Dhoni says sledging an art India are picking up

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/dhoninew.jpg' class='caption'> While the BCCI has asked ICC to ban sledging, MS Dhoni and Gary Kirsten think it's a part of the game.

Updated: February 27, 2008 14:55 IST
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Hobart & Mumbai:

Just a day after the manager of the Indian team wrote a letter to the ICC match referee asking him to request the Australians to refrain from sledging, the captain of the Indian team suggested it was an art that the youngsters in his team must pick up.

This has often been the case - while officials believe that sledging must be outlawed, those on the field believe it makes the game more interesting, and goes a long way in building character.

"It's going on for a long time," says MS Dhoni. "You have to be careful about that. If you are getting provoked, there are ways in which you can reply. So you have to be careful. And we have youngsters in the side who will learn this art. I think it is an art. It's not only about aggressive cricket. You have to be good at this also."

Dhoni has confirmed what many people have long suspected - the Indians end up getting fined because they are amateurish in their sledging while the professional Australians get away. But India are getting better and their new coach certainly thinks that's healthy.

Gary Kirsten, the coach designate, says "I think what I like about Indian cricket now as a whole and about the younger players is that they are ready to accept the banter. They are ready to confront whereas in the past they would back off. They are not backing off anymore and that is healthy for the game."

So with that amount of support for sledging it's a wonder why the ICC has agreed to a request from the Indian cricket board to completely ban sledging in the game.

"It's up to the individuals to realise that you know you don't go above the law and don't do anything stupid," says Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene. "Other than that, it's been there in cricket for quite some time, and we do enjoy that kind of aggressiveness on the park."

Perhaps what the ICC needs to look into more urgently is why their umpires and match referees aren't fair with handing out fines. A famous incident involving Glenn McGrath and Ramnaresh Sarwan never resulted in even a warning let alone a fine.

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