[This is not technically unwritten as there are rules about it, but there is a social custom against trash talk. Can you imagine an NBA rule against trash-talking? - Eric]
This is very messy indeed. Apparently – and this is to be taken with a bucketful of salt – Harbhajan Singh called Andrew Symonds a monkey during their altercation yesterday. This is according to Chetan Chauhan, the India team manager, who also says the term “monkey” isn’t derogatory in India. That may be the case, but neither is it a glowing term of endearment; given the history between the pair, this excuse is pretty pathetic and smacks of a management desperately bailing themselves out. The whole affair needs nipping in the bud immediately, beginning with banningHarbhajan for the default period of such an offence (I think it’s either two Tests or four ODIs).
The problem some people will have, I imagine, is one of double standards; that Australia are allowed to sledge and no one else is. Sledging isn’t (or shouldn’t be) racist. Harbhajan’s alleged term isn’t a sledge, it’s a racist slur. -- The Corridor
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is to propose a complete ban on sledging at a meeting with the game's rule-makers next week. Niranjan Shah, BCCI secretary, told BBC Sport that sledging is damaging the game and that he will raise the issue with the International Cricket Council.
"Sledging is not required in cricket. It's not good for the game," he said. "Cricket is a gentleman's game, not a contact sport. We don't see why there should be any abusive language at all."
Sledging - the verbal abuse of players - was once defended as a legitimate tactic by former Australia captain Steve Waugh, though he preferred the term "mental disintegration". India's recent Test series in Australia was marred by controversy after spinner Harbhajan Singh was charged for allegedly racially abusing Australia's Andrew Symonds, though the off-spinner was later cleared at an appeal.
Shah said that any word which was offensive should not be tolerated and that the issue of interpretation caused great problems. "What is not particularly bad in one country can be very offensive in another," he said. "It's better just to cut out everything that could remotely cause a problem. Our board is unanimous on this and I think the ICC will be receptive to our proposal." -- BBC