Thank you Ian Healy you Just Saved My Hair

Posted by on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 in Cricket



Thank you Ian Healy!



Given the way the Indian team has been playing in this series against Australia, I barely have any hair left to tear out of my already depleted skull.

The fear of the proverbial cap bursting its seams and my bottled angst gushing out like a geyser, is what has kept me away from commenting on the #IndvAus series these past weeks.

But Ian Healy has thankfully solved that problem.

I laughed until the tears ran down my eyes and I fell off the bed as I read about his rant on Melbourne radio station, SEN.

Healy said, and I quote, “The pressure is starting to tell on (Kohli). I’m losing respect for him. He’s got to be a lot more respectful of his opponents. The stuff he did with Steve Smith was unacceptable.”


Really Heals? Wow!


This from a man who once told Arjuna Ranatunga: “You don’t get a runner for being an overweight, unfit, fat c**t”.

This from a man who shouted at the back of umpteen departing batsmen: “Back to the nets, d**khead:”

This from a man who screamed at a Mike Atherton refusing to walk: ”You’re a F**king cheat.”

Of course, that came right back at his unsuspecting face from Atherton: “When in Rome, dear boy!”


To be fair, Heals had a couple of genuinely funny ones. The one he is said to have directed at his favourite Ranatunga, when the Aussies could not get him out, is a great one: “Put a Mars bar on a good length. That should do it!”

If Heals had played in the age of the excellent stump cams we have these days, posterity would indubitably have been the richer by his output.


Arguably, Rod Marsh in an earlier age was a more accomplished sledger than Heals, but he often met his match as well. His exchange with Ian Botham is the stuff of legends, where he asked: “So how’s your wife and my kids?” in an effort to throw Botham off as he came into bat. Botham’s response was a classic: “The wife is fine but the kids are retarded.”

And while I am going down memory lane, one of my favourite ones even after so many years is one where Steve Waugh is taking a long time to take his guard in a Shield game, and an exasperated Jamie Siddons quips: “For f***’s sake, mate, it’s not a f***ing Test match!”. To which Waugh replies: “Of course it’s not … You’re here.”


So when Heals starts ranting on sledging (as he did against the Kiwis a year ago as well), it is a bit rich, and perhaps a mild case of the coal calling the kettle black.


At the same time as Healy was having his rant on radio, on ABC’s Grandstand, Simon Katich was commenting on the same game and this is what he had to say: “I thought both of them handled it extremely well. You could tell there was a lot of emotion out there, India were desperate for wickets. They know Steve Smith is a huge wicket. I think Steve Smith handled it well too, he had a bit of a laugh. He took the mickey out of Ishant, Ishant took the mickey out of him. The umpires handled it well.”


This is a series with a lot of pride at stake. And India’s pride at the moment is wallowing in dust and the nose is black from being rubbed in the cracks on some terrible pitches by a better prepared Aussie team.

And the fact of the matter is that sledging is at its peak when things don’t go so well for the team that is doing the sledging. So you would expect India to be doing much of the sledging at the moment. Which they are. And the Aussies on the ground know exactly how to handle it.

On another day it will be the Aussies joining Matthew Wade in his (currently mindless) sledging, and India will know how to handle it.

We clearly don’t need sermonising from folks who figure prominently in every single list that’s ever been compiled of the “Top 20 Sledges of all time”.


Hold your horses Heals. But thanks for making me laugh.

23 responses to “Thank you Ian Healy you Just Saved My Hair”

  1. Vijendra Rawat says:

    Wow… Look who is talking. Aussie who made sledging into a ugly art… Love the botho and Waugh replies.. I wish u had some trivia about ganguly famous 2001 series….

  2. Anindya Dutta says:

    @Vijendra –

    This is the story Ganguly recounts about the Kolkata Test 2001: “Just before tea on the final day when they were only three wickets down, I dropped a sharp chance off Steve Waugh at backward short leg. Maybe if he had said nothing, the game would have drifted to a draw, the result that appeared to be its natural conclusion. But Waugh could not resist the chirp, ‘You just dropped the Test, mate.’

    “Sometimes sledging can work against you and, on this occasion, it had the effect of geeing up the Indians. Immediately after tea, Harbhajan Singh got Waugh out and Rahul Dravid gave him a sendoff from slip asking who had given away the Test match now.”

    Australia were 1-0 up before that Test; they ended up losing 1-2.

  3. Naresh Sadasivan says:

    Good one. Healy, Mark Waugh, and Hayden carried the mantle of “Chief Sledger for Oz” for a long time. So coming from Ian should be seen as a grudging compliment . A timeless sledge of course was from Trueman to team-mate Raman Subba Row who had just put down a sharp edge at slips. At the end of the over, Row ran over to Trueman and said:
    “Sorry Fred, I should’ve kept my legs closed”.
    Trueman replied with: “So should your mother”.

    • Anindya Dutta says:

      Merv Hughes was a past master at it. Here’s an episode I love when Merv got it back!

      In the 1989 Ashes series Big Merv was giving Smith a few problems. After playing and missing a Merv delivery, Big Merv snapped: “You can’t f**king bat”. Next ball Smith proceeded to belt Hughes to the fence for four runs and replied: “Hey Merv! We make a good pair. I can’t f**king bat and you can’t f**king bowl!”.

  4. Anindya Dutta says:

    @Naresh – And this is one of my favourites too:

    In a county match in England, Greg Thomas was bowling to Viv Richards and getting a few to whizz past the bat. After Richards played and missed another one, Thomas said: “It’s red, it’s round. Now f**king hit it!”. This obviously angered Richards who proceeded to hit the next ball out of the ground. Richards: “You know what it looks like now go and get it.”

  5. KK says:

    That is great writing Anindya.. a classic case od the pot calling…..

  6. Kamlesh Varshney says:

    Very well written. In sledging you just can’t beat Oz. Offcourse if they get taste of their own medicine they would be rattled. Though Smith did not and for that credit goes to him.

  7. Anindita says:

    Well the Aussies better not complain. My respect the for Ranatunga grew by the way he took on the Aussies. They rarely abide by the spirit of the game and it is passé off as being competitive. They are simply getting it back somewhat that’s about it.

  8. Ram Vaidyanathan says:

    Legendary stuff indeed. Cricket lore is full of such classics. Fred Trueman comes to mind – Raman Subba Row at slip let one through his legs and was apologetic, “Sorry Fred.. should have kept my legs closed”, to which the fiery fast bowler growled back “your ma should have, on THAT day”

  9. Somasundaram V says:

    Very well written… Merv Hughes & Javed Miandad.
    During a test between Pakistan and Australia in 1991 Miandad tried to sledge Merv: “Merv you are a big, fat bus conductor”. Only a few balls later Merv dismissed Miandad, ran past him and shouted: “Tickets please!”.

  10. Anindya Dutta says:

    @Ram and @Naresh – I have another favourite Trueman one.

    On the tour of Australia in 1962-63, England Test player the Reverend David Sheppard dropped several catches. “Kid yourself it’s Sunday, Rev,” Trueman suggested, “and keep your hands together.”

  11. Chinmoy Jena says:

    In the Ashes series of 2005 England beat Australia by just two runs in a thrilling match to draw level in the series. The abiding image of that match was the picture of Andrew Flintoff crouching with his arm around a despondent Brett Lee, congratulating him for his valiant effort. It was hailed as an epitome of sportsmanship but a few months later Flintoff admitted, “When I put my arm around him, the exact words I used were,’It’s one-one, you Aussie bastard!'”

  12. Naresh says:

    Sachin, in his blistering form, hit spinner Mustaq Ahmed for two sixes in an over. To which Mustaq’s mentor and veteran cricketer Abdul Qadir said to Tendulkar “Bachchon ko kyun mar rahe ho? Hamein maar ke dikhao. (Why are you thrashing kids? Slash me, if you can.)” Calm and composed Sachin obliged to Qadir’s request by hitting four sixes and a four in Qadir’s next over.

  13. Sobhan Kar says:

    Abusing in the name of sledging is unpardonable. Sledging should have been nipped in the bud but it was allowed to flourish unfortunately. People come to see cricketers and their skills and not to hear their abusive language. As a former cricketer, I have been mildly sledged even in domestic U-19 cricket. I have never abused anyone except on one occasion when the batsman was continuously needling me after each ball I bowled. And I don’t think sledging helps the game or the players or the spectators. I am ok with light banter like the one between Qadir and Sachin (in fact, Sachin only spoke with his bat) but the filthy personal attacks like the one that had happened between McGrath and the West Indian batsman (forgot his name) is absolutely unpardonable. Is a Sunil Gavaskar or a Kapil Dev any lesser than any other cricketer merely because they did not sledge? What would one day about Gundappa Vishwanath?? A gentleman to the core with razor sharp square cuts!! Indian domestic cricket is also awful in this regard. Especially, the players from North Zone. I have been told that Raman Lambda, Kirti Azad, Ajay Sharma and Manoj Prabhakar were abusive not only towards their rivals but also towards their own team mates.

    Cricket is poorer because of abusive behaviour of so-called Role Models. I simply love Kohli’s batting (he is awesome) but I despise his terrible behaviour on field. An abusive Indian captain is unacceptable. He should protect India’s interests in a game but not tarnish India’s image. And that’s a fine line he should be able to recognise……

    • Anindya Dutta says:

      Valuable view Sobhan. I must say as a spectator I don’t mind sledging, specially against a team which has made it an art. I think its part of the whole strategy of the game. I think what Wade does behind the stumps all day long, in the finest traditions of Healy and Marsh before him, is boring and irritating. But when a Starc sends young Karun Nair off after breaking his stumps with a “F*** off” and Kohli does it right after to Smith, I somehow see poetic justice in it somewhow. But that’s only me. I am combative in whatever i do so i guess I can relate more to a Kohli or a Ganguly than to a Dravid or a Dhoni.

  14. Sobhan Kar says:

    Typo corrections in my reply:

    What would one “say” about Gundappa Vishwanath?

    Raman “Lamba”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Cricket Writer