Crowd Taunts, verbal chats, brushing shoulders and intimidating glares - A perfect script to get the game going with the least emphasis on getting the game right! Its pretty inquisitive of the way things have been happening in this game and looks like a new script writer has been appointed to spice up things. A question however pops up - Is it really called for?
Cracking up Australia is not that easy. Andre Nel would have learnt that a couple of years back when Gilly whacked him to all corners of the ground after his antics. He even got a taste of his own against India, though Sreesanth's terpsichore in reply probably overshadowed the entire match itself. No doubt, its fun, though once a while. It becomes quite annoying after that!
Subtle humor with a pinch of sledging is brilliant and I'm not sure if anyone barring the likes of Graeme Hick would really argue with that. But not everyone is good at it, and then comes the case of crossing that 'thin' line when it becomes seriously objectionable. Isn't that happening too often these days? We all know that there is a lot of chatter going around that 22 yards but then to do it gracefully is an art in itself.
Indians were never really good at it, barring a few smart blokes, whom you can count on one hand (The name of Ravi Shastri instantly comes into my mind). However, there has been a substantial change in the past decade or so and this was much evident when Ganguly was at the helm of affairs. He definitely caused a few jitters in Steve Waugh's tummy when the Aussies had come down to India 2000-01.
Things have been changing since then. Aggression is suddenly becoming more important than your numbers. Sreesanth is perhaps a classic example of this. I'm not against giving it back to the Aussies, but then an overdose of the same doesn't really carry any meaning, and especially when you are not able to back your words with deeds. With the recent developments in the Indo-Aus series, its pretty clear that the upcoming tour to Down Under would probably be a make-or-break series for quite a few Indian players. We've all seen how 'generous' the crowds Down under can get, leave alone the 'mates'!
However, ICC would probably be relishing seeing all this. There's a touch of 'soccerial' behavior thats sneaking in this game, driving even the 'relatively' passive folks to hoot for their players. Lets see if these gimmics on display highlight fierce competitiveness or should be ignored as mere buncombe.