Sledging has been an important part of cricket for a while now with the primary objective being to rattle the opposition enough to shift their focus away from their task of scoring runs or picking wickets.
And if sledging is an art, then Australia is the Picasso of this art. They have been sledging oppositions and have been rewarded well for it. But the English aren’t far behind when it comes to sledging. This current English side, in particular, have been sledging the opposition since they have gotten the confidence to back up their talk with the game they have.
There has been a lot of talk about what would be said on the field of play. During the first test, Jonny Bairstow being sledged about his headbutt incident and in the second test, England believed that Steve Smith’s wicket was due to the fact that they got under his skin due to the constant barrage of verbals from James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Over the long history of the Ashes there have been some memorable sledges. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Jimmy Ormond who played only two tests for England in which he did nothing of real note is most well known for this encounter with Mark Waugh. During a phase in play, Mark Waugh told Ormond "Mate, what are you doing out here? There's no way you're good enough to play for England." to which Jimmy Ormond replied, "Maybe not, but at least I'm the best player in my own family."
Merv Hughes was a bowler who was known for his mean moustache and meaner attitude, and when he came up against the burly Graham Gooch, one of England’s best batsmen, there were obviously going to be some fireworks... As Gooch was facing Hughes, he was unable to get bat on ball and Merv Hughes in anger told Gooch “Would you like me to bowl a piano and see if you can play that?”
The father of the Marsh brothers, Rod Marsh might not be the best batsman in the family but he has been involved in one of the most memorable sledges in an Ashes series even if it was not the way he wanted it to be. Rod Marsh told Ian Botham “How’s your wife and my kids?” to which Ian Botham replied, “The wife’s fine, but the kids are retarded.”
As Nasser Hussain walked out to bat, Steve Waugh asked Ponting to field under Nasser’s nose. This gave Ian Healy a nice opportunity to poke fun at Nasser’s long nose by saying “That could be anywhere inside a three-mile radius.”
The Australian fans are known for being vocal about their opinions, and they do try their best to make sure that the visitors do not find it easy. For example, one fan famously fan asked English spinner Phil Tufnell “Oi, Tufnell! Can I borrow your brain? I’m building an idiot.”
Douglas Jardine the captain of the England side during the famous Bodyline series was not well loved due to his tactic which was seen as against the ethos of the game of cricket. Stephen Harold Gascoigne AKA Yabba was a well-known heckler at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Watching the Test in an era where the games were watched in silence, he noticed Douglas Jardine swat away some flies. Seeing this Yabba yelled out "Leave our flies alone, Jardine. They're the only friends you've got here."
One of the most famous Ashes sledges happened in the last series the two sides played Down Under. England were a wicket away from a thrashing. George Bailey, the close-in fielder, had his permanent smile on when words were exchanged between him and Jimmy Anderson. The English tailender expressed a desire to punch Bailey, which wound up Australian captain Michael Clarke. With the eventually 5-0 whitewash defined by Mitchell Johnson’s furious, dangerous pace, Clarke didn’t mince his words as he warned Anderson to "Get ready for a broken f***** arm."