The seven greatest cricket sledges

The issue of sledging in cricket has reared its head again after England all-rounder Ben Stokes intimated that umpires should have a more relaxed approach when it comes to a few verbals flying round on the pitch. 

Durham star Stokes, who has been involved in an ongoing feud with West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels, said: “We’re trying to win a game here playing for our country, so give us a bit of leeway.”

Cricket365 looks at some of the more creative sledges that cricketers have used to get one up on their opponents.

7) Freddie Flintoff and Tino Best

England were cruising to victory against the West Indies in the first Test at Lord’s in 2004. Never short of a word, Tino Best strode to the wicket looking to salvage some pride for the beleaguered Windies.

Looking to play a shot every ball against England spinner Ashley Giles, Flintoff chirped from first-slip, “Mind the windows Tino”. Best duly obliged and ran past Giles’ next delivery and was stumped as the West Indies lost the Test match and the series.

6) Ian Healey and Arjuna Ranatunga

Arjuna Ranatunga was a brilliant batsman but did tend to cut a rather rotund figure at the crease, so it was no surprise that he was the butt of many sledging jokes on the field. One of the most amusing instances came in a Test match between Sri Lanka and Australia.

Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healey was becoming increasingly frustrated as Ranatunga continued to defy Australia’s battery of fast-bowlers. In a last-ditch attempt to break the stubborn Sri Lankan’s concentration, Healey suddenly yelled out to his bowler: “Put a Mars bar on a good length, that should do it.”

5) Merv Hughes and Javed Miandad

The seven greatest cricketing sledges could have all belonged to the burly, moustached, beer-swilling Aussie. On this occasion, big Merv became embroiled in a heated exchange with Pakistan’s great batsman, Javed Miandad, in a Test match in 1991.

Perhaps unwisely, Miandad said to Hughes: “Merv, you are a big fat bus conductor.” Just a few balls later Merv dismissed Miandad and ran past him shouting: “TICKETS PLEASE!”

4) James Ormond and Mark Waugh

Pre-2005, Ashes series were a ritual of humiliation for England players and fans alike. Australia had the better of England with bat and ball and in the sledging department. However, for one brief moment in 2001, Jimmy Ormond managed to get the better of the old enemy with his witty sledge of Mark Waugh.

Staring down the barrel of another big defeat, Ormond walked out to the crease with England in big trouble. Waugh, twin brother of the then Australian captain Steve Waugh, chirped to Ormond: “What the f@#$ are you doing out here? Surely you’re not good enough to play for England?”

Ormond’s response left Waugh speechless, saying: “Maybe not but at least I’m the best player in my family.”

3) Viv Richards and Greg Thomas

One batsman that you probably do not want to sledge is the master-blaster Viv Richards, as Greg Thomas found out to hilarious consequences.

After playing-and-missing at a number of his deliveries in a county game in England, Thomas sarcastically told Richards: “It’s red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering.”

Richards proceeded to hit the next ball out of the ground and calmly replied: “You know what it looks like, now you go and find it.”

2) Daryll Cullinan and Shane Warne

Arguably the greatest cricketer of all-time, there were not many weaknesses in Shane Warne’s armoury. He did, however, have issues with his weight throughout his career as Ian Healey once declared: “Shane’s idea of a balanced diet is a cheeseburger in each hand.”

Daryll Cullinan was a fine middle-order batsman for South Africa who had an uncanny knack for being dismissed by Warne, so much so that the South African had to see a psychologist about his problems of playing spin bowling.

Matters came to a head in a Super-Six clash during the 1999 World Cup between Australia and South Africa as Cullinan came to the wicket. The exchange has gone down in cricketing folklore.

Warne: “I’ve been waiting two years to get another chance to humiliate you.”
Cullinan: “Looks like you spent it eating.”

1) Glenn McGrath and Eddo Brandes

Eddo who? I hear you ask. The portly Eddo Brandes was a Zimbabwean medium-pacer by day and chicken farmer by night. During a one-day match between Australia and Zimbabwe in 1996, McGrath was becoming increasingly frustrated with Brandes’ attempts at the big heave-ho outside off-stump.

After several play-and-misses, McGrath looked big Eddo up and politely enquired: “Why are you so fat?” As quick-as-a-flash, Brandes retorted: “Because every time I make love to your wife she gives me a biscuit.”

By James Doan