team is again under fire for the "hardcore abuse" dished out to rival nations.

    As the Australians head to Nagpur for Tuesday's third Test against India, South African opening batsman Gary Kirsten has blown the whistle on Australia's sledging, claiming the world champions mix humour, subtle technical digs and hardcore abuse to unsettle opponents.

    Kirsten, who played 18 Tests against Australia over almost a decade, claims Australia and his South African team were the two biggest sledging sides of his era.

    Popular with the Australians, Kirsten generally enjoyed the banter but felt there were times the Australians went too far, such as when coloured batsman Justin Ontong was given a "roasting" when he made his Test debut in the Sydney Test of 2000-01.

    Ontong was ushered into the side at the request of South African board president Percy Sonn, who was trying to promote the cause of multi-racial cricket.

    "When he returned to the dressing room, (Ontong) sat down, considered what he was about to say, and then said it: 'If that's Test cricket then I don't particularly want a part of it'," Kirsten wrote in his autobiography, Gazza, to be released in South Africa next week.

    "He'd been absolutely roasted. One of the least offensive jibes was to call him Percy Sonn's love-child, but there was a non-stop barrage of abuse and clever comments that only the Aussies could come up with.

    "It was deeply personal and, in my view, totally unnecessary. I have no problem with sledging but it has to be an even match otherwise it is nothing more than schoolground bullying."

    Kirsten's claims follow former English captain Mike Atherton's description of Australia last week as "general bad eggs" and current English captain Michael Vaughan's claim that "they know only one way to play it ... in your face and especially in your ears".

    Since the introduction of Australia's spirit of cricket pact a year ago, Ricky Ponting's team have tried to eradicate personal sledging. Their patience, though, has been tested with several sharp exchanges with India's combative off-spinner Harbhajan Singh in the first two Tests.

    Kirsten said he was warned by Kepler Wessels before his international debut at the SCG in 1993 to expect a verbal grilling from the Australians.

    "He told me they would try to destroy me mentally, get inside my head and kill me off. He said they routinely targeted young players and players on debut, first and foremost, before turning their attention to the big guns, the key players who often held the fortunes of the team in their hands."

    But it was not until later that summer that the Australians opened fire.

    "Warney led the way and tore into me the most. He was still at a particularly talkative stage of his career. It's funny how most of us calm down and become a lot more controlled once we turn 30, and Warney was no exception.

    "But I also had the impression, sometimes, that the rest of the team looked to Shane to take the lead when a member of the opposition needed a bit of a blast.

    "Shane saved his best efforts for when you were standing next to him at the non-striker's end.

    "I recall him telling me that I was wasting both my time and his -- and that I didn't belong on the same field as him -- and also that I might want to consider a career change if I wanted to make a living.

    "Generally I'd have to say they were clever rather than just dirty, although I was also the subject of plain, unimaginative, hardcore abuse. But when they try to work on your mind as well as just your emotions they become much more effective.

    "The very best sledging has a technical edge to it, and when that is backed up by bowlers as good as Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne it really does affect you."

    Kirsten also reveals how Shane Warne nicknamed him Tom, in honour of Tom Cruise, after an embarrassing incident when he tried to chat up a group of women at a trot meeting in Adelaide in 1994, unaware they were the wives of the Australian players.

    "That night I had great difficulty sleeping. The abuse I was sure to get on the field the next day chilled me to the bone," he said.

    Kirsten said nothing was said when he walked out to bat, but the taunts started when Shane Warne, setting his field, said loudly to Ian Healy: "How are we going to get out Tom Cruise today?"

    "There followed a verbal roasting for the next 20 minutes ... I didn't last much longer. Warnie still calls me Tommy to this day."

    The Sunday Telegraph

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    International 12th Man deeps's Avatar
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    heheh, a very very good article

    i believe sledging is part of cricket, until it becomes personal. Obviously, kirsten is also of a similar school of thought, and he beleives the aussies stepped over that line ofter!

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    U19 12th Man Bapu Rao Swami's Avatar
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    To be frank with you, I completely agree. There is no harm in choosing some good words to rattle the opposition. What I mean is that I like sledging I really do, and yes we all face sledging in our regular lives, whether at office, at the Gas Station or in hostels

    But I have heard some real nasty sledging,on many occassions and as late as a few months back like in Sri Lanka during March. Hayden to Smith when Smith debuted in the test series against Australia in SA. I'm talking real nasty abuse. I have also heard racial abuse, sometimes the West Indians to Aussies, and sometimes Aussies to West Indians.

    I believe Waseem Akram said it best, what are the umpires there for?

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    World Traveller Craig's Avatar
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    If your batting, the best way to counter a bowler giving you some lip is to start smacking his (and the other bowlers) around the park and make a big 100 or 200. If your bowling and the batsman is mouthing goff, get him out. That will shut them big time.

    Try and rub it in as well.
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    International 12th Man deeps's Avatar
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    smacking the bowler around is not the only way to frustrate a bowler. just yesterday, i batted for 20.4 overs, and made a grand total of 5 runs not out

    you have no idea how frustrated the fieldign team were at me. Was trying to save the match, and i did so successfuly along with my captain who is predominantly a bowler.

    at 8/65 chasing 210, victory was out of the question. the first 6 or 7 overs, they gave me lip...the rest of the time, i barely heard a peep other than the occasionaly "do you realise your' allowed to hit the ball?"

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    International Vice-Captain KennyD's Avatar
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    Actually, maybe this is a good time to tell your personal experiences of sledging. I am Australian, and I believe that the Australians are the most brutal, clever and frequent sledgers in the world, and I believe it starts in the grasroots, namely, when we are at school.

    For example I play in a private catholic school competition called the AIC in Brisbane QLD, for my school Padua in the First XI. Now I would have thought you get 2 teams of 11 chrisitian boys on the field and you would have at least some description of civility. Im certain in the lower grades of school, this doesn't exist as much, but when theres a bit of schoool pride on the line in the firsts, theres absolute verbal carnage. Now Im half Japanese, and look it, and when I played against St Peters Lutheran College this year (somemay know it) they felt the best way to mentally disturb me was to call me a ``stupid f***ing gook who should be back studying''.

    I think the problems of sledging in Australia do start at the high school age of cricket. Anyone else have nasty high school cricket sledging experiences to share?
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    I remember both Sachin and Lara doing that to shut up McGrath during some matches. That was gold.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig
    If your batting, the best way to counter a bowler giving you some lip is to start smacking his (and the other bowlers) around the park and make a big 100 or 200. If your bowling and the batsman is mouthing goff, get him out. That will shut them big time.

    Try and rub it in as well.
    Its 1989. Venue Peshawar. The then 15 year old Sachin Tendulkar walks out to bat amid taunts from the spectators "Dudh Pita Bhachcha ..ghar jaake dhoodh pee"... (translated : milk drinking baby, go home drink some milk)

    This could have frustrated the child prodigy to such that the first 3 balls he faced of the then rookie leg spinner Mustaq Ahmed went for 16 runs (6,6,4). A bowling change was hastily enforced, in comes the vetren Abdul Qadir. Qadir verbally provoked Tendulkar and challenged Tendulkar to get a six of his bowling. The result: 27 runs in that over with FOUR SIXERS !!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by KennyD
    Actually, maybe this is a good time to tell your personal experiences of sledging. I am Australian, and I believe that the Australians are the most brutal, clever and frequent sledgers in the world, and I believe it starts in the grasroots, namely, when we are at school.

    For example I play in a private catholic school competition called the AIC in Brisbane QLD, for my school Padua in the First XI. Now I would have thought you get 2 teams of 11 chrisitian boys on the field and you would have at least some description of civility. Im certain in the lower grades of school, this doesn't exist as much, but when theres a bit of schoool pride on the line in the firsts, theres absolute verbal carnage. Now Im half Japanese, and look it, and when I played against St Peters Lutheran College this year (somemay know it) they felt the best way to mentally disturb me was to call me a ``stupid f***ing gook who should be back studying''.

    I think the problems of sledging in Australia do start at the high school age of cricket. Anyone else have nasty high school cricket sledging experiences to share?
    yeah i played in the CAS (another private school) competition in Sydney. We used to get stuck into each other a fair bit. Coming in at number 9 those days, i used to let the bowler know if i was hitting him around. You could always pick the best bowlers to give it too - if they were prone to a bit of fire and brimstone, you could expect a barrage of bouncers to come down, but seen as though they're only 17 it's not exactly frightening stuff and were reasonably easy to pick off for more runs.

    IN Grade cricket now, and it's pretty much the same. I consider myself to be a pretty handy sledger, although every now and then i get a little abusive (cause i bet down the order still, it's usually when i have just got out to a really stupid shot and am now bowling). When you get downright abusive though is when it works the least, as most batsmen (particularly experienced ones) just shrug it off.

    The best form of sledging is little personal jibes, and it's kinda hard to come up with them when your playing lower grade cricket as you only see teams once a year, but then the next year you could have a completely different team.

    Where playing Northern District in a couple of weeks time, and with a bit of luck the guy whos hand i broke last year in third grade would have gone down a grade like me, so i can have a little bit of fun with him again.

    The best things to sledge at:
    1) Technical aspects of their batting. Doesn't matter if it's there or not, if you can get them to try and be aware of it, they (particularly younger players - under 17) will become paranoid about them. Even if it isn't there, something like "You should really to talk to the coach about that gap between bat and pad buddy" or "don't you think your backlift is a little high" can get a guy with too many voices in his own head.

    2) Batsmen aggression. Even if there going along at a normal rate, to a younger guy something like "you've only got 80 overs out here today, you don't wanna be 3/140". Won't work with experienced guys as they know if your 2 or less wickets down at 40 overs (tea time) you can easily score 200+ (even up to 250 or 270) runs in the final 40 overs.

    3) Batsmen fashion. Try and look at the guys your playing before the game, notice if any of them rock up to the game wearing anything particularly outlandish, and when they come out to bat, ask a thousand questions about it "how much did that shirt cost ya?", "you sure you didn't steal if of the old neighbours washing line", "is that the going fashion out in the western suburbs cause i've been looking for something like that?". It's always helpful to your cause if a batsmen comes out in sunglasses. Even more helpful if a batsmen comes up with designer styled hair, or a redicolous mullet.

    4) Girlfriends and/or sisters. Pure Sledging Gold. If they bring a girlfriend to the game, your god given right is to rattle them up over that. Don't even think i need explaining how easy it is. Just be inventive, rather than downright un original such as "whats she like in bed?".

    They're pretty much the four best things to get stuck into it. The big thing is to not say what is likely to have been said to them the week before. Stuff like "dont be scared mate he's only bowling medium pace" is likely to have 0 effect, unless they are truly ****ting themselves to a trundler, but that to is unlikely to happen.

    The other big thing, is you've sledged someone don't drop them. You can bowl a loose ball and get him for 4 or 6, but they're gloating will only last one ball. You drop them and they have a comeback to you for the whole time they're out there.

    And although downright abuse i don't think is wrong unless it just gets completely overboard (which i think very rarely happens), sledging should never cross the line of race or religion, and you shouldn't ever spit on a batsmen.

    And don't let fielding position get in the way. Of course it's easier to sledge when your fielding in close, in the slips, or bowling. Having a cross-pitch converstaion (from mid wicket to cover) about the batsmen making sure the umpires can hear you can unsettle a batsmen.

    Mid wicket to Cover: "Oi Steve you know how many overs have gone?"
    Cover to mid wicket: "About 33 but this guy had me asleep 10 overs ago"
    mid wicket to cover 4 balls later: "you reckon we should move out and give this guy a single, watch him block out another over at the other end?"
    Last edited by hourn; 23-10-2004 at 11:04 PM.

  11. #11
    Cricketer Of The Year Mr Casson's Avatar
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    What exactly is Kirsten blowing the whistle on? That the Aussies sledge? That sometimes they go a bit far? Gee, never knew that.

    Learn something new everyday.

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    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig
    If your bowling and the batsman is mouthing goff

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    Eyes not spreadsheets marc71178's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thirdumpire
    Its 1989. Venue Peshawar. The then 15 year old Sachin Tendulkar walks out to bat amid taunts from the spectators "Dudh Pita Bhachcha ..ghar jaake dhoodh pee"... (translated : milk drinking baby, go home drink some milk)

    This could have frustrated the child prodigy to such that the first 3 balls he faced of the then rookie leg spinner Mustaq Ahmed went for 16 runs (6,6,4). A bowling change was hastily enforced, in comes the vetren Abdul Qadir. Qadir verbally provoked Tendulkar and challenged Tendulkar to get a six of his bowling. The result: 27 runs in that over with FOUR SIXERS !!!
    A quick search and I couldn't find this scorecard - it wasn't an International game was it?

  14. #14
    International Vice-Captain KennyD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hourn
    yeah i played in the CAS (another private school) competition in Sydney. We used to get stuck into each other a fair bit. Coming in at number 9 those days, i used to let the bowler know if i was hitting him around. You could always pick the best bowlers to give it too - if they were prone to a bit of fire and brimstone, you could expect a barrage of bouncers to come down, but seen as though they're only 17 it's not exactly frightening stuff and were reasonably easy to pick off for more runs.

    IN Grade cricket now, and it's pretty much the same. I consider myself to be a pretty handy sledger, although every now and then i get a little abusive (cause i bet down the order still, it's usually when i have just got out to a really stupid shot and am now bowling). When you get downright abusive though is when it works the least, as most batsmen (particularly experienced ones) just shrug it off.

    The best form of sledging is little personal jibes, and it's kinda hard to come up with them when your playing lower grade cricket as you only see teams once a year, but then the next year you could have a completely different team.

    Where playing Northern District in a couple of weeks time, and with a bit of luck the guy whos hand i broke last year in third grade would have gone down a grade like me, so i can have a little bit of fun with him again.

    The best things to sledge at:
    1) Technical aspects of their batting. Doesn't matter if it's there or not, if you can get them to try and be aware of it, they (particularly younger players - under 17) will become paranoid about them. Even if it isn't there, something like "You should really to talk to the coach about that gap between bat and pad buddy" or "don't you think your backlift is a little high" can get a guy with too many voices in his own head.

    2) Batsmen aggression. Even if there going along at a normal rate, to a younger guy something like "you've only got 80 overs out here today, you don't wanna be 3/140". Won't work with experienced guys as they know if your 2 or less wickets down at 40 overs (tea time) you can easily score 200+ (even up to 250 or 270) runs in the final 40 overs.

    3) Batsmen fashion. Try and look at the guys your playing before the game, notice if any of them rock up to the game wearing anything particularly outlandish, and when they come out to bat, ask a thousand questions about it "how much did that shirt cost ya?", "you sure you didn't steal if of the old neighbours washing line", "is that the going fashion out in the western suburbs cause i've been looking for something like that?". It's always helpful to your cause if a batsmen comes out in sunglasses. Even more helpful if a batsmen comes up with designer styled hair, or a redicolous mullet.

    4) Girlfriends and/or sisters. Pure Sledging Gold. If they bring a girlfriend to the game, your god given right is to rattle them up over that. Don't even think i need explaining how easy it is. Just be inventive, rather than downright un original such as "whats she like in bed?".

    They're pretty much the four best things to get stuck into it. The big thing is to not say what is likely to have been said to them the week before. Stuff like "dont be scared mate he's only bowling medium pace" is likely to have 0 effect, unless they are truly ****ting themselves to a trundler, but that to is unlikely to happen.

    The other big thing, is you've sledged someone don't drop them. You can bowl a loose ball and get him for 4 or 6, but they're gloating will only last one ball. You drop them and they have a comeback to you for the whole time they're out there.

    And although downright abuse i don't think is wrong unless it just gets completely overboard (which i think very rarely happens), sledging should never cross the line of race or religion, and you shouldn't ever spit on a batsmen.

    And don't let fielding position get in the way. Of course it's easier to sledge when your fielding in close, in the slips, or bowling. Having a cross-pitch converstaion (from mid wicket to cover) about the batsmen making sure the umpires can hear you can unsettle a batsmen.

    Mid wicket to Cover: "Oi Steve you know how many overs have gone?"
    Cover to mid wicket: "About 33 but this guy had me asleep 10 overs ago"
    mid wicket to cover 4 balls later: "you reckon we should move out and give this guy a single, watch him block out another over at the other end?"
    lol, you just wrote a comprehensive technical guide to sledging. And I loved the bit about bringing a girl to the game.

    Actually theres one guy, a very good fast bowler in QLD, names Michael Gould, played in the last National U-17 comp in december, if you wanna look him up on baggygreen. Anyway I see him quite a few times every year, usually twice at school, then twice at club in grade or 18's and then usually at rugby. Anyway he's got an absolute knockout of a sister who always comes along to cheer on her big brother. Now of course every teenager out there gives him **** about having a hot sister and it really gets to him. But the funniest thing is, even his own teamates at school give it to him. On one such occasion when Gould was getting up one of his teamates for something or other, his teamate dropped in a remark about his sister.
    So Gould, livid, ordered his player off the field! ANd the player, quite funnily, left! And they played the rest of the game with 10 men.
    Twas kinda funny.

  15. #15
    Cricket Web Staff Member / Global Moderator Neil Pickup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KennyD
    lol, you just wrote a comprehensive technical guide to sledging. And I loved the bit about bringing a girl to the game.

    Actually theres one guy, a very good fast bowler in QLD, names Michael Gould, played in the last National U-17 comp in december, if you wanna look him up on baggygreen. Anyway I see him quite a few times every year, usually twice at school, then twice at club in grade or 18's and then usually at rugby. Anyway he's got an absolute knockout of a sister who always comes along to cheer on her big brother. Now of course every teenager out there gives him **** about having a hot sister and it really gets to him. But the funniest thing is, even his own teamates at school give it to him. On one such occasion when Gould was getting up one of his teamates for something or other, his teamate dropped in a remark about his sister.
    So Gould, livid, ordered his player off the field! ANd the player, quite funnily, left! And they played the rest of the game with 10 men.
    Twas kinda funny.
    Good to see that team spirit's alive and well..
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