Category Archives: ICC

The i3j3 Cricket Podcast — Episode-3 

The i3j3 Cricket Podcast (Episode 3), where Mahesh Krishnan Paddy Padmanabhan, Vish Krishnan and Mohan Krishnamoorthy ramble on about the India V Bangladesh Test match, Ashwin’s 250 wickets, BCCI v Supreme Court and other cricket stuff.

The third episode of our once a fortnight cricket ramble is here. Have a listen…

I3j3 Cricket Podcast Episode 3

Logo Credit: Sooraj Ramachandran

Australia to join Ranji Plate League

Australia will join Afghanistan and Uganda in the Ranji Plate League with immediate effect. In a dramatic turnaround of events after the pathetic loss (on all counts) to New Zealand, Australia in an effort to salvage any remaining pride will try and regain some form by playing against the minnows of the Indian league. Cricket Australia officials stated that they reached an understanding with the BCCI in this regard. CA expects Ponting to regain some behavioral form and the new players get accquainted to competition of an international sort. CA is also expecting that Brad Haddin start keeping behind the wickets as opposed to being in front of them. This agreement comes as a big relief to the Aussies as they try and maintain their official status as “champions once upon a time”. This also gives them an opportunity to witness in person the humanitarian efforts by multilateral agencies to increase public awareness of cricket in Afghanistan, Uganda, Vidharba, Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Services. Our best wishes to the Australian team and their newfound desire to qualify for the Ranji Super League.

– Srikanth

Please note that the above article is pure work of fiction and does not in any way reflect any form of reality…..I think……

I am back

I never actually left, but I haven’t blogged in i3j3 for a long time and thought I’d break the silence with a post today. So, what’s been happening in Indian cricket lately?

India won the ODI series in SL

After a horrid start to the series, India made a good comeback to beat SL in SL – a big achievement, really. They’ve never done this in the past and the credit should go solely to MS Dhoni. After the pathetic performance in the tests and the 1st ODI, I had (like many others) written this side off, and somehow they managed to pull through to win the series. Well done, guys.

The Champions Trophy got postponed

I am usually glued to the idiot box when the Champions Trophy is on, but that doesn’t mean I fully approve of this tournament. It is kind of like a World cup, but isn’t. It doesn’t have the importance or stature of the World Cup and International Cricket could well do without this tournament in its already packed schedule. ICC could get rid of tournaments like this and the Afro-Asia cup and nobody would miss them.

India not playing any tournaments during the Champions Trophy gap

What the …? This came as a surprise to me – I am really glad BCCI didn’t sign up for a quadrangular or triangular or some x-angular tournament to fill up the gap created by the postponement of the Champions Trophy. They apparently want to use the time to prepare for the upcoming Australian Test series. What the…?

Cramped Tour Itinerary for NZ tour announced

Yes. That sounds like the BCCI we have all come to know and love. For a very brief moment I thought BCCI was actually changing the way they think. Oh, well –  back to reality, now.

India are going to be playing 19 days of cricket in 33 days. The longest gap they get between any two matches will be 2 days. Yep, that’s right – 2 days. Unless, of course we finish the 5 day test matches in 3 days…Going by what happened in NZ in the previous series, we are sadly quite capable of doing that.

Indian selectors to be made paid positions

We have advocated this in this blog in the past, and I am very happy that the BCCI has decided the positions in the Selection committee are to be made paid positions. Ok, they are only recommendations made by the working committee at this stage, but I would expect this to be accepted soon. Now they will have more accountability and responsibility.

Next step – getting selectors from overseas. Oh wait, What am I am thinking? They first have to move away from the mentality of appointing one selector from each zone…

-Mahesh-

Sledging – bind or be blind?

The two greatest rationale and philosophy of our times, capitalism and democracy, are based on the idea that individuals, through their actions based on self-interest, will drive forces towards the most beneficial state for inviduals and/or society as a whole. In extending this thinking to the cricketing field and the current controversy over sledging, is it not best that the cricketers themselves decide what is acceptable and not acceptable to them, through their actions on the field, instead of expecting an external body such as ICC to define it for them? This thinking takes the exterme opposite view of what Harsha Bhogle tries to recommend in his article in The Times of India.

My sincere opinion is that cricketers should be allowed to use sledging, without any constraints, irrespective of how offensive it is. Most people take offense because they might feel ill-equipped in the approved forms of retaliation. In the newly recommended open environment, one can use whatever means one has, to retaliate. In a bizzare way, nothing will eventually be offensive to anyone, since its free for all. I look at it as a positive development in line with the ongoing changes that cricket has embraced in Twenty20, IPL and Technology.

Also, with every control that has been vested in the hands of the ICC, there have been perceptions of inconsistency and impotence felt by stakeholders of the game across the globe. In the interests of the game and a practical step forward, I feel its best that the players are let loose on each other in the center, so that the public is relieved of the after shocks. This brings to an abrupt end, months of debate and platitudes over whether someone or some society is racist or not, whether a certain person was as severely punished as another etc. I am positive that with each sledging act in the field, players will yell the choicest of abuses at each other without any interruptions from any players or officials, and when the energies are exhausted in that act, each will take their stance to bat or bowl or field the next ball and the game will move on.

– Bharath

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

Interesting interviews with Jim Maxwell and Harsha Bhogle

I came across a couple of interesting interviews with two respected cricket commentators who are currently part of the ABC Grandstand team – Jim Maxwell and Harsha Bhogle.

– Jim Maxwell : Video link and transcript

– Harsha Bhogle : Audio link

In addition, you can also listen to Cricinfo’s Siddartha Vaidyanathan’s views as well as Peter Lalor’s interview on ABC

Vish

Twenty20 World Championship 2009 Groupings!

It seems like only yesterday that the most recent edition of the Twenty20 World Championship was over. In a move that is set to raise Andrew Symonds’ ire and displeasure, the Indian victory celebrations have not yet fully concluded — the victorious Indian team was felicitated by the Indian President and Indian Prime Minister of India only a few days back! Luckily, given that BCCI officials were not present, the Indian team took centre-stage — rather than back-stage — in this felicitation ceremony!

However, in amongst all of this, the ICC has released its groupings for the 2009 Twenty20 World Championships already! The 2009 edition of the ICC Twenty20 cricket World Championships will be played in England! The early decision on the groupings was apparently requested by the hosts (ECB) who wanted to complete the venue-allocation process — through a bidding process — followed quickly by ticket sales!

Defending champions India will be placed in the easy group A along with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

This is really crazy in my view. To rank teams and place them in groups nearly two years prior to an ICC flagship event smells of opportunism and nothing else. A rankings-predictor based on the results of one tournament — the 2007 T20 World Cup — is just a nonsense. Who knows what will happen to the official rankings two years from now.

While India seem to have been placed in an “easy” group, we have ODI World Champions Australia in a group with Sri Lanka and West Indies. Try explaining that to the Sri Lankans!

For what it is worth, the groups are:

  • Group A: India, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe
  • Group B: Pakistan, England, Associate 1
  • Group C: Australia, Sri Lanka, West Indies
  • Group D: New Zealand, South Africa, Associate 2.

— Mohan

Racist taunts at Andrew Symonds: BCCI caught napping again!

Andrew Symonds was at the receiving end of more racist taunts last night in the day-night cricket game against India played at Mumbai.

A photographer captured some of this on camera and a picture is available here.

A day after he was made out as a modern-day equivalent of Hanuman, the Hindu monkey-God, the BCCI has no choice but to admit that they had a problem on their hands. The BCCI has buried its head in the sand and existed in denial for the whole of the last week — as they tend to do, quite expertly, on most issues — with excuses and banalities. Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secertary, went so far as to say, “What the media and Symonds shouldn’t forget is that the Australian crowds are far more dangerous and volatile than their Indian counterparts.

Even if this were true, what does this have to do with the price of fish in the land?

There is a principle at play here: Racisim in cricket in India is not on!

The Indian media has also indulged in counter-allegations on the racism-in-cricket problems that Australia itself faces. But this misses the point!

It may well be true that Australia faces a problem of rascism in its sport. The irony of the timing of the release of an independent report into rascism in Australian sport wasn’t lost on the Indian media. Pot, kettle and black were phrases that were thrown around quite liberally in the Indian media. But that misses the point totally!

The Indian media has also jumped up and down and pointed to the abuse that Muralidharan is subjected to when he visits Australia. It is interesting, however, to note that Peter Young, the Cricket Australia public affairs manager, calls the lack of respect that Muralitharan receives as nothing more than a “boisterous reception” which would be similar to what Chris Rogers (the WA opener) would receive in NSW if he gets Justin Langer’s opening spot ahead of Phil Jacques, the New South Welshman. I am amazed at this analogy and it just goes to show that the BCCI is perhaps not the only organisation that has pefected the head-buried-in-the-sand routine!

The Indian media has pointed out that Daren Lehmann called the Sri Lankan team a bunch of “black c****”.

But all of this misses the point in my view.

The abuse of Andrew Symonds was a disgrace and an embrassment to the country. Let us not forget that India takes immense pride in its diversity and its affirmative action. Whether true equality actually exists in Indian society is a different issue and is a socio-political debate for another time, place and blog! However, it is, at least theoretically a country where there is a seemingly peaceful co-existence of all sorts of people from diverse backgrounds, colours, religions and castes. What was required from the BCCI and the crowd control authorites was affirmative action. Instead of “waiting for a letter from the ICC” or “waiting for an official complaint from Cricket Australia” the BCCI ought to have denounced racisim forthright. By not doing so, they lost the high moral ground. No moral high-ground exists in this issue anyway and people clamouring to claim it have got it all wrong!

Racism is wrong and if not an apology, some action was warranted. Anything else, lacks grace or decency or morality. The BCCI has done a great disservice to Andrew Symonds and all cricketers, irrespective of their race, colour, religion or caste. Period.

Racism should not be tolerated. It needs to be stamped out. The BCCI should adopt — and be seen to adopt — a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to rascism.

This time, as with many others in the past, they have sadly missed the boat. The BCCI is now peddling fast to catch up. However, as a friend of mine always used to say, “there is no point in trying to board the train after it has left the platform“!

India may have a new problem on its hands that is surfacing. And the BCCI needs to do something about it — or, like Cricket Australia, be seen to be doing something out of it. This is an issue that requires a thorough investigation and a report from an independent International authority like the Human Rights Commission.

The Australian media has, in my view, got it wrong too.

Peter Lalor writes in The Australian with a liberal dose of cultural insensitivity — but then, that is his style!

It will not help if countries like Australia take an aggressive and holier-than-thou posture on this issue! Such an approach will not help either and that is what the Peter Lalors of the world will not understand.

An aggressive, holier-than-thou, finger-pointing approach (let us just call it a LALOR) was adopted in the umpire-bias issue where the root of the problem was actually one of quality and not (predominantly) one of bias! Moreover, at the time, there was as much a perception of bias in Australian umpires in the minds of non-Australian players (for example) as there was in umpires in countries like India and Pakistan in the minds of players from the rest of the world! Rather then be continually battered and bashed with a string of insensitive Lalorisms, Pakistan took a strong lead in that issue by appointing “neutral” umpires in a Test match when none was needed. Now, that has become the norm and every Test match is officiated by umpires from a panel. When cricket needed affirmative action on that issue, the ICC sat on its fingers and collected nothing more than ring-marks on their backsides! While there was an abundance of crude Lalorisms, Pakistan had adopted a proactive posture and fixed the problem! Affirmative action is needed; not Lalorisms.

Once again the Laloristic route was adopted in the match-fixing issue. Indeed, I remember the Australian media laughing away the whole issue as a problem that afflicted only the sub-continent. Once again, the initiative was taken by the police in India. The Lalorites were busy brushing stuff under the carpet from where the ghosts of past misdemeanors of the likes of Cronje, Mark Waugh and Shane Warne emerged. The Lalor-mode did not work then either.

I hope that everyone realises that cricket does not need to do a mere Lalor on racism.

For example, most reports in the Australian media have qualified that the photograph in yesterdays’ match was taken by “an Australian photographer“. The word “Austrlaian” does not add anything to the story. Indeed, if anything it could suggest “there is no way an Indian photographer would have taken such a photograph“. This denies that there is a global problem on hand that needs a global solution. Laloristic solutions are arrogantly myopic and just will not work!

At the same time, the BCCI should not stick its head in the sand and deny that there is a problem. It has to be eradicated through education programs, proper policing and affirmative action.

Players should also receive coaching on the cultural sensitivities that form part of the landscape when they are guests of a country. It is always touchy to ask if the victim contributed to the crime that was perpetrated. And yes, there was a crime of racism that was perpetrated by a few goons in the crowds at Vadodhara and Mumbai against Andrew Symonds. The victim should never be questioned and can never be blamed for crimes that were carried out against him/her. However, the question has to be asked if Symonds acted as a proper guest in a country that he was visiting? Personally, I don’t think so. And while that does not condone the crimes against him, it certainly points to the fact that players do need to receive proper counselling and education on the “dos and donts” that form an integral part of being a cultural ambassador/representative as well as a guest.

My feeling is that the BCCI needs to act and the time is now.

Indian Umpire in Elite Panel…

Suresh Shastri makes his debut as an umpire in ICC’s Elite Panel when he officiates in the first Test in Colombo between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on Monday25 June. This will be the first Indian umpire officiating as an ICC Elite Panel umpire after a gap of 50 Test! The lase Indian Test umpire before Shastri was K. Hariharan.

The 51-year old Suresh Shastri was a left-arm spinner for Rajasthan before turning to umpiring.

The ICC Elite Panel is now:


Matches | Name (country)
174 R. E. Koertzen (RSA)
163 S. A. Bucknor (WI)
141 D. J. Harper (Aus)
131 D. B. Hair (Eng)
116 S. J. A. Taufel (Aus)
114 B. F. Bowden (NZ)
88 A. Dar (Pak)
68 B. R. Doctrove (WI)
48 M. R. Benson (Eng)
45 A. Rauf (Pak)
0 S. Shastri (Ind)

— Mohan