Daily Archives: 7 January 2008

Must read article from the mX

I saw this great piece of journalism when I picked up the mX today. For readers not living in Australia, the mX is a free evening newspaper that is usually available around train stations in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

MxReport

(Click on the image to see the whole mX article)

Thanks for the article Russell. I fully agree with what you have said. The Indian newspapers are all biased and have tunnel vision. I am glad that the mX isn’t. The umpires had nothing to do with the actual result of the match – it was pure Australian brilliance. I find it appalling that they even blame the umpire for letting Andrew Symonds off in the first innings several times. It is a good thing you did not mention it.

About the Aussie skipper, Ponting reacting to an Indian journa asking why he claimed a catch which clearly wasn’t, I have this to say to the journalist (Raj) – “How dare you question the integrity of the Australian cricket captain?” Sheesh! Doesn’t he know that journalists can even question the integrity of the Australian prime minister, but questioning the integrity of the much revered Australian cricket captain is clearly out of bounds – I am glad Ricky told him to get lost in a nice way.

Just can’t seem to understand why the  mX is free. People should be charged to read great articles like these…

-Mahesh-

Sledging: The Mafia Seeks Police Protection!

I have a simple view on sledging and more so on high-moral grounds that people suddenly seem to want to adopt when it comes to sledging.

My question is simple: If someone is crass enough to say something crude, vulgar and distasteful to me about a people that I adore and worship and respect (say, my mother, my sister, my child, my wife or even my best friend) through a sequence of expletives, pray how would I deem that that person was worthy of my respect and observe a line in the sand? How does that person automatically wear nappies and point to lines in the sand? Where is the sand when that person himself has questioned my lineage and parentage? Why should I not question that person’s lineage in any way I know?

In saying this, I am not condoning Harbhajan Singh who is reported to have called Andrew Symonds a “monkey”. Not many people walk up to another person and call them randomly hurtful names. There is no doubt in my mind that Harbhajan Singh was provoked, if indeed he did call Symonds a “monkey”. If he was provoked, and if that provocation brought into focus and question a class of people that Harbhajan Singh respected/adored/admired/worshipped, then why should he not be allowed to issue an no-holds-barred spray of his own to the perpetrator? Why should he not brandish his sword and get stuck into the perpetrator? I am not absolving Harbhajan Singh. But it is a legitimate question to ask. Is it not?

There are no “lines in the sand”. If McGrath asks Sarawan what Lara’s tool tastes like, he should expect that he would be requested to ask that question of his wife. There are no lines in the sand. Pray why is McGrath’s wife the only one for whom a “line in the sand” applies? Is that only because she was not playing the game? Are Sarawan and Lara any less human than McGrath’s wife just because they were playing at the time? If Andrew Symonds had questioned Harbhajan Singh’s lineage, he should expect that his own lineage could be questioned too. Surely!

There is only one way to stop all of this nonsense. On a cricket field, the only objects that can be allowed to talk are the bat and the ball. Cricket is not played with the mouth, for heavens sake! A cricket ball whacked into the mouth hurts! That is why helmets were invented. Hello!

Australians invented sledging. They practice it and perfect it. Now, every team in the world carries on. Any team that sledges should accept whatever comes with that territory and stop donning nappies to worry about lines in the sand. There ain’t none. If sledging continues on unabated, we will see more “monkeying” and “rabbiting on”, not less.

The ICC has to step in, in my view and ban any talk on the field.

And for Australia to complain about “appropriate sledging” is a bit rich. If you throw a stone in the gutter you ought to expect a splash-back to soil your own clothes. The mafia cannot ask for a rule book on proper methods of killing.

— Mohan

A huge statement from Anil Kumble…

One of the nicest cricketers in the game has made a huge call on Australian cricket and the way they play the game. After the Sydney Test match of the ongoing Australia v India match was over, it was nice to see Anil Kumble being gallant and gracious in defeat. Not that Channel-9 bothered with what the Indian captain thought. The normal prize-distribution ceremony was ditched in favour of random interviews with Australian players. Channel-9 cut to interviews with Michael Charke, Ricky Ponting and other Australians but did not once realise that there was another set of 11 other cricketers that played the game! They were so busy ejaculating in their intense excitement that they forgot that there was another team that had played! This was not just rude and ingracious, but irresponsible of the host broadcaster.

Perhaps Andrew Symonds needs to be reminded of his comments about appropriate post-victory celebrations?

However, Anil Kumble did make what I thought was the most telling comment of the night. In an almost verbatim quote that was taken straight out of Bodyline (and not used since), Anil Kumble said, “Only one team was playing with the spirit of the game, that’s all I can say“. That is an astonishing statement that is normally reserved for blogs and private opinion pieces. His statement is now ingrained in print as an indictment on Australian sport. This sound-byte will travel and will be imprinted, especially since it comes from one of the modern-day gentlemen of cricket.

This Indian cricket team contains, in Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and V. V. S. Laxman, four thorough gentlemen. When they speak, the world listens. That is because they have always played their cricket hard but fair. They have had a blemish-free career and to last 12-18 years in International cricket without a single blemish or black-mark against your name is a telling statistic. These awesome gentlement are true moder-day sports heros. Most other modern-day heroes (Ricky Ponting, Glen McGrath and Shane Warne included) have had run-ins and blemishes against their names. This foursome from India have to be saluted for the manner in which they have played the game. I would not include Sourav Ganguly in that same list because he has had his run ins with the law-makers as well as opposing captains.

Against this backdrop, the stament from Anil Kumble is a huge call in my books.

It is an imposing statement from a thorough sportsman and Australian cricket would do well to take notice of this harsh indictment. It would do no good for Ricky Ponting and the Australian governing authorities to bury their collective heads in the sand and be in denial. Australian sport needs to take a good, long, hard look at itself in the mirror and ask some searching questions. This was a scathing attack from a visiting captain who was, simultaneously, gracious in defeat. He had savaged his own batsmen with criticism for not lasting 72 overs on what was still a reasonable batting surface. After all, Kumble himself had hung around competently for 111 balls. It was after that when launched this scathing attack on Australian cricket. This wasn’t sour-grapes speak. This was a telling and timely assault on the Australian way of playing.

No one expects, not least Anil Kumble, that the Australians will walk when they snick the ball to the wicketkeeper (Ponting, Symonds, Hussey). I am most certain that that is not where Anil Kumble is coming from for he too often stands his ground until he is declared out by the umpire.

However, there were four glaring instances of bad sportsman-like behaviour, in my view.

  • The Australians had appealed for a catch when they clearly must have known that it was not out (against Rahul Dravid in the second innings). A “nick” and an “off the pad” sound different.
  • Ricky Ponting claimed a catch off M. S. Dhoni even though he must have known that he had grassed it! The fact that there was some doubt that the shot itself may not have come off the bat, is yet another matter.
  • The Australians had claimed a bump-ball catch (Sourav Ganguly).
  • And they had violated their own “what is said on the field is left on the fieldmantra.

All of these are monumental acts of unsportsmanlike behaviour that does not sit easily on a champion team. In my eyes, Australia will never be a Champion cricket team. Roger Federer would never be this desperate to adopt any means in order to secure a win. Tiger Woods would never adopt any means in a desperate bid to win. The Australian cricket team does.

When you set that alongside the broadside from Peter English and Peter Roebuck, one would think Australian cricket needs to find some answers.

Anil Kumble will, almost certainly, scrap the pre-match understanding that he had with Ricky Ponting on accepting the fielders’ word when a tough catch is taken. Ponting can react angrily and testily and point to his own withdrawal of a bump-catch against Rahul Dravid in the first innings. However, this agreement covers the entire team. If Michael Clarke’s bump-ball catch to get rid of Sourav Ganguly yesterday was referred upstairs, it would have been given not out — although you could never place your money on it, with Australian Bruce Oxenberg at the controls!

And with the expected fallout from the ruling on the Harbhajan Singh incident, this series has just reached nuclear-fallout territory.

One of my sources close to the team has said that the team will run to Mike Proctor everytime an Australian crickter opens his mouth because of the filth and the nonsense that is heard. Already there are early indications that this would indeed happen, because Brad Hogg has been reported by the Indian team for calling an Indian player a “B**tard” which is supposedly “a derogatory term in India”.

We live in interesting times and it is certainly not because of the quality of the cricket.

— Mohan

Harbhajan banned for three tests, India may return home

According to MV Sridhar, India’s team spokesman, India may return home after hearing the verdict against Harbhajan Singh. While the BCCI has played down the threat, I personally feel that it is worthwhile considering returning home. The spirit of the game has been shattered not just by the umpiring decisions but by poor sportsmanship on the part of the Aussie team. If the verdict is indeed true (cricinfo does not confirm it as yet), it is a sad reflection on the state of affairs in the sport. It is not difficult anymore to start believing conspiracy theories.

I have lost all respect for the Australian team and the australian media (including Channel nine) for their sissy like behavior, and any trust of the ICC and its people,  and am finding it difficult to view this series in any objective manner possible.

– Srikanth