Wednesday 2 January 2019

Paine vs Pant

The Instagram photo. 
I wanted to quickly share my thoughts about the Paine - Pant sledge.

I've been an outspoken critic of "mental disintegration" -- the tactic of using personal abuse and insults to get under a player's skin and put them off their game, but I really liked what I heard from Paine, and think it's the sort of sledging that is totally appropriate.

Here's what I noticed about it. Firstly, the was nothing offensive in it. He wasn't attacking Pant's ability or character. There was a little dig there about "big MS" to attempt to bring out any insecurity, but that was it.

The aim was to change the way that Pant was playing, and to get him to loosen up. That's why he was talking about Dhoni, and the BBL.

He wanted Pant to play some big, risky shots, so he started putting those thoughts into his head. And it worked. Pant did loosen up.

It was clever, subtle and (in my opinion) good test cricket. Paine was testing Pant's mental strength regarding cricketing, not testing his mental strength to tolerate insults aimed at him, his parentage or about his family etc.

I love that they're turning the stump mics on, long may it last, and long may we hear quality, cricketing related conversations like that.

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