HERB ELLIOT
HERB ELLIOT

End the sledging: Herb

BySTEVE SPINKS sport@northernstar.com.au OLYMPIC great and Sports Australia Hall of Fame member Herb Elliott has urged Cricket Australia and captain Ricky Ponting to end the Australian cricket team's history of sledging.

As revealed in Sydney media yesterday, representatives of the Sports Australia Hall of Fame are seeking a meeting with Cricket Australia to outline their disappointment with the way the Australian team engages in sledging following the dramatic second Test between India and Australia in Sydney.

"The time has come for Cricket Australia and the captain to sit down and review whether or not sledging is good for the sport," the Ewingsdale-based sporting great said.

"The Australian cricket team has had a culture of sledging for many years.

"It's not new and goes back to the 'Chappelli' (Ian Chappell) days and probably well before that.

"Sledging has been accepted. But it's become more vigorous and more personal and more aggressive and it's human nature to try and better each other.

"We keep saying it's alright but eventually you get to the point where it's not alright.

"It seems we've got to that point now."

Sport's nobility

Elliott has never been a fan of sledging and has only come forward because of the seriousness of the situation between the two countries.

"Sport is noble and involves a huge number of values," the Rome Olympics gold medal winner said.

"It's a sign of the human spirit and it's a way of trying to improve to do inspiring or ennobling things.

"I'd rather see that than see competition where people verbally attack each other. That's never seemed right.

"I've never liked sledging but I have never commented on things before because it's never been this serious. But I've always been uncomfortable about it."

While Elliott wants sledging gone from Australian cricket he believes other issues surrounding the spirit of the game, such as walking, are for the sport to sort out.

"They are internal things," he said. "In regards to walking, cricket either needs to accept the umpire's ruling totally, whether it's good or bad, and accept it with good demeanour. Or cricket can have a rule where you walk when you think you are out.

"But obviously that would be a lot harder to judge.

"I can quite understand why people don't walk in cricket because they get as many poor decisions against them as good ones."

While Elliott was happy to condemn sledging in cricket, he's not going to voice his displeasure at the histrionics in other sports.

"I don't think any of it is good," he said. "But it hasn't got the serious problem evident in cricket at the moment.

"It's nation against nation, media against media. "It's not to the same degree."



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