Daily Archives: 28 February 2008

Australian cricket… an interesting read

Read this article in The Mid Day by Michael Jeh, a coloured player who has played club cricket for Mathew Hayden’s Valley Cricket Club in Brisbane. It might be of interest to you and adds more colour (pardon the pun) to recent goings on.

– Mohan

India in under 19 WC final

India reached the under 19 World Cup final yesterday with a win over New Zealand. For the first time they were chasing a target in excess of 150 and almost made a hash of it. Cruising at a 150 odd for 3 they suddenly lost 4 wickets before a few bold hits settled the issue. I have been watching a few of the games off and on and here are some positives from the way the team has played.

  • The batting looks very solid. Batsmen have a good technique and they are also not averse to walking down the pitch and taking a shot at regular intervels. They seem to be very much in tune with modern methods of batsmanship.
  • The fielding is a revelation. The cricketers are really fit, agile and athletic. There was one particluar pickup and run out attempt by Tanmay Srivastav that just blew me away.
  • The bowling looks ok. Sangwan continues the tradition of Indian swing bowling and is a real threat when he can get the ball to move. Sidharth Kaul and Ajitesh Argal are extremely accurate and do not give much away. I am not too impressed with Ravindra Jadeja. At this level he is a very good spinner and opponents do not have much experience tackling quality spin. But he looks more like a conventional left arm spinner from Western India in the Nadkarni/Shastri mould who is flatter and quicker through the air rather than the Bedi/Maninder mould of North India.
  • All round skills seem to be the focus for most of the cricketers. Virat Kohli, the captain, bowled a splendid spell of “poi” (deceipt) bowling as they call it here in Chennai cricket circles. You generally vary the pace and deceive the batsman. His slow leg cutter resembles Chris Harris and he is very accurate. Similarly Tanmay Srivastav bowls off spin and can keep the batsmen guessing.This is just the kind of additional bowling skills that will help these batsmen in the modern game. I did not see much about the batting capabilities of the bowlers but a few lusty blows by Sangwan at the end of yesterday’s game gives me hope that the next generation may not bat like Munaf Patel!
  • The wicket keeper Srivats Goswami also was impressive with an excellent stumping and consistent batting performances at the top of the order.
  • The batsmen also perform well under pressure. Last year in a triangular final chasing 200 odd, Saurabh Tiwary and Manish Pandey added 140 plus after India were 50 for 4 to win the match. I saw 3 boundaries by Pandey yesterday and he just oozes class!
  • In the reserves there is still the local boy Abhinav  Mukund who sadly has not yet got a game. But I have seen him bat when he made 2 hundreds for TN in the Ranji Trophy including one on debut and he has an excellent temperament.

Now coming to the blot on the performance. Yesterday Corey anderson the New Zealander hit a fine knock to get his team to 200. Ultimately he was bowled by Tanmay. But it was very sad to see Tanmay imitating Ishanth Sharma and signalling the batsman to walk to the pavilion. The sad part was that there was hardly any provocation from the batsman a la Symonds. Afterall he had played a great knock and deserved a “well played” rather than that disgraceful gesture Tanmay is one of the stars in this team and this kind of behaviour does not augur well for the future. Of coruse the umpire Hartley immediately called Tanmay and let him know that this was not on. But I really think India should worry more about cricketing skills and instill those in the youngsters and ‘weed’ out such unnecessary and unwarranted gestures and actions.

– Sanjay

Hayden unrepentant but cops wrist slap…

In a stunning slap on the faces of Cricket Australia officials, Matthew Hayden, who called India’s Harbhajan Singh a “little obnoxious weed” in a radio interview, has maintained his innocence!

Australian opener, Matthew Hayden, was in hot waters after the spray he gave Harbhajan Singh. In the same radio interview the 37-year-old veteran of the game even invited an Indian player — almost half his age! — to the boxing ring for a fight.

The BCCI left the matter in the hands of Cricket Australia. Cricket Australia had to be seen to be doing something. So they hauled Matthew Hayden in front of a “code of conduct” hearing in Melbourne, after which commissioner, Ron Beazley, let Hayden off with a reprimand! One can only assume that Hayden was let off with a mere slap on the wrist because he pleaded guilty to the “code of conduct” charge!

But immediately after the hearing, Hayden waltzed out and said, “I maintain my innocence; my intentions were never to denigrate cricket or anyone. But in the spirit of cricket I respect and accept the decision”

If I was surprised by CA’s mild wrist-tap, I am simply stunned by Hayden’s response!

So, Hayden’s intentions were never to denigrate cricket or anyone! So, what were his intentions then? If it was an unintended slip or an error in judgment, one would have thought that an apology was in order! But no! He has come out and maintained his innocence!

Rule 9 of the Cricket Australia Code of Behaviour (see page-10), prohibits “Detrimental Public Comment”. The rule guidelines clearly prohibit public denigration of other players against whom they have played or are likely to play!

Does this mean that Australian players can run amok calling other-country players f***wits or dimwits or d**k-heads or mother-f*****s or “little obnoxious weeds” in radio interviews and get away with it? What has the cricket world come to?

This sets a dangerous precedent in world cricket — one that we could do without.

For his part, Harbhajan Singh was cheeky in his riposte. He asked innocently, “What’s the meaning of the word, please tell me,” and added, “Seriously, who’s Matthew Hayden?”

It is likely that Australian players are peeved that Harbhajan Singh got away with his monkey slur against Andrew Symonds. But there was no tangible evidence in that case! It had to be thrown out, despite the incompetence of Mike Proctor initially. Here there was incontrovertible evidence of a slur! Hayden was caught with his pants down, so to speak — perhaps they were even “Mad Boy” pants! And for him to maintain his “innocence” even after a wrist-slap only suggests, in my view, that the man has a deep-rooted contempt for process, decency and for the opposition!

If Hayden can be unrepentant in the face of such evidence, one can only imagine how vile he must be on the field. That is not to suggest that the Indians are innocent victims or that they are saints. They are, I am sure, giving it back as good as they get!

The Indian team management appear to be sick of all the trash talk they get from the Australians. They wrote as much to match referee Jeff Crowe after last Sunday’s CB Series match. In that letter the Indians claimed that they have tried to pull back from sledging during the ODI series. The letter said, “Even if we have tried to play in the spirit of the game, some of the players from the Australian side have made a few comments that has brought disharmony to the game.” This point that was reiterated by M. S. Dhoni in subsequent interviews.

Indian cricket board secretary Niranjan Shah said the sledging issue had become “out of hand and is going too far”..

This summer has seen its fair share of controversies between Australia and India. No tour has seen as many unsavory incidents as this one has! And there are no signs that things will abate or settle down! The Indians are going to get stuck into the Australians on Sunday. One can expect Sydney fans to get stuck into Harbhajan Singh. One can expect Indian fans buying tickets already for October so that they can get stuck into the Australians when the Aussies visit India!

Is this what we want cricket to be all about?

The shame in all of this is that the cricket has been at its very best! Sadly all of that is being forgotten by the trash talk and gutter filth.

Time to tape the players’ mouths and give them bats and balls to play with instead.

– Mohan