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The art of not not sledging

[door Robert Wolfe]     One of the beauties of playing cricket in a small cricket nation, is that you get to know your opposition quite well over the years. So when you play Bloemendaal and their skipper comes in to bat, it may turn out to be Bart Schotten, who you may have played against many many times. Because of the friendly rivalry you may consider a bit of sledging. But of course he knows you well too so he expects that. Better perhaps to not sledge him first for a few overs perhaps and even let him know that you are not sledging him. Maybe even remind him of the fact that you are not sledging him every few balls. It unsettles him a bit but he gets used to it and after three overs he coverdrives le guy to the boundary.

Time for a change of tactics? Time to stop not sledging. But at least be so kind as to announce this to good Bart, does it have an effect? How does sledging work anyway? The curious thing is that even in 2016 scientists are still baffled by the exact workings of sledging. Despite various labarotorium experiments where backpacking aussies are hired to insult lab rats that are hooked up to mrfi scanners, most of the more intricate workings of sledging remain a mystery to mankind. At the annual sledging conference that is invariablly in some ugly hotel in somewhere like blackpool (to get people in the right mood), most speakers focus on the choice of words as being pivotal to making sledging be effective. Some like to stress it's the tone of voice that has the desired (depending on your perspective of course) effect, where an even happier few argue that neither content or tone are crucial but that evrything depends on timing. How many seconds before or after a certain event will be optimal for your sledge. Popular apps make use of this latest fashion in sledging acedemia such as TimeyourSledge  and Whentosay#$%&. But in none of the published white papers on sledging or the Phd sledging researches is anything to be found on not sledging and then subsequently not doing that. 

Surely Bart was running through all known research on the topic and coming to the conclusion that an interesting data-point was being added to the history of sledging research, when le Guy bowled a ball that Bart cut with a big sweeping stroke straight to the, well in fact the ball didn't deviate much at all, it was caught by Bert behind after the thinnest of feathery touches. Bart tucked the bat under his arm and began on that long walk we all know so well. When people ask for the biggest difference between baseball and cricket... I say it is the distance the batter walks after he is out before he reaches people who can hear him. The length of the walk in cricket allows for a much greater vocabulary in nasty words and that of course is why cricketers are so much better at sledging.

B'daal managed 144 and so did ACC even one more;)