Aggressive cricket can be all about playing really defensively

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< 1 minute read

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.”


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  1. You seem very aggressive about this subject, KC.

    Warne’s new brand of aggressive cricket sounds a lot like the ‘attritional’ brand of cricket England got slated for playing a short while ago. A fickle brand of analysis, perhaps.

    I wonder who will be first to attempt a ‘passive-aggressive’ brand of cricket – leaving annoying post-it notes on the opposition’s lockers, bottling up of all this on-field aggressive until it explodes in a Birmingham nightclub, deliberately underperforming, on-field sarcasm… oh wait.

    1. IT IS! We hadn’t even spotted that. Warne is describing the exact style of cricket he lambasted England for not so long ago.


  2. I now see that your name is followed by “Post Author”, which is fair because, well, you wrote this post. But I went back and checked the comments on Ed’s match report, and the site claims you were the Post Author of that one too. Do you now realize what’s happening? You move to a bungalow from the old hovel, and act like everything’s yours. You don’t care about poor match reporters’ feelings anymore, do you? No, you don’t. They are simply pawns in this big capitalist game of yours.

    It changes your character, this space. Before long you’d be writing peans to Matthew Hayden’s chest. Move back before it’s too long, KC.

    1. Bwahahaha-haaa.

      [That’s an evil laugh, by the way. To indicate how evil we are.]

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