Skill more important than sledging, says Wisden’s new columnist Kumar Sangakkara

MUMBAI: Sri Lanka’s former batsman and wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara will be writing a monthly column for Wisden Cricket Monthly.

The 40-year-Sangakkara, who had also delivered lecture on Spirit of Cricket at the Lord’s in the past has advised the English team to focus more on skill rather than rhetoric.

In his first column, which was released on Friday, he has said more on sledging.

“There has been a lot of talk about sledging, but overall, I don’t think it’s as big as it used to be. Steve Waugh used to call it one of his top weapons. But there are good and bad ways to respond to it”.

“In 1975/76, when the West Indies players went to Australia and Lillee and Thomson and the Australian crowd went so hard at them, their first thought was, ‘This is not cricket! This is not how it’s supposed to be!’ But they responded not by going back at them verbally, but by building up a fast bowling quartet that could silence Australia’s batting”, Sanga has said.

“They concentrated on getting the fastest bowlers, the most accomplished of them, for the Windies, and having that steel behind them, and that confidence that their skill was more than enough to stand up not just to the player’s competency, but also any verbal assaults that came. And very soon the verbals dropped to a minimum when the Australians realised that it was not getting through, and really it was about skill”.

“The real contest is always about skill on the field, and the Australians in this series, in the toughest of situations – and they have been under pressure in both games – have shown better skills than the English..”, Sanga has said.

Sanga, every month will pick most important players of his era.


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