'Sledging a waste of time, but also an art'
Sledging is an art and our players must learn it well before practicing it, otherwise bans and fines will always be handed out to them, writes Mahendra Singh Dhoni.Updated: May 01, 2008, 12:54 IST
We will be squaring off against a very good Delhi team on Friday. The Daredevils have very good bowlers in the form of Mohammed Asif and Glenn McGrath. It will be important for us to get off to a good start. We have to make sure that this duo does not make any inroads into our batting when we bat. Even when we bowl, it will be crucial to get as many dot balls going as possible. Virender Sehwag is in great form and it will be crucial for us to start off well with the ball as well.
<b1>The Harbhajan-Sreesanth issue has been dealt with, and the former has been banned for 11 games. All players at this level know the limits they have to stay within, and once they go beyond these limits, they will be fined. Harbhajan Singh is a matchwinner and he must know that there is no greater high than playing well for one's team. However, if he gets on the wrong side of the law, he will not be able to do that.
One of the reasons why the Indians run foul with authorities is because there is very little sledging in first-class cricket in India. It's when these youngsters get into the international level that they see and hear what the other teams are saying and some of them try it, but without the expertise of their foreign counterparts. I have said this in the past: sledging is an art, and our players must learn it well before practicing it. Otherwise bans and fines will always be handed out to them.
I personally find sledging a waste of time. I would rather preserve energy and try to get the opposition out by concentrating on doing my job well. I focus on the game, getting my plans right and then executing them well, so sledging is not for me at all. However, there are a few guys in the team who are pretty good at the chit-chat and I don't stop them if they don't go beyond the limits.
If somebody is getting under your skin, there is a way to give it back. I am all for aggression and not taking anything lying down from the opposition. It is important to give as good as you get, but it's even more important to know how to do it.
Coming back to the Super Kings, I am proud of the way we came back from the edge to pull off a victory against the Royal Challengers. The Bangalore bowlers were able to swing the ball right till the 18th over.
However, 180 was a good score, and while we were falling behind in the middle, we finished well to win the game.
Interestingly, we were unable to swing the ball at the start of the Bangalore innings. However, at around the 14th over, we realised that we had not been shining the ball. It was a schoolboy error, but we were lucky to detect it in time! After that, we got Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher in quick succession, and that turned the tide for us.