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The Best of Sledging

As the Harbhajan-Symonds issue continues to rage, Nitin Naik from Times of India recalls some unforgettable exchanges on the pitch

Even Though these incidents are related to Cricket, non-watchers of the game too will enjoy this War of Words

Subba Row vs Trueman
England were playing Pakistan in Headingley and Trueman saw a Pakistani batsman being dropped by Raman Subba Row at first slip. The ball had gone through his legs. After Trueman completed the over, Row went over to Trueman and said, “Sorry Fred, I should’ve kept my legs together.” Trueman, not amused, replied, “Not you b*****d. Your mother should have.”

A Graceful One
During a county game, the legendary W G Grace was clean bowled by a rookie. Grace was man enough to stand his ground. “They came to watch me bat, not you bowl,” he said.

McGrath vs Sarwan
Sarwan and McGrath went eyeball to eyeball in Antigua in May 2003. Sarwan, on his way to a sublime second-innings century that eventually helped Windies chase a record 418, was taunted by McGrath, “So what does Brian Lara’s arse taste like?” To this Sarwan said, “I don’t know. Ask your wife.” McGrath went mad with rage. “If you ever f*****g mention my wife again,” he said, “I’ll f*****g rip your f*****g throat out.”

McGrath Vs Brandes
Long before that exchange, Zimbabwean pacer and chicken farmer Eddo Brandes was once unable to get his bat anywhere near Mc-Grath’s deliveries. Frustrated that Brandes was still at it, McGrath went up to him and said, “Why are you so fat?” Brandes replied, “Because every time I make love to your wife, she gives me a biscuit.” That had even the Aussie slip cordon in splits.

Rod Marsh vs Botham
When Botham took guard during the memorable Ashes series in 1981 at Headingley, Aussie wicket-keeper Rodney Marsh welcomed with, “So how’s your wife and my kids?” Botham replied, “Wife’s fine, but your kids are retarded.”

Ormond vs Waugh
During the ’94 Ashes in Australia, England’s James Ormond had just come out to bat. Mark Waugh, fielding at second slip, greeted him by saying, “Mate, what are you doing out here, there’s no way you’re good enough to play for England.” Ormond, who was clued in to the debate in the Australian media over who was the better player between the twins Mark and Steve, replied, “Maybe not. But I’m still the best player in my family.”

The Red Cherry
In the middle of a county match between Glamorgan and Somerset, Glamorgan pacer Greg Thomas beat Viv Richards and had the temerity to inform the legend, “It’s red, round and weighs five ounces.” The next ball was smashed out of the ground, into a river. Richards said, “Greg, you know what it looks like. Now go and find it.”

Healy Vs Ranatunga
During the ’95-’96 Australia-Sri Lanka series, Aussie wicket-keeper Ian Healy made a comment which was picked up by the host boadcaster Channel 9. It was a particularly hot night in Sydney and Arjuna Ranatunga called for a runner. Healy told him,“You don’t get a runner for being an overweight, unfit, fat, ****.”

Waugh Vs Parore
Mark Waugh was standing at second slip and Kiwi keeper Adam Parore, who was relatively new to international
cricket (this was the ‘97-’98 series), came to the crease and played and missed the first ball. Mark Waugh said, “I remember you from a couple of years ago in Australia. You were shit then, you’re f*****g useless now.” Parore, who had all the personal details of Waugh, replied, “Yeah, that’s me and when I was there you were going out with that old, ugly slut and now I hear you’ve married her.”

Merv Hughes Vs Cronje
During the 1993-94 series between Australia and South Africa in South Africa, Australian pacer Merv Hughes was being carted all around the park in one of the tour games. Cronje hit a number of sixes off Hughes. After another one landed out of the ground, Hughes walked up to Cronje, stood still and let out a fart and said, “Try hitting that for a six.” It was five minutes before Cronje and the Aussies could stop laughing.

Steve Waugh vs Parthiv Patel
Sydney, 2004. Steve Waugh’s final test. Indians were pressing for victory. As Waugh fought a grim battle to stave off defeat, Patel couldn’t stop saying, “Come on, just one more of the famous slogsweeps before you finish.” Waugh, who was visibly annoyed, said, “'Look, show a bit of respect. You were still in your nappies when I made my debut 18 years ago.” Parthiv must have been delighted when Waugh perished to the slog-sweep, to be caught by Tendulkar at deep midwicket off Kumble. TNN

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