Sledgers are well known for their abilities to perturb the opposition and distract them for playing their natural game on the field.
Cricket may be popularly known as the gentleman’s game but this description of the sport doesn’t hold that good in the present day scenario. Sledging and sledgers have been quite successful in modifying the outcomes of a match as well. Many cricketing legends in the past have become victims of sledging and have seen sledgers ply their trades against the oppositions as well.
Former Indian batsman, VVS Laxman is one of those who has opened up on the topic in his recently released autobiography 281 and beyond. He has explained sledging to be a powerful weapon to distract the opposition and make a personal attack on them as well. Furthermore, he has named two sledgers from the Indian dugout he has played with in his times which exercise absolute supremacy in the field. They are none other than speedster Zaheer Khan and spinner Harbhajan Singh.
He said that they would employ a very simple approach to the process in order to create an impression of doubt in the opposition batsman. The batsman in most of the situations falls prey to the trick employed and loses his wicket in the process.
“I felt the best sledgers I’ve come across were Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan. Zaheer was so smart, he would talk about the things which may irritate the batsmen. Something as simple as ‘you are struggling now. I know that I’ve got you.’ It’s just about creating that iota of doubt in the batsman’s mind.”
Commenting further on sledging Laxman said that sledging is nothing but an outburst of aggression which has to be pretty natural. It’s not something you learn or practice or show off. Successful sledgers are those who are mentally tough and don’t struggle to show that on the field. Laxman concluded saying that to make sledging work one need not show off or else he would remain struggling in his attempts only to land nowhere.
“Aggression has to be very natural. Some players show off their aggression, some are internally aggressive. If you are trying to be someone who you are not, then you will struggle. Ultimately when you are playing at the highest level, you have to be mentally tough and mentally tough or having killer instinct doesn’t mean you show off your emotions. It’s about doing well in tough conditions. Whoever does that, will be mentally tough.”