New Australian cricket coach Justin Langer has detailed the one sledge that he says “crossed the line”.
While outlining his vision for the future of the Australian cricket team and its culture, Langer recounted a famous incident from a West Indies tour.
“I probably saw two incidences in my career where it (sledging) got really personal and it crossed the line,” Langer said.
“I think back to there was one with Glenn McGrath with Sarwan in the West Indies that was a very sensitive time for Pigeon at the time but it probably crossed the line and there was consequences for that.”
The sledge Langer referred to, occurred after some tense moments between Langer’s former teammate, McGrath, and West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan in 2003.
During Australia’s fourth Test against the star-stacked nation at St John’s, ‘Pigeon’ was attempting to get under the skin of the in-form batsman.
After McGrath was hit for four runs, he pretend to throw a ball back at Sarwan, who then flinched as he expected to be hit by the ball.
The Aussie bowler capitalised on the moment, calling his rival a “p***y”.
Then things got very personal, with Sarwan clearly incensed.
“What does Brian Lara’s d**k taste like?” McGrath said to Sarwan.
“I don’t know, ask your wife.” Sarwan replied.
With McGrath’s wife at the time battling cancer, that sledge absolutely infuriated the Aussie quick.
“If you ever f***ing mention my wife again I’ll f***ing rip your f***ing throat out!” McGrath said.
Meanwhile, Langer was nearby, witnessing a moment that would later have a huge impact on his coaching.
“That was a very sensitive time for Pigeon … it probably crossed the line and there were consequences for that,” Langer said on Thursday.
Now Langer will use that incident as an example of the horrible outcomes that can manifest when coaches allow the team’s standards to slip.
“I think some of the best banter is among each other to get the opposition thinking about other things,” Langer said.
“Mental toughness is simply about being 100 per cent focused on the next ball.
“If you’re worrying about what you’ve just said to me, then there’s a distraction.
“But we all know what the acceptable behaviours are.
“There’s a difference between competitiveness and aggression and we’ve got to be careful with that.”
However Langer has declared sledging definitely still has its place after being tasked with reforming Australia’s cricket culture as national coach.
The former Test opener will oversee all three formats of the game, taking over from Darren Lehmann who resigned after the ball-tampering scandal.
Langer, who served as Western Australia coach for six years and has worked as a national assistant, has been signed on a four-year deal which will see Australia through to the World Cup and next home Ashes series.