Sledging in cricket is not new to cricket. Over the years many players have sledge their counterparts just to get under their skin and upset their tempo. Players have used many unique slangs to sledge their counterparts. Sledging mostly happens during a test match, where fielders use this tactic to unsettle a well-set batter and make him commit mistakes that might benefit their own team.
Sometimes these tactics work as the player being sledged makes a mistake after getting carried away at the moment. However, in a few instances, sledging can go horribly wrong and it can backfire against your one's own team as it may further motivate the player to excel.
Let's look at a few such instances where sledging proved to be too costly for the teams.
1. Kohli's sledging backfires
This incident took place recently in the ongoing 5th Test match between England and India. In the first session on Day 3, former Indian captain Virat Kohli tried to sledge the English batsman Jonny Bairstow in the 30th over of the match. Bairstow was struggling a lot that morning and was beaten a few times by Indian bowlers. Then movements near the sight screen area forced Bairstow to pull out at the last minute.
That seemed to upset Kohli. He went to Bairstow and said a few words and was caught saying, “Isko ball alawa sab Kuch dikhata hai." After this incident, it looked like Bairstow was switched on completely and started to smash the ball all around the ground, and he eventually ended up getting a century. Despite that though, India are in a dominant position in this Test match.
2. Shannon Gabriel vs Joe Root
In the third Test of the 2019 West Indies vs. England Test series in St. Lucia, Shannon Gabriel addressed England captain Joe Root and asked if he was interested in boys, to which the England captain replied, "There is nothing wrong with being gay."
Everyone had a sarcastic laugh around the slip cordon after this exchange. This sledging incident horribly backfired as the England captain went on to score a century and was involved in a match-winning partnership. This outstanding partnership resulted in a big England win in that test match, and they eventually ended up winning the series.
3. Aamir Sohail's altercation with Venkatesh Prasad
This incident happened way back in 1996. During the 1996 ODI World Cup, India were playing their arch-rivalsm Pakistan. The Indian team managed to put a score of 287 on the board. While chasing, Pakistan were cruising and had scored 100 at the loss of one wicket.
Pakistan opener Aamir Sohail had just scored 50 and was batting well. At this stage of the innings, Sohail hit India's Venkatesh Prasad for a boundary and seemed to gesture: "Go fetch the ball and bring it back.” At this, Prasad got angry and a few words were exchanged. On the next ball, Prasad knocked off Aamir Sohail's leg stump and clean bowled him.
That wicket turned the game on its end and India ended up winning the match comfortably.
4. Kesrick Williams' "notebook celebration" against Virat Kohli
Kesrick Williams, the West Indies pacer, had dismissed Virat Kohli in a T20 series before the T20 World Cup in 2016. After getting rid of Kohli, he had brought out his characteristic "notebook celebration." The same did not go down well with Kohli who not only remembered Williams' celebration but decided to give it back to the Windies bowler with the wait.
During the two players' next face-off, Kohli smashed Williams all over the park and, after a beautiful cover drive of his bowling, he brought out his own version of the notebook celebration in front of the bowler. Kohli's innings meant West Indies had no chance and they were outplayed by India.
5. Flintoff irks Yuvraj Singh, Broad faces wrath
Perhaps the most famous incident of sledging getting backfired was in 2007. During the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in the India vs England game, the Men in Blue were cruising and looked on par for a big total. Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who was playing this match, was taken apart by India's Yuvraj Singh in his last over for back-to-back sixes. At the end of the over, Flintoff had a few words exchanged and tried to sledge the Indian batter.
Little did Flintoff know what was going to happen after that. Yuvraj Singh was upset with that exchange between Flintoff and himself and then what happened was astonishing to the entire world. In the very next over, Yuvraj seemed to bring his entire anger of Flintoff on Stuart Broad as he smashed the English bowler for 6 sixes in his last over. Yuvraj made the world record back of hitting 6 sixes to a bowler and scoring 36 runs in an over. He scored the fastest-ever T20I fifty off 12 balls and India ultimately went on to win the match.