We’ve written about ‘aggressive cricket’ about a billion times, but that’s largely because – like a snipped clothing label that hasn’t quite been fully removed – it continues to irritate us.
Different people mean different things by ‘aggression’ and also confuse cricketing aggression with actual aggression. The latest to say something stupid on the matter is, unsurprisingly, Shane Warne.
“All this about aggressive play – aggressive play can also be about wearing down your opposition and letting the ball go well, to keep them out in the field for long periods of time.”
No it can’t.
What’s happened is that ‘aggressive cricket’ has widely come to be seen as the best way of approaching the sport and now no-one dares say otherwise. This means that on those occasions when playing aggressively isn’t the best approach, rather than acknowledging this, people instead redefine what ‘aggressive’ means.
Sports people are really, really bad at words. It never fails to surprise us how they don’t merely misuse words, but misuse them in such a way that they warp meaning and undermine the English language for other people as well.
Here’s what Warne should have said:
“All this about aggressive play – good play can be about wearing down your opposition and letting the ball go well, to keep them out in the field for long periods of time.”