Kirmani joins the sledging debate
Former Indian stumper Syed Kirmani on Saturday described sledging as a part and parcel of cricket, but expressed strong disapproval of the tactics being used for "intimidating" and "disturbing" opponent players during matches.
"Sledging was always there. It will be there. It is a part and parcel of the game. Many a times I have seen people sledge, but not on all occasions is it personal sledging," Kirmani told newspersons here.
Kirmani, now in the city to conduct a special camp for junior cricketers of Bengal, recalled that he had sledged his teammates on several occasions.
"It may have been for a misfield, or a dropped catch. It is a spontaneous reaction, done on the spur of the moment," he said.
However, he hastened to add that if sledging was practised to intimidate and disturb opponent players, then that could not be a part of the gentleman's game.
"For instance, disturbing a particular player by intimidating him is not fair. Sledging shouldn't be used as a weapon for victory," he said.
Kirmani said though he himself had never resorted to sledging opponents, he often was at the receiving end of such behaviour.
"Those who did it, did so from a deep sense of frustration," he said.
The former wicket-keeper laid stress on good-naturedly behaviour and a spirit of sportsmanship on the field.
"You've got to play in the right spirit of the game.. like a real gentleman," he said referrring to an instance in the 80's when stylish Indian batsman Gundappa Viswanath had his stumps uprooted by a beauty of a ball from Pakistani speedster Imran Khan. Viswanath stopped, appreciated the delivery and then walked off.
"If the appreciation part is missing, then cricket ceases to be a gentleman's game," he added.
Kirmani's comments are the latest inputs in the ongoing controversy on sledging triggered by legendary Indian opener Sunil Gavaskar who condemned the practice while giving the Colin Cowdrey lecture at the MCC last month.
Pulling up Australia, the little master had said that the champions were setting a wrong example by their intimidatory tactics and "verbal bouncers" on the field.
Former Aussie fast bowler Dennis Lillee fuelled the debate by mocking at Gavaskar and alleging that the ex-Indian skipper had himself resorted to protest on the cricket field when he was given out during a Test in 1981.
But two World Cup winning skippers - India's Kapil Dev and West Indies' Clive Lloyd - rallied behind Gavaskar, though former Pakistani middle order bat Javed Miandad voiced his support to verbal sledging in his autobiography "Cutting Edge."