If you don't already know that the Bangladesh cricket team made history last week, you've been living under a rock or you're one of those people whose heart rate doesn't rise and fall with the fate of their national team, in which case go away (no, really).
But whether you're a cricket connoisseur or total ignoramus, the highs and lows of one of the most exciting series played on our home ground, as well as the drama that followed, is unlikely to have slipped under your radar. For a few days, cricket followers across the nation were seething at the audacity of Stokes, whose constant sledging of Sabbir even cost him 15% of his match fees by the end of the series. But the tigers had the last laugh with a 108 run win over the lions on the third day of the final test, and the image of the all-rounder being saluted by Shakib after losing his precious wicket to his greatest competitor, has now gone viral. It all ended amicably enough on Twitter, with Stokes and Shakib engaging in some casual banter.
For those of you think cricket is a boring game, this sort of trolling is more commonplace than you think. While the tradition of sledging is meant to be about psyching out your opponent in a spirit of camaraderie, there have been many instances of players taking it too far (we're looking at you Australia) and have given birth to some serious cricketing rivalries on the field. This week, we give you snippets of some epic moments and cricket trolls that Shakib just added to.
Salutations for Stokes
Marlon Samuels and Ben Stokes have been locked in confrontation for a while now, a rivalry which began with Samuels' saluting Stokes after a dismissal in the Grenada Test in early 2015. Stokes has made it clear in his autobiography that there is no love lost between them, and their feud reached its climax during the World T20 final in Kolkata in early 2016 when the pair went face-to-face in the middle. Stokes went from being confident in the win to watching in open-mouthed despair while four deliveries were knocked out of the stadium by Brathwaite. Quite possibly one of the worst days of his career, but an epic moment for West Indian fans playing for a miracle.
From glory and despair
England may still have a bitter taste in their mouth from the World Cup loss to West Indies, but there are many of us who can't ever watch a winning game be lost without remembering the Super Sixes clash in 1999, where Australia had to chase 272 to win against South Africa. Captain Steve Waugh was cruising on 56 when he offered a simple catch to Herschelle Gibbs at mid-wicket, who in his haste to celebrate – dropped him.
“You've just dropped the World Cup, mate” was Waugh's instant retort to Gibbs, and he was right. But while this Waugh had the last laugh, his brother Mark wasn't so lucky on another occasion – when he taunted English James Ormond for being the worst player on his team, he replied with a cool “Maybe so, but at least I'm the best player in my family".
There are too many instances of angry retorts and snide comments when tensions are running high, but Merv Hughes, who bowled for Australia in the 80s and early 90s, deserves a medal for some bringing some seriously witty one-liners into the mix as well. Some of his crackers include - "Would you like me to bowl a piano and see if you can play that" and "If you turn the bat over you'll get the instructions mate". Merv was as funny in dishing it out as he was in handling being sledged – during a test between Pakistan and Australia in 1991, when Javed Miandad sledged him by saying “Merv you are a big, fat bus conductor” (yes insults were weird back then) – Merv dismissed him a few balls later, ran past him and shouted “Tickets please!”
The cool customers
While a host of the sledging that goes on in cricket is a bit too PG-13 for printing on a Friday magazine, the best instances are when the bullied get to take down the bullies by a notch, not just with their words but with top-class cricket. West Indies cricket legend Viv Richards was a master of this – in a county match in England, Greg Thomas taunted him for missing a few deliveries by saying “It's red, it's round. Now hit it!". The furious Richards went on to hit the next ball out of the ground and retorted with "You know what it looks like, now go and get it.”
Now that's a comeback.