Daily Archives: 29 February 2008

Public Enemies #1

In the comments section of an earlier post, I postulated a hypothesis around why players like Harbhajan Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Arjuna Ranatunga, et al, are hated in Australia.

What wrong did Sourav Ganguly do? He was in the face of the Australians constantly when he was Team India captain. He made Steve Waugh wait for the toss repeatedly! He slowly, but surely, “mentally disintegrated” the Australians! Ganguly merely won that round in the Mental Disintegration Battle (MDB) match. What was wrong with that? Yet, he was labelled Public Enemy #1 in Australia!

What did Arjuna Ranatunga do? He was constantly in the face of the Australians. He was one of the first players in the world to say he wasn’t frightened of Shane Warne’s bowling! He constantly stretched the envelope and became a most hated player in the Australian team! Surely, all he did was to win several rounds of MDB! Nothing more. Nothing less.

What is Harbhajan Singh doing now? He is constantly under the skin of the Australians! He has stretched Matthew Hayden to the extent that the Australian opener loses the plot totally, goes to air in a radio show and jumps arms and legs flailing into the gutter. Is it not a mere instantiation of a round to Harbhajan Singh in the MDB stakes? Surely, this is allowed in the rules of MDB, a game invented by the Australians! Except that this game is now also being played on the other side of the “white line”.

What did Sree Santh do? He mouthed off at Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden after securing their wickets. Surely, these are accepted! After all, if Matthew Hayden can stand in the slips cordon applauding Brad Williams giving a send-off to Sourav Ganguly, all bets are off!

I see that Robert Craddock has already written about this issue. He has added to the list Douglas Jardine, John Snow and Richard Hadlee.

So, the question then is: Why is it that Australia’s “most hated players” are Douglas Jardine, John Snow, Richard Hadlee, Arjuna Ranatunga, Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh, and Sree Santh?

My hypothesis is that all of them employed an in-your-face approach to get under the skin of the Australians. They are as good at MDB as any Australian is. They play the game as hard and competitively as any Aussie that entered the field. Why is it that the Australians find it hard to digest?

Why is Sree Santh labelled (by Andrew Symonds no less) as “Public Enemy #1”? Interestingly, in this article, supposedly written while Symonds was perched on a tall pedestal at about 35,000 ft above sea-level, Symonds says: “It is fair to say there is not a lot of love between us and (Shanthakumaran) Sreesanth. His carry-on in this series has been way over the top. We don’t mind blokes having a go and standing up for themselves, but he has gone above and beyond what’s acceptable.”

Acceptable, to whom?

Why is it hard for Australians to stomach that there are a bunch of players who will stare the Australians in the face and give it back? My hypothesis is that if guys like Sree Santh, Harbhajan Singh, Sourav Ganguly and Ranatunga played for Australia, Australians would be celebrating them!

Hayden asks a wet-behind-the-ears Ishant Sharma to concentrate on his cricket and welcomes him to a boxing ring for a bout. Yet when Brad Williams indulged in a series of foul-mouthed send-offs, Hayden stood at first slip and celebrated. The whole of Australia celebrated. It is time to accept that there are other players in the world watching and aping (sorry for the marginal Darwininan pun to a taboo word in cricket circles) the Australians too! Time to be more accepting I think.

Time for a debate at least!

IPL update: The BCCI is serious about this?

A quick update on a few things that have been happening on the IPL front. I will update the “Who’s Who in the IPL Zoo” and post a 3rd update on that shortly.

In a completely bizarre move, the BCCI has said that it sees the IPL coaching offers of Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh as a conflict of interest with their national team roles. Venkatesh Prasad is set to be associated with the Bangalore franchise and Robin Singh is associated with the Hyderabad franchise. The BCCI official is reported to have said, “There might be a conflict of interest later on and we want our coaches to be wholly dedicated to the national side.” You could replace the word “coaches” in the above sentence with any of the pillars of cricket in India and it would be equally applicable, would it not?

This is surely nothing short of a stunning comment from the BCCI! Using that yardstick, the following people/organisations are also, in that case, likely to be in conflict with their national team roles: BCCI, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, M. S. Dhoni, Sourav Ganguly, V. V. S. Laxman, Anil Kumble… you get the drift, don’t you! Going by that simplistic in-conflict rule perhaps the only person-in-cricket in India that is perhaps not-in-conflict is Gary Kirsten, Team India coach — Kirsten does not have any IPL role… yet!

The BCCI spokesperson goes on to say (clearly a case of foot-in-mouth disease here), “We need to consider future possibilities. What if Hyderabad want Robin Singh when India are playing a series? It’s ok if coaches have a consulting role in the IPL but to be full-time with a team may be a problem. We need to discuss. Nothing is finalised yet.

Good point 99! But then, if Team India are playing a series and Hyderabad wants the services of Robin Singh, then Team India will have to play the games that the BCCI has scheduled for it without the services of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, R. P. Singh, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumable, V. V. S. Laaxman, et al, who will be busy playing IPL games that the BCCI has scheduled! Surely this is a left-hand-right-hand problem? It may be hard for the BCCI left hand to know what its right hand is doing. But surely, the time to start fixing this lack of ambidexterity is now!

All IPL teams have been asked to have their agents stop approaching India U19 players currently on national duty in Malaysia. The BCCI has said that each franchise would have their say in picking U19 players from their own catchment area before the players are available for “poaching” by other franchises.

The Delhi Daredevils team has secured the services of Mithun Manhas, Shikar Dhawan and Rajat Bhatia and signed them up.

The Bangalore Royal Challengers is close to signing up Martin Crowe as Coach. Local bangalorean, Venkatesh Prasad, current Team India Bowling Coach is also set to be associated with the Bangalore team.

The Bangalore Royal Challengers has also signed up Praveen Kumar, hero of India’s last CB Series win against Sri Lanka. Now, given that Praveen Kumar is not in Bangalore’s Catchment Area, would Praveen Kumar not have to go through the “auction process”? I am a bit unclear on this one.

The Hyderabad team (that Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist have signed up for) are close to signing up Robin Singh, Team India Fielding Coach, as their Coach. Former Hyderabad off-spinner and domestic veteran Kanwaljit Singh will assist Robin Singh, perhaps as Bowling Coach!

Current Team India Manager/Coach, Lalchand Rajput, is the hot contender to take over as the Mumbai Team coach.

Shane Warne is set to captain and coach the Jaipur team.

— Mohan

Just shuddap and play

Is it just me or are others getting tired of the sledge-fest that is happening between India and Australia, too?

I have reached a point where I don’t care if  Harbhajan really called Symonds a monkey. Nor do I care if Symonds (who earlier said that a cricket field is no place to be friendly) gave Ishant a friendly compliment on his bowling when he got out. I am really tired of the Australian players’ comments about Indian players and I am also tired of the Indian players’ poor attempt at trying to out-sledge the Aussies.

Just get on with the game, will ya? And I mean both teams…

All this is just proving too much of a distraction – not just for the players – but to us Cricket fans too.What would you rather read about in the press – Gilchrist’s final innings in International Cricket or Gilchrist defending Hayden for his stupid comments? Would you rather watch a young Ishant Sharma troubling Ponting and Ponting picking up the challenge or watch Ishant Sharma giving Symonds a send off by pointing the way to the pavillion?

Well, frankly I’ve had enough.  There are just 2-3 games remaining in the tournament and I know it must be hard for players who earn millions to shut their mouth and just play cricket – but can you guys please do just that?

Thank you!