The David Warner-Quinton de Kock row has divided the cricketing world into two significant factions – one that believes sledging has always been a part of the game and the other that thinks things have got out of hand.
Both Australia and South Africa have accused each other of crossing the line and cricket followers have their own take on what is acceptable and what isn’t.
But former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram, someone who has seen it all, is a firm believer in one of the oldest diktats in cricket – what happens on the field should stay on it.
The South Africa-Australia Test series has exploded into a barely-controlled street fight with Warner and De Kock kept apart in the Durban Test after their war of words escalated into alleged personal attacks.
Akram believes sledging has always been a part of the game but the biggest rule of all is that it should end with the day’s play and not spill outside the ground.
“We used to have a go at batsmen as well. And there were stump microphones. But that was (ended) there and then. After six o’clock, shake hands, have a cup of tea after the game, have a laugh,” Akram told Sport360 during an event in Dubai announcing his association with online cricket content provider CricInGif.
Akram admits things are said on the field and that is what makes cricket, especially Tests, unique.
“Do whatever you want to do. As a pacer you have the aggression, as a batsman you have patience. That’s the beauty of the game, being a top batsman and a bowler. But whatever you say and whatever you do should stay on the field,” the left-arm pace legend said.
However, the current team director of PSL side Multan Sultans said like every other sphere in life, there are certain boundaries any person is not allowed to cross. “You can’t get personal,” he concluded.
The swashbuckling left-hander had blasted his way to a 91-ball 123, clubbing a staggering 11 sixes and seven boundaries during his entertaining stay at the Zimbabwean city.
The century was Gayle’s 23rd of his ODI career but it was whom it came against that made it all the more special for the Caribbean star.
Wednesday’s ton means that the 38-year-old has now scored a one-day century against 11 different countries, making him only the third batsman in history to do so.
Chris Gayle today joined Hashim Amla and Sachin Tendulkar as only the third batsman in the history of ODI cricket to score centuries against 11 different countries #Cricket
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) March 6, 2018
Out of the 11 other full ICC members (including Afghanistan and Ireland), Gayle has scored a ton against all but three sides. They are Australia, Afghanistan and Ireland.
Apart from them, he has also registered centuries against Kenya, Canada and now the UAE.
In comparison, Tendulkar’s 49 ODI tons came against 11 different opposition. Among the full ICC members, the only countries he has not scored a century against are the two latest entrants – Afghanistan and Ireland. Apart from the full members, he has also registered hundreds against the likes of Namibia and Kenya.
On the other hand, Afghanistan is the only full member against whom Amla has not scored an ODI hundred. He has a ton against Netherlands which completes his list of 11 countries.
The second Test between South Africa and Australia is all set to get underway on Friday at Port Elizabeth. The tourists hold a 1-0 lead in the four-match series after a 118-run win in the opening Test at Durban.
After the opening Test in which a lot of drama occurred, the tensions will be heightened when both sides meet at Port Elizabeth.
Here, we look at the key talking points ahead of the clash.
WARNER-DE KOCK FIASCO DOMINATES SHOWDOWN
The Aussie has accepted the match-referee’s Level 2 charge against him for bringing the game into disrepute and finally broke his silence on the matter when he called the South African’s remarks ‘vile and disgusting’.
In comparison, the Proteas wicketkeeper contested the Level 1 charges against him though he failed to escape a fine following the hearing. Expect the atmosphere in the second Test to be edgy after plenty of blame games from both camps after the ugly spat.
CAN PROTEAS STOP AUSTRALIA’S FAB FOUR?
Australia’s bowling attack lived up to its fearsome reputation in Durban, bundling out the hosts cheaply in the first innings to pave the path for victory.
The Durban Test was the fifth time the four bowlers had played together in the Australian whites. They have remarkably won all five of them. With the same bowling attack expected to turn up at Port Elizabeth, there seems to be no respite in sight for the hosts who will need to massively up their game.
TIME TO UNLEASH THE RABADA?
While Australia’s pace attack is one to be feared, South Africa’s isn’t too shabby either with young Kagiso Rabada leading the line. Dale Steyn inferred that Rabada was bowling like a caged animal in the first Test after copping fines and demerit points for his aggressiveness in earlier matches.
Like Virat Kohli, the youngster thrives in the heat of battle and likes to get stuck into the opposition to bring out the best in him.
After all the drama in the opening Test, Rabada will be itching to have a go at the Australian batsmen, especially Warner, who can expect a barrage of verbal volleys aimed at him from all quarters. An unleashed Rabada might just be the tonic South Africa needs for now.
HOSTS NEED TAIL TO SING
While South Africa’s top-order failed miserably in the first innings at Durban, much of their undoing came due to the measly contributions of their tail.
They lost their last five wickets for 12 runs in first innings. They fared marginally better in the second, scoring 15 runs as Mitchell ‘ender of tails’ Starc made merry.
If Faf du Plessis’ men need to mount a comeback in the series, they will definitely need a bit more from their tail-enders.