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

46 responses to “A huge statement from Anil Kumble…

  1. While it is agreed by everyone that there were umpiring decisions that were embarrassing to say the least, the comments by Kumble I have to accept as being totally out of character.

    I saw both sides pushing the limits and taking appeals that were probably a bit over zealous. Both sides. I can’t believe that Kumble has finally tarred his own name, and the name of Indian cricket by coming out with reactive comments like that. The umpires were not Australian.

    We all saw the Indian player in the last match that didn’t walk.. what’s the difference?

    Come on, get real. It almost sounds like jealousy, you can’t dispute that a 16 straight win can’t be put down to a great team! Sheesh.. get a grip and stop sounding like a petulant child that has had its pride taken away.

  2. Eliza,

    Let’s accept one thing. I have no doubt that the better team won. In the sessions that mattered (last session day-4 and first session day-5) Australia played the smarter cricket and got ahead in a close game. Let us put that out to pasture. Anil Kumble acknowledged that too although Channel-9 was busy celebrating, thereby abrogating their responsibility as a host broadcaster…

    No one expects cricket players to “walk”. To my knowledge only the two wicketkeepers in both teams walk.

    And yes, while I agree and accept that the umpires are non-Australian, you only need to look at statements by (the late) Bob Woolmer and Shiv Chanderpaul to know what opposing teams are up against when they play Australia.

    But even that is not where I am coming from.

    Even if you hold a gun to my head and ask me to agree that the appeal against Rahul Dravid was an oversight on the part of the Australian fielders (and yes, there was over-zealous appealing on voth sides), I just cannot pardon the bump-ball catch that Michael Clarke claimed. I suspect that that is where Anil Kumble is coming from.

    As for the “dobbing in” that Ponting indulged in, thereby opening up a Pandora’s Box, that happened when the Australians felt that the game was slipping away. A champion team would dig deep. Australians take on a mafioso approach. Australian sport is at its ugliest when the going is extremely tough. The correlation between the ugly Australian image and losing is just too cute to ignore.

    Ponting can stick his head in the sand and live in denial like most Australians, I am sure, will. But this is an indictment that needs, in my view, an honest mirror for Australian society.

  3. Anil Kumble’s statement is a very strong message for Australian Cricket. This is not about gestures like walking etc…. Aussies have been crossing the line for many years. Finally, someone has to “bell the cat”. Kumble did it.

    Kumble is a true gentleman and a tough fighter on the field, a player who has not involved in any controversy and his statement should carry a some weight.

    The well publicized McGrath’s ugly spat with Sarwan is one example of such crude behavior. The transcripts of that conversation are well-known. If you want to give, then you should be willing to receive.

    Harbhajan episode may be also part of their gamesmanship to psych out India during the Sydney test.

  4. For someone who sat in the SCG and heard the respect with applaud and cheering for Tendulker as he walked to the crease I find it deeply offensive that you find the poor behaviour of teams/crowd/media an indication to the ‘ugly Australian image’.

    I’ve seen every cricket nation embroiled in ugly parts of elite sport. Where are you drawing the line at when a team is crude?

    I think Hogg should also receive a ban from the game for offensive language. I find it revolting that this blog laughs off and defends the monkey taunt. Australia and every country needs to take a stand against any form of vulgarity. You can’t defend the term when it is used in a context of offense. For example using ‘dyke’, ‘bitch’, ‘fag’, etc. they all have derivatives that make them non-offensive, but when used to taunt at a minority or a race it is actually offensive.. not on! That’s not cricket! I applaud Ponting for taking a stand and saying ‘not on’. The best thing is he is listening to directives of the board and following the rules. You can’t have it both ways, either we’re cheating or we’re not.

    I believe Kumble defending a team member that used racial slurs as a poor reflection on his own name and Indian cricket. If Ponting comes out and defends Hogg’s comments then he too can cop a beating for poor leadership.

    I also feel that this blog is extradinarily blinded to the ‘gentlemen’ of Indian cricket. I thought Harbhajan’s rolling around the ground after collecting a wicket hysterically funny and zealous .. if an Australian reacts with gleeful enthusiasm, does it suddenly become crude? That shows that the people writing on this blog are only seeing what their hearts want to.

    I think walking out with two right handed gloves by a batsman as cheating, but nevermind that hey! I think that is all part of the modern game.

    You really comment on what ‘most Australians will’ do as you clearly do not understand the fabric and complexity of Australian culture.

  5. “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.”

    – 100% … what i too thought. I guess Gary Kasparov is better than Aussie cricket team under Ponting.

    Sometimes i get the feeling that Sourav Ganguly’s character suits more for a captain than Kumble, Tendulkar, Dravid because these persons are too gentle.

    Ganguly’s shirt rip off after Natwest final at Lord’s is flashing in my mind when i write this. I guess we have got to be like that too to resist and give back. Else arrogant people like Ponting & co would carry on their arrogance.

    And another question is if Sachin Tendulkar backed Harbhajan during hearing. If Sachin had backed Harbhajan, then what value has been given to a gentleman’s words.

    And a big THANKS for your comprehensive coverage of each day of play. I have become regular visitor.

  6. Kumble et al are just suckers born every minute in this world–why would anyone with an iota of brain have a “gentlemen’s agreement” with an opposition captain when the Umpires are in charge of a game. Cricket is no longer a game of or for gentlemen but of and for prima donnas and prostitutes.

    ALL sportspersons are ARSEHOLES and some are worse than others.

    These days, cricketers are playing for big bucks–and not national pride. They, hence resort to all forms of cheating and hope that they are not CAUGHT.

  7. @ Eliza

    A few points…

    I don’t believe I ever said that the teams’ on-field approach (or Channel-9’s coverage of the sport) is a reflection of Australian society. I live here and know the fabric of this society. If I did indeed say that the teams’ crass and vulgar behaviour is a reflection of (a crass and vulgar) society, I unreservedly apologise. Please re-read my posting and let me know where I may have let that slip.

    I believe I have said “Australian sport”, “Australian cricket” and “governing authorities of the sport” in most instances and not “Australian society”.

    Once again, I urge you to re-read my posting. I was being deliberately careful and if I offended you by a crass-over-generalisation, I unreservedly apologise.

    In my blog posts, I did say that I was amazed at the thunderous applause that Sachin Tendulkar received from the SCG crowd on reaching his century. Once again, I urge you to please read my posts.

    I do not believe that we have laughed off the monkey taunt. I, for one, have maintained that IF he is found guilty of the crime “Beyond reasonable doubt”, Harbhajan must do the time. Again, please read.

    I have also said that at the end of the day it will be one mans’ word against the other with Tendulkar and Ponting as character/material references. Again, I invite you to read the posts.

    You mock Harbhajan Singh’s rolling on the grass. Why do you find it more revolting than Brett Lee’s lawn-mover-start impersonation on taking a wicket? Is that because Brett Lee is more graceful? Or is it because Brett Lee is “one of your own and so, can do anything he likes”? Each one to his own. A hand has five fingers; all different. In diversity we celebrate human spirit.

    My comment on Australian celebration was inspired by the wonderful words of Saint Andrew Symonds who commented crassly on Indian celebrations post-Twenty20. I personally do not care how people celebrate. To each his own. But the moment, Andrew Symonds comments on the nature of Indian celebrations, then I think he has left himself open to comments directed at him! I hope you see where I am coming from.

    There are two sides to each coin. You chose to see the one you want to…

  8. Eliza,

    For one thing, Mohan has been a fair and balanced commentator on the game and very rarely if not never indulges in broad generalization of issues, especially on matters of culture and national pride. To accuse him of lacking an awareness of the same only shows limited knowledge and narrow mindedness.

    Having said that, do you even have the faintest idea as to how long the Aussie way of behaving on the field has gone on unnoticed and unaddressed. Their behavioras I have observed your cricketres, over the past several years seems to indicate that swearing is part of your culture (even your very own Tony Greig attested to this). It seems like children are taught four letter words very early in their lives and asked to use them in sport liberally. Why only now do you comment on taking action on Hogg. Why didn’t you folks (including the media) make this an issue earlier. That’s probably because swearing is part of your fabric and complexity of your culture.

    The bottom line is that the Aussies want to win at any cost, even if it means throwing all morals and ethics out the window. Ponting is classic example of the same. He has successfully eliminated the one bowler who has got him out consistently not on the field but by falsely accusing him of wrongdoing.

    Very soon the world will realize what a bunch of sore losers the current aussie cricketers are and will not respect any of them or their wins.

  9. @ Eliza

    While I had been extremely careful in my posting, I just re-read the comments section above, and in it I have inadvertently said, “But this is an indictment that needs, in my view, an honest mirror for Australian society”. For using the word “society” in the comments, I do apologise, especially as it has hurt your sentiments. That was not my intention in a tricky debate on Australian sport. It was a needless and simplistic generalisation, written in haste. I did mean to say “Australian sport”, as I have, in my article.

    — Mohan

  10. In India, calling “Monkey” or showing “Monkey sign” is not considered even as a abuse. So dont go as far as putting it under racial abuse category.

    But………. someone please let me know whether sledging is abuse or not. As per rule i think sledging is not considered as abuse unless it crosses a limit. So whats that limit? in what unit of measure it(limit) is measured and the value is denoted? just mentioning “anything which is racially abusive” crosses the limit just doesnt convince me. Because its highly subjective.

    Because, according to my understanding, for a guy who is at giving end – it may be mild but for the guy at receiving end – it may be as high as a racial abuse. So, can the sledging by the guy could be declared as punishable?

    If punishable, then looking at the past, history tells that Aussies have been in the giving end of lots of vulgar sledgings. So all those can be booked just because the receiving guys felt hurt because in his village its treated as racial abuse.

    As an excuse they probagated “whatever said on field left on field” theory because none were giving back to them their medicine.

    Almost all the famous sledgings that Aussies uttered had the word “f**k” (Sorry friends for writing this word and dirtying the blog – but i have to to denote my point). You come and travel allover India and take survey how many of them use this word and then you will know how abusive it is considered that it is not used even in aggravated conversations. “monkey” is not even 1 % of as concentrate as the above word. And thats Indian, Srilankan perspective. So, Can all those Aussie sledgings be treated as abuse crossing the limit and termed as racial abuse because that word is considered more abusive than “monkey” – (which according to icc a racially abusive word)????

    Being an Indian and holding up Indian gentlemen values, I agree one should accept and respect when another country men find it as abuse and refrain from doing that. If Harbhajan had repeated that act of uttering “monkey” more than few times even after being let known that Symond is hurt on that, then i accept Procter’s verdict, else, if Harbhajan didnt tell the same or if it was the first time he told or if he didnt know that Symonds is truly hurt by that, then the verdict of procter is unacceptable.

    And last but not the least, Ponting is a coward to have broke their theory of “what said on field left on field”. This proved aussies are vulnerable when given back. World has to take notice of this. They have exposed a weakness.

    Biggest comedy of 2008 is terming an Indian to have done a racially abuse act. Come and see the various walks of life prevailing in India and how people of various races living in Harmony. If not, how a Bret Lee or Lara or Steve Waugh or Lilee etc are comfortable in having a connection with India in their activities…Its silly that these Aussies are not taking these values of an indian into consideration.

    I plain words, Ponting and co were so frustrated that they couldnt continue their first-innings domination in this match and they showed their frustration by reporting Harbhajan to match refree.

    Take my words….if Sreesanth had toured…..he would have been the first the Aussies would have targetted and reported.

  11. H L Cadambi (Cad)

    Hi Mohan and Eliza
    I read with interest Mohan’s posting, and both your comments – as well as a whole lot of other stuff in various sites relating to this issue.

    A lot of generalised comments are being made, some with some basis, many over-generalised. Iam going to be very cautious here, and will confine myself purely to this match and the happenings as I saw / read about.

    1. Let us forget about the general “spirit of the game” – this is at best a cloudy and ever-changing concept; and, by whatever definition one cares to go by, I don’t think the Aussies play per the spirit of the game, but neither do the Indians / the English or indeed any other team.

    2. Did the Australians cheat in this game?
    Depends on what you call cheating. If claiming a catch that you clearly know was not cleanly taken is cheating, yes I think they cheated. On the other hand, one can always argue that its up to the umpires to decide, I will appeal for whatever I want to appeal for.

    3. The racist comment issue: if Harbhajan used the monkey word or any other racist term, and there is clear evidence of the same, he should be given the maximum stipulated punshment. However, if there is no evidence other than the word of 1/2/3 or more Aussies against his word – I don’t think such a serious charge should be confirmed. So far I have not heard of any evidence other than one side’s word against the other side’s word. If that is indeed the only basis – it may even be construed that the match referee is racist or at the very least biased in some way. Interestingly the maximum punishment allowed for this offence is a 4 test ban; he has only banned Harbhajan for 3 tests! Why so? Is he saying he is not 100% sure that Harbhajan is guilty? Does he feel there were mitigating circumstances ie provocation – if so why has he let the provocators off scot free?

    4. Lastly, Eliza says that Hogg should also be punished for using offensive language. I agree. However – and this is the only general comment I will make – over the years, and much more so in recent times, there have been far far too many instances of offensive language being used on the field, and no action at all being taken. Its almost as if the ICC and its officials are saying that offensive language (or sledging) is perfectly all right; racism is not.

    I quote from Peter Lalor (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23014716-5001505,00.html) :

    “According to people close to the team, Harbhajan used the “monkey” term on the field. The matter was dealt with behind closed doors after the match and should have stayed there.

    If he has repeated the term, he deserves no sympathy at all. He was given one chance but, when push came to shove, when antagonist and protagonist bickered again on day three, he allegedly went there again.

    He could have used all sorts of expletives, he could have even ignored Symonds, but, according to a number of the Australian players, he went to the poison well to dish out the most toxic thing he could think of. ”

    I find the first part of that last para outrageous; its the sort of sentiment that culminates in the situation we now are witness to. Sadly, I think far too many players subscribe to that sentiment – including a vast majority of the current Australian team.

    look forward to seeing what you folks think!


  12. Mohan,

    Small Digression… I was reading one of your earlier posts and came to know that you admire A.R.Rahman much.

    Neenga Tamilnu theriyudhu, namma Isaignani Ilaiyaraaja va pathi sollalaiyae. Unga admiring people listala illayae. Neenga Carnatic rasigarnu therinjukitten. Carnatic la ippadiyellam improvise, ippadiyellam dilute – pamara manushanukkum kooda inimaiya .. simpla kondu poi sekkamudiyuma..ippadiyellam seyya mudiyumaangra alavukku namma isaignani seithuirukkar…seithukittuirukkirar. Unga listla illathappo aachryappatten. Naan ilaiyaraajavoda theevira rasigan. Inspirationukku, Uzhaippukku, Punctualitykku, Sincireitykku, Talentukku – ilaiyaraaja vai naan paarkiren. 64 thandiyaachu, innum kaalaila 7.15 AM kku Prasad studiovula correct ella musicianum varratharkku munnala iruppar. Nan avaroda greatnessa nenaikkarathu, mathavngala vida avarkku isai gnanam athikama irukkungarathukku…ore saandru… avarukku music create panna oru paper pena iruntha pothum. Yezhuthinappuram ulakathula yenga vaasichaalum athu correcta inimiya contextukku thagunthatha irukkum. GREAT

    ennoda karuthu….Indhiyaavula ivarkku nigar ivare…

    Cricketkku ulla restriction – age – age kadantha retire
    Aana Musicla restrictionae illai. Neenga retire aanathan undu.. Enna poruthavariyil Ilaiyaraaja saagarathu varaikkum isai uruvaakkittu iruppar. So avar intha crickettukku cricketers… ivargal ellathakkum mela engayo irukkar. Tamilnaatula porantathunaala ulagathukku teriyalla.. vera engayavathu naatula poranthuruntha …bach,beethovan,mozart varisaila vaikkapattirunthiruppar.

    Summa discuss pannanumna thonuchu..vera entha karuthu verubaadum illai. 🙂

  13. Kumble’s dignified albeit sharp repsonse minutes after the match showed why Sunil Gavaskar was right in labelling him one of the greatest ambassadors of Indian cricket.

    I’m glad the Indians have not called off the tour as was being suggested in some quarters. Instead, they should play the next 2 Test matches with black armbands and lodge a stiff protest with the ICC against Team Australia and not just Brad Hogg.

    We’re behind you Team India.

  14. Ponting was required to report any racial abuse to the umpires. This was a requirement at the beginning of the series, after what happened in the Indian tour. And I would point out that Harbhajan was found guilty.

    Kumble is behaving like a sore loser. He got some rough decisions, but that is cricket.

    The umpires are neutral, the Aussies don’t have to walk and I still haven’t seen any evidence that “that ball” did not carry.

    The only side that has reasons to be annoyed at the other is Australia and in particular at Harbhajan.

  15. @ JB

    I suspect we have not heard the last on the Harbhajan Singh issue. How one can prove “beyond reasonable doubt” when there is no material evidence and a Kangaroo-court merely pits one mans’ word against anothers’ is highly questionable. Priors are irrelevant here.

    Ponting has opened a Pandora’s Box from which the only way out is a ban on all sledging — which, in my view would be good for cricket because we can return to playing cricket with bat and ball.

    Only a head in the sand will label Kumble a sore loser! He has an unblemished record after playing for 17 years in international cricket. He wasn’t a sore loser for 17 years. One may even say that he has gotten used to losing for more often than not, he has lost! Not many international cricketers can boast of a black-mark-free record after playing for that long. So, it would be nice to take that head out of the sand. Australian cricket does need to sit up and take notice — that is, if anyone out there has the guts to do so. It requires courage. Head in the sand denial is easy.

  16. It is the ICC that opened Pandora’s Box, not Ponting. Ponting did what he was told to do. If Harbhajan hadn’t done what he did, this wouldn’t be an issue. So stop blaming Ponting.

    I have always held Kumble in the highest of regards and my opinion on that hasn’t changed. But in this instance he behaved like a sore loser. I understand that, he must have been extremely disappointed.

    On records, Australia has won 15 games in a row without being called “Cheats”. And they did nothing outside the rules for the victory.

    Perhaps we can now focus on what the real issue was which is;
    1) What a fantastic test match to go down to the wire like that;
    2) The umpires had a very poor game.

  17. @ JB

    We are assuming that Harbhajan Singh said what he is supposed to have said. To my mind, Andrew Symonds, who did not walk when he was out is a “cheat” and is quite likely a cheat when he said he heard the word “monkey” too! The lawyers will be out in force with this one. Don’t worry about that. As I said, we have not heard the last word on this.

    Moreover, from now on we can expect at least one Australian reported every day. Sources close to the India team have said that the team has vowed to do that. If you thought that this series has turned ugly, think again. Brad Hogg will be the first of plenty. And the match referee is going to earn his keep. These are not threats. I am given to believe that these are promises. We certainly have not seen or heard the last of this unless some drastic measures are taken.

    This was an ugly Test match for a variety of reasons, one of which was that the Australians complained when they were losing. As I keep saying the correlation between “ugly Aussie behaviour” and “losing” is just TOO cute to ignore.

    Stats do not record details. So yes, those that look at stats alone will ignore the subscripts. But you and I will know different. I still remember Steve Bucknor on the last day of the Sydney Test in 2003-04. His atrocious decisions on that day cost India the series then. Most Indian cricket fans will not forget the ticking-off he gave Parthiv Patel in that game either. The hatred that he had on his face as he ticked off the young Patel — for the amount of appealing that Parthiv Patel was indulging in — was quite appalling. I did not quite see him murmur a word to the Australians who appealed at almost everything last night — and they were well within their rights to appeal…

  18. Sorry, are you calling Symonds a liar? And NOT WALKING IS NOT CHEATING! It never ever has been. The batsman is entitled to wait for the umpires decision. You must have no idea about cricket if you think that this is the first time a batsman has gone on to make runs after he should have been dismissed. I haven’t gone into this, but I am sure it has happened to every one of your batsman at some stage or another over their long careers.

    I look very much forward to these promises of yours. If Hogg says something racist he should be punished. But perhaps that is the difference between you and I?

    Harbhajan was found guilty by the ICC – so why are you defending him – you should be condemning him.

  19. @ JB (alias Go Home Then)

    I am not saying Symonds is a liar. I am just saying why should I accept Symonds word when I know he has lied on another point when it comes to a “his word against mine” episode?

    Ponting may claim that he caught the ball cleanly. But when he did not walk when he nicked the ball, why should I believe him when he claims he caught it?

    Similarly, why should I take Symonds’ word when it is a “his word against mine” situation? All I am saying is that from a legalistic perspective, in the absence of any material witnesses (and once priors have been dismissed because they were not reported) a “his word against mine” can be easily thrown out! It should be.

    And yes, most batsmen will have had a “let off” in his career and most batsmen will have received a “dud”. Which is why I am against the likes of Gilchrist and M. S. Dhoni “walking”.

    But DID Hogg say something “racist”? After all, “B****ard” can be a term of endearment! But no, in India it is not! In India “monkey” could be a term of love. Here it is not. Hence the Pandora’s Box.

    Rather than get hot under the collar and develop a rash, as you have developed, a bit of undestanding would be good.

    IF Harbhajan is found guilty — and we will only know once the appeals process has been bedded down — sure, he will be condemned. Until then, I prefer not to prematurely froth at the mouth.

  20. Excellent. I look forward to your thoughts after the appeal. And if the decision is upheld, I look forward to your condemnation.

    As for lying, I have to repeat myself. Not walking is not cheating.

    I do wonder however if it was an Australian accused of such abuse to one of your players, whether you would take such a relaxed attitude. From reading your blogs, I think not.

  21. @JB

    If you have been following my blog-posts, you would have known that I said on day-dot when this thing had blown over that IF Harbhajan has committed the crime he ought to serve his time.

  22. Hi Mohan,
    Visited your site only recently. I am really enamoured by your well articulated observations. Good to know that you are batting on well for India putting things in the correct perspective.
    I beleive that the real culprit is the ICC since they do not take quick positive action on issues. Bucknor is known to have given contentious decisions against India in a very consistent manner. A good student of statistics will know that a real correlation exists to show Bucknor’s horrendous decisions against India. Why then was he selected to umpire in matches involving India? I agree with Steven Waugh that Taufel would have been the best. Pick the best for the best matches.
    Even if the umpiring was good and the decisions went against them correctly, aus may have won the match. I beleive that they have the potential for that. Maybe India would have gone on to press the advantage and win. But the fact is now we do not know and a justifiable outcome for the match is not there and only ifs and buts remain. A pity because a clear result would have prevented all this nonsense going around.
    Regarding aus behaviour, I agree with Mohan. They pride on fighting back when they have their backs to the wall. But is that fighting done fairly? I take Ponting’s case as an example. In the first innings against a struggling Dravid, he was willing to give up a catch since he was sure of getting him sooner than later. But on the last day he even appealed for a grassed chance. On being asked he retorted that was it given out or not. I am asking just one thing, If Dhoni had been given out, would he have admitted he grassed it? The answer i sadly fear would have been NO.
    True champions never need to win at any cost since they do not fear losing.
    Regarding Harbhajan issue, it is commonly accepted that the accusors themselves cannot be witnesses. If so every case would go in favour of the accussors. The question I would like to ask the match referee is whether he is saying sachin is a liar. An Yes or no please, no lengthy arguments.

  23. @ Matthew

    Thanks for your comments.

    Alas! I suspect Proctor is saying that Tendulkar is a liar. Then again, if he had exonerated Harbhajan Singh, he would have been saying that Ponting, Hayden and Michael Clarke are liars!

    You see! That’s the point I made about this having been handled in a puerile manner by Ponting and Co. IF indeed Harbhajan Singh had said something bad AND if there were no witnesses and “word against word” was the only thing going around, THEN, the best thing for everyone would have been to have a chat about it after the game. Kumble would have stamped it out. Make no doubt about it. What is said on the field is left on the field. End of Story.

    There are NO winners in this route that this whole thing has taken. I can only see things get messier from here.

    We have now heard that the Indian team is not going to leave Sydney for its practice game in Canberra till this mess is resolved or till they pack up and go home.


  24. H L Cadambi (Cad)

    Hi JB,
    A couple of comments a propos your exchange with Mohan:

    1. You said “I look forward to your thoughts after the appeal. And if the decision is upheld, I look forward to your condemnation. ” Equally, I can hear many say “and, if on appeal the sentence on Harbhajan is cancelled, I look forward to you condemnation of Symonds and Ponting for bringing forth the charge”. Alas, I fear it is not so simple. The reality is that our (all parties, Aus / Indian / others) faith in ICC and their operations is a little too low to allow that. I mean, any judgement handed down with NO listing of the evidence and the reasoning behind that judgement will always be questioned by someone; indeed, in a court of law, the evidence is usually public, and the judge delivers a reasoned judgement. Unless the ICC follow that sort of procedure, I fear this matter will be endlessly, and uselessly, argued out.

    2. You have said: “NOT WALKING IS NOT CHEATING! ” Pl look at footages of Michael Slater in 2001 in India (1st test, Mumbai, India’s 2nd innings), after he claimed a catch off Rahul Dravid – who stood and waited for the umpire (the third umpire gave him not out, incidentally) – Slater ran to Dravid brandishing his finger and mouthing off, and stuck his nose in Dravid’s face . Dravid said nothing.

    Fact is that there was little condemnation of Slater in the Aussie press other than Ian Chappell (the Indian press, not surprisingly, nailed him!!). One Aussie writer (forget who) went to great lengths to explain that Slater was going thr a difficult time with his marriage, and hence should be sympathised with and forgiven.

    Given this as just one example of how people (does not matter from which team or country) react to such situations, when you say: “I do wonder however if it was an Australian accused of such abuse to one of your players, whether you would take such a relaxed attitude” – you really are hoping for too much!!


  25. Mohan,
    I think that Proctor also had a way out. He could have taken a neutral stand and as I pointed out followed the simple adage that accusors themselves cannot be witnesses. He would then neither be saying that the aussies are liars or the Indians are liars. everyday in courts all over the world more serious matters than a mere cricket spat are let off due to lack of evidence.

    Again I support your view that a heart to heart talk by Ponting with Kumble would have resolved the issue. Kumble is mature enough to do that even after the raw deal he received from the agreement on catches.

    Regarding the stand taken by the Indian players, I feel that it is time they stood up for what the think is right. As you mentioned the aussies can go on saying anything the want and then make others beleive that it is the aussie way and hence should be tolerated. I just now read an article by Steve Waugh that it is how games are played by kids on australian backyards. That doesn’t mean that is how it is played in Indian or any other countries backyards and it doesn’t give aussies the right to do it in an international match against another country because it might be objectionable for them. If aussies can call others whatever they please and insult their families in the name of it being done in their backyards then the others have the right to say whatever the think is appropriate in response. It seems symonds had told that the word was demeaning for him. How does he know what he calls others is not demeaning for them. Maybe the two teams should exchange a list of words which they think is inappropriate before the match and then have microphones attached all over the ground to police their words. Software companies can make a profit by designing software which picks out these words and identifies the culprit from his voice.(another technology row spanner into the works)

    I think the Indian team should stand up, say enough is enough, either everyone keeps mum or everyone speaks as the please in no holds barred verbal exchange.

  26. Hi H L Cadambi (Cad),

    1) That’s actually a fair point. If it wasn’t said and Symonds made it up, then absolutely condem him. But if Harbhajan gets off the charge on too little evidence, then there cannot be enough evidence to say that Symonds made it up either. I don’t think he would have, which is why I have a problem with Harbhajan.

    2) Slater was in the wrong in that circumstance. The batsman can hold his ground and should not have been abused.

    Agree wtih your final point. I am no differen’t. I just wish we could focus on the cricket. The Aussies are not cheats and to label them as such is insulting.

  27. H L Cadambi (Cad)

    Hi JB
    Sorry, but I think you are being less than fair!! And, perhaps less perceptive than you may have been in less contentious circumstances!!!

    1. “I don’t think he (Symonds) would have (made it up) – come on, how are you so sure? I think it is EXACTLY as likely or unlikely as Harbhajan making it up!!

    2. You have NOT got my point. Slater was wrong, fine. What about Steve Waugh? And, Ponting and Hayden, who were part of the team then on the field – and, who are now part of all this contoversy? How credible are any of their views? I know you should stick by your team mates – but, right should always be right, wrong always wrong ; not a matter of choice or circumstance. It is this contradiction that irks Indians (and I may add some Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and Englishmen that I have discussed the broad issue with).

    3. I would like a very clear definition of cheating, from you, before I can comment poperly on your last line. But, in my mind – the Aussies do cheat. So do others. Hardly matters who does it more often. The Aussies are happy to cast some doubt on others. But they are horrified when anyone doubts them.

    Far more importnatly, and clearly – the Aussies have insulted others (notably, Sri Lankans, Englad, Indians) far far more often than any one has insulted the Aussies.

    Sad. I grew up loving Aussie cricket from the 1950’s. I think they are terrific cricketers and great blokes (ooops, I have no idea of the etymology of the last word, I hope its not out of line!!!). But, from Steve Waugh’s time as captain, I cannot say I have retained my admiration for the blokes; I certainly have retained my admiration for their cricket!!


  28. If Slater was wrong then why was no action taken against him. If I remember correctly there was no official warning even though it was on tape. If the ICC wants to be fair he should have been punished adequately for ‘bringing the game into disrepute ‘or whatever other myriad clauses there are. The ICC is pretty inconsistent in handling issues of this sort. As i mentioned earlier, only quick decisive action at even the slightest provocation , whoever it may be ,will keep things in order. No excuses like troubled marriage, spouse not well etc should be tolerated. We have been hearing too much of the not robots but humans and some leeway etc arguments. I say none of this. crack down fast and hard at the slightest hint of dissent. anything else is open to interpretation and that is asking for trouble.

    Again it is my opinion that there is no clear cut demarcation on what is demeaning and what is not as it differs from person to person, country to country, culture to culture. Either anything goes or nothing goes. That is the only solution.

  29. “I don’t think he would have, which is why I have a problem with Harbhajan.”

    that just says about the aussie attitude

  30. H L Cadambi (Cad) ,

    1) He either said it or not. Someone is not being truthful. If it’s Symonds, throw the book at him. It’s along the lines of a woman saying she was raped when she wasn’t – racism is that serious. But if there are no witnesses and it did happen, should the rapist get away with it?
    2) What about the others in the team? What do you want them to do? What you are suggesting is that the rest of the team is guilty by association. Is that your point? And in response to Matthew, Slater probably should have been fined. And I agree with your points. Personally I think sledging is an important part of the game, in particular in test cricket, but perhaps we can only do it with the English who have a good sense of humor.

    3) Not walking is not cheating. Claiming a catch that you didn’t take is cheating. Happy to go into more specifics, but this is a good start. Now perhaps is this just an Aussie view, but it has always worked for us.

  31. Hi JB,

    Again I say no case has ever been resolved by the accusors becoming witnesses. For anyone to be convicted there should be ample proof other than the word of the accusors. The accusors may be truthful or they may be lying. Without other evidence how can you prove that. as an aussie you say symonds will never lie, as an indian i will say harbhajan will never lie. then it will be my word against yours. the only thing that matters in a dispute is hard evidence. nothing else. again i say so many cases all over the world were and are being closed without justice being done for lack of evidence. here there is no concluding evidence either in symonds favour or harbhajans favour.

    if you dont walk when you are out, you are taking advantage of the umpire’s inability to make a correct decision. this is an injustice to the fielding side. if fielder claims a catch that he has not taken, then he also is just trying to take advantage of the umpire’s inability to make a correct decision and this is an injustice to the batsman. i fail to see how the two differ. mind you i am not saying that these are morally wrong etc and blah and all that. i am just saying that a viewpoint should be consistent. as the old adage goes ‘what is good for the goose should be good for the gander’

  32. 2-0

    see a trend here?!?! your a pack of losers, on and off the field.

    get with the program. cricket is a professional sport played by professionals. name any sport that has maintained any level of integrity having gone professional?!?! they are now talking about random drug tests on the PGA due to recent articles by some thay they are aware of other players indulging in drug use/abuse.

    rugby players are nailing the crap out of eachother, getting bigger and stronger through drug use. world athletics is beyond a joke. the olympics is the world of sports version of a 4 year travelling circus.

    cricket is no longer a gentlemen’s game, those who want to carry on as though it is need to find another extra curricular outlet…fishing maybe?!

    your comments are boring, pathetic and outdated.

    racism is a blight on society, let’s deal with the real issues here.

    ‘monkey’ and the ‘monkey sign’ aren’t seen as racist in India…PATHETIC!!! you are kidding yourself…

  33. @bill – Australia won, but cricket lost! If you are a cricket fan, then that makes you a loser as well…

    I don’t quite get the point you are trying to make – Because cricket is a professional game, there shouldn’t be any integrity in it?

    hmmm….Are you implying that the teams, including (or maybe just) Australia do not have any integrity as a result?

    Aah – Now I get it. Great points, mate…Well made.

  34. One thing I don’t understand is why one hand I hear people saying ‘monkey’ and the ‘monkey sign’ are not racist in India, then on the other hand we see things like this video on the Indian blogs today – http://kpowerinfinity.wordpress.com/2008/01/06/andrew-symonds-against-indian-cricket-team/


  35. H L Cadambi (Cad)

    Hi JB,
    Point 2 in your last response to me – Iam suggesting that their integrity is questionable; ie why did they not even take Slater aside and ask him to cool it.

    Meanwhile please read this in relation to YOUR statement that “claiming a ctach that you didn’t take is cheating:

    (http://www.lords.org/laws-and-spirit/laws-of-cricket/laws/law-32-caught,58,AR.html). It has the following two points that might interest you. 1)The act of making the catch shall start from the time when a fielder first handles the ball and shall end when a fielder obtains complete control both over the ball and over his own movement. 2) The striker is out Caught if a ball delivered by the bowler, …. is subsequently held by a fielder as a fair catch before it touches the ground.

    Having read that, please see this picture:


    Notice that:
    1. The ball is touching the ground
    2. Ponting does not yet have “complete control over his own movement”
    3. His eyes are on the ball

    Only one of two conclusions is possible:

    1. Ponting was cheating, as per YOUR definition of cheating, when he claimed that catch. (Does not matter that it did not hit the bat!)
    2. The captain of Australia does not know the rule relating to what constitutes a fair catch.

    Which one do you think is more likely?


  36. H L Cadambi (Cad)

    Further to my last mail, here is an excerpt from Wisden Cricinfo Sep 2003:

    Rashid Latif, Pakistan’s captain, has been banned for five one-day internationals after being found guilty of violating the International Cricket Council’s Code of Conduct during the third Test against Bangladesh at Multan.
    This means that Latif will miss the entire one-day series against Bangladesh. Inzamam-ul-Haq has been named captain in Latif’s enforced absence. Kamran Akmal will keep wicket.
    Mike Procter, the match referee, upheld a complaint made by the Bangladesh team. Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Procter said “”I have listened to both parties at length and feel there is good evidence against Latif.”

    Pl note:
    1. Captain of Pakistan was banned ie confirmed a cheat by your definition
    2. This was by the same match referee, Procter!

    Should India complain, in your opinion?


  37. I think I got it worked out. Indians are passionate about their cricket, that’s good. We Aussies also love all of our sport. Neither of us are content to lose.

    In the old days racism was ripe in all sports, particularly professional ones. This is rapidly changing as it must. Now I believe nobody should have to be subjected to racial taunts anywhere. The treatment of Andrew Symonds is inexcusable and unacceptable. Those in the crowd and on the field who called him a monkey should be man enough to face him off the field and do it. I get the feeling he would tear your limbs from your body. Do you think they will go to the West Indies or South Africa and do it to the coloured players there? Clearly not, they would not leave the ground alive.

    My suggestion to the precious Indian cricketers who believe that you are hard done by is to concentrate on your game and how you are performing. The only way to beat the best in the world is to play better, harder and stronger than them. The reason the Aussies are at the top of their game for so long is because they are exactly that……..better, tougher and stronger than any of their competition. No-one will ever respect the Indians if they keep whinging about umpires and being treated unfairly. You are down 2-0, time to stop carrying on like little school girls and toughen up and start playing cricket like men.

  38. Cad is spot on….

    As Prem Panicker rightly puts, Ponting should be suspended since Latif was suspended for claiming a grounded catch by the same Mike Procter.


  39. H L Cadambi (Cad)

    (This mail did not go thru for quite a while because of a link to a picture being included; resending it now without that link – it still makes the point adequately!)

    Hi JB,
    Point 2 in your last response to me – Iam suggesting that their integrity is questionable; ie why did they not even take Slater aside and ask him to cool it.

    Meanwhile please read this in relation to YOUR statement that “claiming a ctach that you didn’t take is cheating:

    (http://www.lords.org/laws-and-spirit/laws-of-cricket/laws/law-32-caught,58,AR.html). It has the following two points that might interest you. 1)The act of making the catch shall start from the time when a fielder first handles the ball and shall end when a fielder obtains complete control both over the ball and over his own movement. 2) The striker is out Caught if a ball delivered by the bowler, …. is subsequently held by a fielder as a fair catch before it touches the ground.

    Having read that, please see this picture:

    (sorry no link)

    Notice that:
    1. The ball is touching the ground
    2. Ponting does not yet have “complete control over his own movement”
    3. His eyes are on the ball

    Only one of two conclusions is possible:

    1. Ponting was cheating, as per YOUR definition of cheating, when he claimed that catch. (Does not matter that it did not hit the bat!)
    2. The captain of Australia does not know the rule relating to what constitutes a fair catch.

    Which one do you think is more likely?


  40. Pingback: Deadlocked Australia v India (2007-2008) :: Where does it all go now? « i3j3Cricket :: A blog for fans of Indian cricket…

  41. What a comedy! The team checking out of the hotel, luggage loaded onto the coach and then they sit there for 2 hours waiting for a decision from home. Absolutely laughable!

    Suspending the tour? We all know what this means. Unless Harbajahn’s suspension is overturned and all charges dropped India plan to take their bat,ball and players home.

    So now we can expect India to argue the umpire’s decision on AND off the field – and not for the first time either.

    Well off you go now. Go back home where you can all feel sorry for yourselves and your adoring fans can start re-building the images of a great team (in mind only not deeds) & wallow in self pity but never really doing anything to address the issue at hand – the ability to win cricket matches. Accept that umpires are human beings and are fallible and mistakes will be made and that such decisions in this game eventually even out. Until neutral umpires were in place it was almost unheard of for a touring country to win anything in India – work that out.

    Let’s get rid of Bucknor. According to comments I have read on this site he has ‘hate’ in his face for the Indians. Does he have ‘it in’ for India? Please – if you believe that rubbish then you guy’s really do have problems that need urgent addressing. And what happens when the next umpire makes a mistake that goes against India? Let’s get rid of him too and keep doing this until India receives in their favour 100% of contentious decisions and hopefully, a victory.

    God forbid if a player makes a mistake, misses the ball and his stumps are knocked down or even walks to the crease with the wrong batting gloves. Heaven forbid!

    Should India decide to take flight instead of fight then I would suggest that Australia cancels all future tours and they should also make sure that any player contracted to C.A. are not permitted to take part in the planned mickey mouse 20/20 premier league competition.

    Speaking of fight – I pray for the day when Indian cricket can display as much fight ON the field as they do OFF the field.

    That is the problem. The men who take the field for India cannot do it by themselves. The captain cannot make a decision on the field unless a committee of former captains (and aren’t their plenty to choose from!) spend forever deciding what course of action to take.

    Symonds and Singh have an exchange on the field. Ponting – as the captains have been told to do – brings this to the attention of the umpires on the field of play.

    Hogg and Kumble have an exchange on the field and we know nothing about it until after the match. Nothing happened until after the Indian management brings it up. Come on Kumble, you were ON the field – do you walk up to the umpire and state your case or do you wait until you reach the dressing sheds and then receive intruction from back home on what to do?

    Did Singh say what he said to Symonds? Proctor believes that he did. This has outraged Indian sensibilities for taking the word of the Australians over the word of the Indians. Now the BCCI wants absolute, 100% proof or they will walk. I don’t think it can be proved 100%.

    However, when Symonds was subjected to monkey taunts by the Indian crowd on the last tour this was rejected out-of-hand by the authorities. It did not happen they said. The person responsible for anti racial vilification does not even believe that he has a real job to do. It does not happen – let us not even speak about this again – he said. Then faced with overwhelming evidence that the Australians claims of racial abuse were correct well…. if they did not believe this then Mike Proctor has absolutely no chance of making his charges stick – even if he had the proof the Indians would then claim it was a term of endearment, it was a joke that has been taken the wrong way, Symonds is too sensitive, Harbajahn likes Andrew blah, blah, blah.

    I truly hope that India continues their tour of Australia. Their team is a talented one and they are capable of giving Australia a good contest.

    All forms of sledging should be banned immediately. No player from opposing teams should speak with the opposition – captains excluded. Umpires should make ALL decisions on whether a player is out or not – that is their job and it is not for the captains to decide on this. Caught, bowled, LBW – whatever, players should leave when the umpipre raises his finger.

  42. The Australian players are not gentlemen. But should they be? They play to win.
    In Australia, cricket is played by all, especially the working class. It is not a sport for gentlemen. This is the 21st century, not the 19th. Get used to it.

  43. H L Cadambi (Cad)

    Hmmm… matter for thought. Not a single response to my two mails, suggesting that Ricky Ponting is either a cheat or unaware of the rules, and that Procter takes different decisions depending on whether the offending team is asian or not. Open and shut case? Embarassed silence? Refusal to accept hitherto unacceptable truths? Or, avoiding possibility of offending me with yr comments? The last is almost impossible – so if yr reason is not from the first three, go ahead!!

    Meanwhile, Stephen: agreed the Australian cricketers are NOT gentlemen. BUT – rest assured some of the finest gentlemen I have met in 56 years in this planet are from the “working class” – Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Englishmen. Australians, …..incidentally, you are dangerously close to being offensive ( if not “racist” in implying that “working class” is somehow incompatible with being a “gentleman”.


  44. As an aussie fan I must say that the behaviour of our team in the last week has reached a new nadir. There is no pleasure to be gained from a victory that is achieved at the expence od the very principles that draw people to crcket as opposed to ther sports. I have long been an admirer of Ponting as a batsman but I must agree with Peter Roebuck that ponting has embarrassed all australians with this appalling conduct and is no long fit to wear the baggy green, let alone captain the side. Apologies to indian cricket fans for our teams boorish behaviour

  45. Ajay Gandhi, Just a few corrections for you, Tong Grieg is not an Australian, he played for England with south african origins. In this GAME of cricket the winning team was Australia and the losers were India, and incredibly sore ones at that. Taking the umpires decision is what is required in this GAME of cricket, and that is what both sides followed and they can’t do more than that. Instead of looking for external excuses, the indian team need to look at the level and quality of their cricket in general. The quality of the fielding is well below par and lacking in skill and commitment. Composure in tough situations needs to be developed and nurtured. Unfortunately this may prove extremely difficult, as indians have great problems in seeing cricket as just a game, relax and enjoy your cricket, and real victories over Australia may follow. Your country, afterall has over a billion people and cricket is not a sport but a religion, we have just 19 million people, and cricket is just one of our major sports. Reduce the pressure on your cricketers and they may be able to play with enough skill that really is required to beat the MULTIPLE WORLD CHAMPIONS.

  46. The BCCI is the major political power in cricket, with the vast majority of income it can dictate terms of the game, witness lower slower Australian pitches, India with its enormous population and treatment of Cricket as a semi religion (burning effigies of umpires??) and the umpires give Australia the benefit of the doubt and Australia are bullies???? Am I missing something here, it is kind of a like a heavyweight boxer getting beat up by a girl scout!! As has been mentioned, sledging is a part of the Australian Vernacular, however if it is that offensive to our Indian friends I am sure it would be easy to regulate no pitch conversations except between captains. However if you really believe that, in a game where 2 members from one team are surrounded by 11 members from another, sledging is a modern, Australian invention, you may need to rethink….
    Finally as Stephen H pointed out cricket is a proffessional sport in the 21st century players are payed vast sums of Money to play and win- NOT to be cultural attaches, posts stating would Roger Federer or Tiger Woods cheat, are moot Tennis became the most regulated and electronically policed game there is, this suggests that cheating was occuring?? And please given the crowds following a golfer around, how would one cheat if one wanted to??

    For better or worse cricket remains a game of judgement calls, and until that changes the line between cheating or mistake, error in judgement will remain

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