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Sledging is a form of good-natured gamesmanship often employed by Australian cricketers to enhance both their and their opponents' enjoyment of any given match. It was recently deemed illegal for non-Australians to partake in this activity due to its disastrous effect on Australian egos, the poor lambs.
Sledging is a verbal art that can take many forms, the most common of which is a tongue-in-cheek running commentary on how an opposition player is performing. For instance, after an English batsman has tried to hit the ball but missed, an Australian wicketkeeper might waggishly remark to the bowler that "He had no fucking idea about that one, the useless fucking prick." To which the bowler might respond by enquiring of the batsman: "How about I bowl you a fucking piano and see if you can fucking play that, you fucking Pommie poofter?"
Sledging has been a proud Australian tradition for many years now. One early example of sledging was a quip from Rod Marsh to Ian Botham: "So, how's your wife and my kids?" To which Botham famously replied: "The wife's fine, but the kids are retarded."
Other forms of sledging can range from performing an imitation of a pigeon (to humorously suggest that the batsman is not quite world-class) to asking a West Indian player what his captain's cock tastes like.
edit Sledging in contemporary cricket
The Australian cricket team's undisputed supremacy in terms of sledging is widely considered to have been a major factor in its undisputed supremacy in terms of all forms of cricket over the past decade. Opposition teams have often found themselves intellectually intimidated by the mental dexterity behind such witty bon mots as "Fuck off or I'll punch your fucking head in, you fucking idiot."
Recently, however, Australia has been unexpectedly run into the rails re sledging by some of the less successful cricketing nations that can't bear an affectionate joke, as though whinging to the newspapers and the ICC makes a country any less hapless at the crease.
From time to time, cultural and linguistic differences unavoidable in a global game that brings together countries as diverse as Australia, Sri Lanka, Jamaica, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and Kenya -- which have bugger-all in common apart from the fact that they were all conquered by the British centuries ago -- lead to regrettable misunderstandings. Sri Lankan cricketers, for example, once objected to being called "fucking black cunts" by an Australian adversary.
Apart from "Oooh! Ah!" Glenn McGrath, who is known as "The Metronome" because the other players can set their watches by his sledging, other top Aussie sledge merchants have included Steve Waugh, Merv Hughes and Shane Warne.
Warne in particular is considered a ground-breaking sledger for having turned his unparalleled invective on his own (short-lived) teammate Scott Muller with the immortal words "Can't bowl, can't throw." Luckily, and presumably with the aid of some sort of monetary compensation, the memorable sledge was later somehow attributed to a Channel Nine cameraman.
edit Club Cricket Sledging
Sledging can also be used to great effect in junior club cricket matches in which the stakes are particularly high as compared to World Class International Cricket. Sledgers in this arena employ certain niche lines that have been practiced for centuries by many a 13-year-old-prick-who-thinks-he-can-play wicket-keeper. Some witty lines include:
"I've seen better batters in a fish & chip shop"
"Swinging like the dunny door on curry night"
"Seen better bowlers in a hat shop"
"This guy's got more blocks than a lego set"
"Call him a taxi, cos he can't drive"
"He's got more leaves than a tree"
"This batter has more swings than a park"
and a definite favorite...
"This guy is shaking like a tickle-me-elmo"
edit Monkey Sledging
This is one of the latest forms of sledging, invented during the Sydney test match by Bhajji aka 'Sikh Turbanator Series 800 Model T-101' in January 2008. This is the first time, an art of sledging has been invented by a non-australian. The Turbanator was captured by tech-com soldier Sachin Tendulkar in 2029 and re-programmed and sent back in time to target Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds, father of John Connor, by calling him the words "Teri Maaki..[ki chut].." (literal hindi translation - your mother's pussy, setence wasn't completed). Symonds, who doesn't understand any language apart from 'chimp', thought Bhajji was saying 'You big Monkey'. A confused Symmo went and asked Haydos 'Keee Keee Keee Monkeeeeeeeyyyyyy????'. To which Haydos got angry and went to Bhajji and said 'Hey Mate. Its a racial vilification mate. Its a shit word mate. You know it mate. You are in trouble mate.'
From there onwards, things got pretty messy and the Indian team was nuked with 3 nuclear warheads by Micheal Clarke in the second last over, and John Connor reaching the system core of Skynet only to find out he is late by 7 minutes, and the city of Sydney has been destroyed on the Judgement day - 6th January 2008.
edit Other applications
In Australian sport, however, sledging is not restricted to cricket. In Australian Rules football, for instance, if one's opponent's father has hanged himself in the family garage 48 hours ago, it is perfectly acceptable to say "No wonder your old man topped himself, you useless cunt", or if one's opponent's infant has recently met an untimely demise to say "I'm glad your fucking kid died."