In a perfect World!


In Mohan’s earlier post, ‘Deadlocked Australia v India (2007-2008): Where does it all go now?’ he mentioned that all parties in this drama need to take up the responsibility. While I totally agree, the one single event that has caused this affair to reach boiling point is obviously Mike Proctor’s mind boggling decision on Harbhanjan Singh. What was he thinking? Did he expect to be applauded for handling the situation in a fair and professional manner. What a joke.

The Indians felt that the Harbhajan incident was adding insult to injury and quite rightly so. There wouldn’t have been such a stand-off but for Proctor’s decision. For all we know, the Indians may have actually agreed to play the Perth test ‘under protest’ for allowing Steve Bucknor to officiate and carried on.

The law is simple, innocent until proven guilty. Here, there was no proof. Nothing heard on the microphone or camera, just one’s word against the other. Which begs the question What are the criteria for the ICC to choose match referees? What qualifications are required? Surely, they need not be trained lawyers but should at least know when a situation is out of their league and need to be referred to a bigger panel or commission. I honestly think the ICC should take up a big chunk of the blame for the following:

Allowing a 61 year old to stand up to one of the most demanding jobs in a cricket field –

In an ideal world a much younger and fitter umpire like a Simon Taufel or an Aleem Dar could have ensured that the Indians didn’t get a raw deal and hence no umpiring controversy would have marred this otherwise high quality Test.

Not adequately training match referees to handle sensitive cases –
Again, in a ideal world, Proctor would have had the training and perhaps more commonsense to say that he did not have enough evidence to make a decision, but the allegation was serious enough to be handled by a qualified professional panel.

But then in a ideal world (atleast for Indian fans), India would have won the Sydney Test after taking a first innings lead of 300 runs!

On that note, here is a well written article that appeared on The Hindu

Vish

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17 responses to “In a perfect World!

  1. Two things that have not been mentioned:

    An Indian player standing on the ball with spikes (not sure if it was first or second test) but cameras caught it.

    Last Indian batsman on day 5 walks to wicket with 5 mins to play. Gets to the middle and calls for another pair of gloves (without facing a ball) – to ensure no additional overs were bowled.

    Spirit of the game?

    Harbhanjan celebrations after dismissing Ponting included two sommersaults. Boorish? (Personally I have know problem with celebrating like that, but imagine if that was an Aussie. Recall the pasting Warnie used to get for excessive celebrating.

  2. Where is the sportsmanship in burning effigies of players and umpires? This must be one of the most disrespectful and disturbing aspects of cricket in India.

    Do you think that puts pressure on umpires when they tour India? Is this likely to be a greater intimidation that a glare from Ricky Ponting?

  3. This may well prove a watershed event in ensuring that match referees have some legal/ dispute resolution training instead of being the sinecure for superannuated cricketers it has become.

    If you look at all the crises of the recent past, the match referees have all found to be inadequate.

    Case in points being Mike Denness in the Viru test in SAF, Jeremy Coney at the World Cup Final and…drum roll…Mike Proctor at the Inzy/Darrell Hair Oval test.

    One reason, IMHO, that Ranjan Madugalle is as successful is that he had a strong Management role in Business that has doubtless equipped him to sift fact from emotion and bias.

  4. Oops..before Mohan jumps on me for grammatical errors..

    it should read

    ..BECOMING the sinecure for..

    CaseS in point..

  5. If Indians don’t like the way Aussies play cricket, stop employing former Aussie players as coaches.

  6. That reminds me: Geoff Lawson, ex Australian fast bowler, current coach of Pakistan replacing (deceased) Bob Woolmer …. is he a ‘temporary’ Australian?

    I’m looking forward to the next India v Pakistan series. I bet that’ll be played “in the spirit of the game”!

  7. Seriously folks lets not get all upset about H.Singh’s suspension because it will be overthrown. I actually believe that it should be as heresay is not evidence therefore at worst a suspended sentence handed down to satisfy both parties. My issue with this is the reason it will happen, as with Buckner being pulled from umpiring the Perth test, has nothing to do with anything but appeasing the BCCI.

  8. Stephen,
    The unsportsman like conduct was about the three catches claimed by aussies in the second innings, one by Gilchrist of Dravid, one by ponting of Dhoni and one by clarke of Ganguly. Similarly it was ironical that Symonds and Ponting nicked catches to the keeper and stood their ground and Symonds boasted in the press conference regarding the same. The tag of unsportsman like conduct was not about their celebration. It was about their ad-nauseam repetition that they play hard and fair. The opponents reminded them of some of their unfairness in a very poingnant way, thats all. Every team usually is expected to celebrate and then acknowledge their opponents, but if they choose not to, I dont have a problem with that.
    I fully agree with Vish. The crux of all the animosity is actually Mike Proctor and his unilateral action against Harbhajan. If he had conducted himself in a fair manner, we would all be on the edges of our seats right now anticipating another thriller encounter at Perth instead of epinioning day and night.

  9. Oh yes, Harbhajan is a saint and he never swears or shows bad sportsmanship, as this article proves, beyond doubt:

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23027330-5001505,00.html

  10. Hmm, it seems the Aussies have found this website en masse.

    If I may, I think both sides have a fair bit to be sorry for from the game. But I really don’t like the word ‘cheat’ being applied to any of the 22 players, 2 umpires (well three really) and the match referee. It is not accurate and reflects poorly on the game.

    I think there was some poor behaviour (the Aussie’s not shaking hands with the Indians for a long time after the game, a number of the Indians not shaking Symonds hand after his century, H. Singh’s celebration, Clarke not walking etc, whatever was said in the middle of the pitch), and some contentious ones (Clarke’s catch, Ponting’s catch, Tendulkar’s LBW) – and by contentious, I emphasise I mean that there is no definitive answer. I do not include Gilchrist’s claim of Dhoni as I believe he thought it out and was certainly entitled to appeal, and the correct decision came.

    There was also, without doubt, some poor umpiring (which, while definitely favouring Australia, definitely did run both ways).

    Neither side is perfect. And guess what – no international side is perfect. We can dredge up all manner of past grievances (dare I say it…underarm bowling or riots in India during the 1999 world cup) but they really don’t help. Test cricket is a cauldron. It brings out the best of people, and only vary rarely do we see the worst. I don’t believe we saw anywhere near the worst during the last test.

    We watched a magnificent match played between the top two teams in the world. A match featuring wonderful bowling, exceptional batting, brilliant fielding and some moments of wonderful sportsmanship. It was a perfect storm which has created this mess. There was bad umpiring, but there was also a media frenzy over the possibility of using technology to save every wrong in cricket. Well, quite simply it can’t. Snicko is slow. Low catches on film are never really conclusive. And tennis has shown that hawkeye has its problems.

    Both sides, I’m sure, harbour regrets from their actions. I’m sure the umpires feel bad about their games. I’m also sure Mike Proctor gave his decision strong consideration (I don’t think anyone in this forum actually knows what went down, but I really think it far fetched to suggest the racist tag was used to get Mr Singh out of the next few tests – he may have Mr Ponting’s wicket, but has been the lesser of two spinners in the team during the series).

    To summarise. Neither team is in the right, in my humble opinion. And neither bunch of supporters or the media (who insist on playing a cheer leader role) is going to change that perception. In fact, all they are doing is fanning some fairly hysterical (and at times outright obnoxious) behaviour.

    Although, I like to think this forum shall continue to rise above it.

    Warm regards to all.

    John

  11. From The Age:

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/cricket/dont-walk-this-way/2008/01/09/1199554719128.html

    Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh can certainly talk the talk.

    But it seems he might not be able to walk the walk, especially when he’s been clean bowled.

    As the Test series between India and Australia this week degenerated into a slanging match over racial comments and a perceived lack of sportsmanship, theage.com.au has uncovered footage that shows the embattled spinner Harbhajan isn’t exactly a pin-up boy for the gentleman’s game.

    Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds was harshly criticised by the touring Indians for failing to walk when, by his own admission, he nicked one behind in the second Test in Sydney, while Michael Clarke was also singled out for standing his ground after he edged a catch to slip.

    But this video shows Harbhajan taking the cake in a one-dayer against England last year, stubbornly refusing to budge after having his stumps rattled by Kevin Pietersen’s gentle tweakers.

    The move befuddles commentator Ian Botham and moves Pietersen to ask Singh: “Do you not walk when you’re bowled?”. Harbhajan fires back with, ahem, a startling phrase.

    The spinner, who is appealing a suspension for calling Andrew Symonds a “monkey”, eventually trudges off having made four as England celebrates the wicket.

  12. I have written a post on the sydney test..and some aussie bloggers tried to spam it ! Just wanted to share my post with you..it proves that the aussies are at it again..this time on the internet !

  13. The move befuddles commentator Ian Botham and moves Pietersen to ask Singh: “Do you not walk when you’re bowled?”. Harbhajan fires back with, ahem, a startling phrase.

  14. Both sides, I’m sure, harbour regrets from their actions. I’m sure the umpires feel bad about their games. I’m also sure Mike Proctor gave his decision strong consideration (I don’t think anyone in this forum actually knows what went down, but I really think it far fetched to suggest the racist tag was used to get Mr Singh out of the next few tests – he may have Mr Ponting’s wicket, but has been the lesser of two spinners in the team during the series).

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