When the sharpest weapon is your tongue

For half an hour before tea on the fourth day of the second Test against Sri Lanka the atmosphere on the field at Supersport Park turned pleasantly nasty – it had all been just a bit too friendly up until then.

Players believe that what happens on the field should stay on the field and not be repeated for the benefit or amusement of spectators, and that’s fair enough. But when the best lines are heard on the stump microphone then they deserve to be shared. Sorry boys.

Mark Boucher takes top prize for the hilarious one-liner thrown at Mahela Jayawardene following the talented batsman’s petulant outburst following Shaun Pollock’s light-hearted grabbing of his helmet.

“I’ve got some good cream for that nappy rash,” the South African wicket keeper offered.

Spurred on by this interchange Graeme Smith, rapidly gaining a reputation as an accomplished ‘chirper’, yelled some encouragement to the toiling Pollock. “Come on skipper, let’s get him out so he can go back to Toys R Us!”

Boucher evidently felt this was not the right destination for Jayawardene: “He means Baby World!” he yelled. More jokes followed about Jayawardene needing some tissues to stem the flow of tears and to make matters worse for the batsman, the chirping worked. He was rattled and angry and almost run out three balls later. His concentration was shot.

So what did Pollock actually say when he grabbed Jayawardene’s helmet and spoke to him about the top edged hook that fell short of the fine leg fielder? “You’re a very lucky little man!”

The Test match had needed an injection of something and when it came the match burst into life. It was good, salty, witty stuff and it was proof that you don’t need to be filthy or personal to be effective. But the best part about it is that the match referee, Gundappa Viswanath, agreed.

“I’m not going to be taking any action against anybody,” Vishy said. “I haven’t had any complaints and the players sorted it out on the field. No problem.”


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