Sledging inevitable and here to stay, says West Indies legend Viv Richards

West Indies captain Viv Richards in action during the 2nd test against England at Lords, in 1991. (PA Wire)

West Indies legend Viv Richards says sledging is an inevitable part of modern cricket and is a practice that is here to stay.

One of the game's most decorated and distinguished batsmen, Richards is in Australia as a spectator of the ICC World Cup. 

He accepts the exchange of verbal insults on the playing field. 

"So long as the right stuff is said," Richards said.

However he does the draw the line at racial slurs between opposing players.

"But when you start dealing with people's race and all that stuff and what people believe in and things like that, I have a problem with that.

"You can get to a guy (opponent) without having to divert to such low blows.

"It's like being hit in the nuts and I think there's no place for that."

Richards was a member of the West Indies team that won the inaugural ICC World Cup in 1975 and was voted one of the world's best one-day and Test players of all time.

His comments come in the wake of suggestions from Australia all-rounder James Faulkner who says the World Cup co-hosts will not refrain from baiting India in Thursday's semi-final.

Earlier today, fast bowler Mitchell Johnson said he is considering taking on the role of Australia's Sledger-in-Chief for Thursday's World Cup semi-final against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Outspoken opener David Warner has been on his best behaviour at the World Cup after getting into hot water over a series of spats with the Indian side during the test series over the New Year.

The fiery exchanges continued into the Tri-series and Warner was fined for asking India's Rohit Sharma to "speak English" during a slanging match in a one-dayer at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in January.

"I heard Davy said he wasn't going to get involved in all that stuff," paceman Johnson told Fox TV on Tuesday.

"Someone's got to do it and I might put my hand up. It's part of the game and what happened the other day with Shane (Watson) and Wahab (Riaz) was exceptional.

"I thought it was great entertainment and I think you're going to see more entertainment in this game."

Watson had the last laugh on Pakistan paceman Wahab after their compelling duel in the quarter-finals last week when he helped steer Australia to victory. Both players were later fined.

Johnson has some history with India in the sledging stakes and made them pay for having the temerity to lampoon him after he went wicket-less in the first innings of the second test at the Gabba last December.

The 33-year-old slugged 88 off 93 balls to help rescue Australia's first innings and then took three wickets in a dazzling spell of bowling and finished with figures of 4-61 as Australia won the match by four wickets.

"I love it. The more that comes my way, the better," he said at the time.

As well as Warner, Indians Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma and Virat Kohli were fined for clashes during the test series.

- With Reuters

Source: SBS

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