London, Aug 2 (UNI) Even as purists call for an end to sledging in the wake of the ''jellygate'' incident, former Aussie allrounder Andy Bichel begs to differ saying that the on-field spat is actually healthy for the game.
''I think sledging is healthy for the game. I don't really call it sledging -- at the end of the day it is gamesmanship. What you are trying to do is put the opposition off their game,'' Bichel, Australia's 2003 World Cup hero, told The Guardian.
The Indian and English players have been involved in ugly spats during the on going Test series and while Zaheer Khan, the batsman, was teased by the Poms with jelly bean on the pitch, Sree Santh barged into Michael Vaughan and nearly decapitated Kevin Pietersen with a beamer.
The incidents prompted Sir Geoffery Boycott for the ICC to pitch in and put an end to sledging. Bichel, however, feels that the psychological warfare would go on as the nationalistic feeling ran high in the players.
''These mind games will always go on when you are out there fighting for your country. There is a lot at stake and I don't think any player would want to be seen to have let anyone down by not having a go when it might make a difference and a wicket might fall.
''But you have to be careful as it can all too easily be portrayed in the wrong light with the number of cameras on the players able to play everything back from all different angles.'' Citing the Zaheer Khan example, Bichel said sometime the sleging may even backfire.
''In the second Test at Trent Bridge the sledging may have fired Zaheer Khan up. It can work in a bowler's favour because they have six chances to then get the sledging batsman out in every over and it only takes one bad shot.
''The sledging probably did backfire, but the conditions were in his favour and very few batsmen in the world would have been able to handle that situation,'' he said.