By Carl Osborne
This article can also be found in the print Edition 2 of VARSITY Newspaper.
The South African and Australian Cricket teams both came under fire recently, when a video surfaced of an argument between Quinton De Kock, South African batsman and wicket-keeper, and David Warner, Australian captain and opening batsman. This argument started over some choice words Warner used during De Kock’s batting innings in an attempt to unsettle the South African batsman. This, however, is a common practice in cricket and is often used in this form as a tactic to one-up your opponent and is affectionately referred to as chirping. The debate then rose around South Africa regarding whether chirping is actually necessary in modern cricket and whether it should have a place within the gentleman’s game.
In my experience at school-level cricket, it wasn’t particularly necessary and was almost used as a novelty. You would “chirp” a batsman while fielding simply because you yourself, saw this happening while watching cricket and it just seemed like part of the game. On that level of cricket, there is no reason to do it, unless it is done in order to gain the feeling of being a true cricketer.
However, the same cannot be said for higher levels of cricket. When physical ability and technique are all at a high level and most players are on the same par, ability wise, each player tries to grab every small advantage. This is gained through overcoming the mental game and testing your opponents resolve in high pressure situations. This was echoed when Varsity News spoke to a UCT student, Yasin Razak, who plays club-level cricket for Montrose Cricket Club. He said that the thing that separates the good cricketers from the average cricketers, is mental strength and chirping is a way to test players’ mental strength. You try and get under their skin, in an attempt to throw them off their game. However, he feels that the conduct is important when one partakes in chirping. It should not be open verbal abuse as when it comes to these settings, balance is key. Boundaries should always be observed so that it does not become the format of the actual game.
What is also important is how a player comes back from being chirped. He feels that the most acceptable way is to “talk” with the bat or ball. The mark of a good cricketer is coming back from being knocked down. Furthermore, a good team is one that uses these words to build intensity, spark interest, and keep themselves focused on the game at hand. What it can do for some, is raise their game which will lead to them performing better.
Chirping is an intrinsic part of cricket, it leads to more intense and exciting clashes in the game. Whether it is experienced passively, with you just being chirped and not reacting, or actively, you will experience it. The question is: Will you let it rule you or will you rise above it?