Tag Archives: Proctor

Adelaide Test match evenly poised at the end of Day-2

Andrew Symonds, quite possibly the protector of Australian player body-parts, appeared to either be asleep at the wheel or far away from the action. Either that or he must have thought that Stuart Clark’s chest wasn’t as valuable as Brett Lee’s bottom! Lucky, for otherwise, we may have had a repeat of the Sydney explosion that rocked the cricketing world!

If Mike Proctor’s judgement withstands legal scrutiny, then human beings are bananas! (to borrow a most famous quote by Ian Hislop, then Editor of Private Eye)

Read on…

First two days of the Adelaide Test match

At the end of day-2 of the final Test match of this pulsating Australia v India Test series, the game is evenly and interestingly poised.

In Perth, Anil Kumble withdrew the Brad Hogg allegation/complaint a day prior to the game and claimed moral high-ground where there appeared to be none for either team! He started well there and continued to do well by winning the toss and batting! India started the Perth game better than Australia even before a ball had been bowled!

So too in Adelaide. India started the game with a bold statement of intent! Harbhajan Singh, the off spinner, had been included at the expense of Wasim Jaffer, the opening batsman. India declared that they were going to press for a victory.

Day-1

Irfan Pathan opened with Virender Sehwag. India began well, but lost two wickets in each of the opening two sessions of the Test match to be pegged back. Partnerships were hard to come by.

At Lunch India was 89-2 off 26.0 overs with Virender Sehwag on 56 and Sachin Tendulkar yet to score! Again, a session which would have been India’s had been ruined minutes prior to the close of session — for the umpteenth time in this series — by Rahul Dravid, who poked at a Mitchell Johnson angling delivery to be caught at slips by Ricky Ponting.

That gave an even Session By Session (SBS) Score of Australia, 0.5 :: India, 0.5

The second session saw Virender Sehwag depart reasonably early to a waft outside off stump. But he had done the hard work and justified his inclusion as opener. He started briskly and then played sensibly. Just when he was looking set though, he departed into an unusual shell and that, perhaps, was his downfall.

Sourav Ganguly can perhaps count himself unlucky as it appeared that the Brad Hogg ball that got him out LBW should not have been given. But then Asad Rauf has been consistent in giving these line-ball decisions in favour of the bowlers! Moreover, that ugly sweep was misplaced for that straight ball and perhaps Ganguly deserved to go!

India went to Tea on 187-4 off 53 overs. The scoring had been brisk but then India lost two more wickets! Sachin Tendulkar was batting beautifully on 50 off 77 balls. However, with one less batsman in the make up, things were starting to look a bit ominous for India. Partnerships were hard to come by too. Just when the batsmen were appearing to get on top, Australia pegged India back with a timely wicket. Brett Lee, in particular, was bowling sensationally on a track that offered little help.

My SBS Score reads Australia, 1.0 :: India, 1.0

And finally, India did get a century partnership in the post-Tea session. Sachin Tendulkar and V. V. S. Laxman had put on a 100 runs in 159 balls. Soon after, Tendulkar reached his own century off just 133 balls (9 fours and 3 sixes)! Laxman celebrated his half-century soon after. And just when things were starting to look good for India, Brett Lee produced a brute of a delivery that rose to Laxman’s face. The resulting “fend off” lobbed to Adam Gilchrist.

India ended the day on 309-5 off 86.0 overs. Tendulkar was on 124 and M. S. Dhoni was on 6!

The Australian bowlers bowled really well to restrict the Indians. At times, India appeared to be heading away. But the bowlers pegged them back. There were two easy dropped chances in the field — one by Adam Gilchrist and one by Matthew Hayden. Had these been taken, things may have been different. Indeed, the Australians have been dropping quite a few right through this series, with Gilchrist being a major contributor in this statistic!

Although that last session perhaps belonged more to India than to Australia, the fact that India had one batsman less in its lineup meant that my SBS Score at the end of the day read Australia, 1.5 :: India, 1.5

Day-2

On Day-2, India commenced with positive intent. The first ball of the day was cracked by Tendulkar for a four! The first 3 overs yielded 24 runs! Clearly, the Indians had come out with a plan of scoring fast. In his bid to do just that, Dhoni skied a Mitchell Johnson outside-off bouncer in the deep to be caught.

One thought that, at 336-6, this would be curtains time for India. India only had Anil Kumble, Harbhajan Singh, R. P. Singh and Ishant Sharma in the hut! The fact is that these four added nearly 200 runs!

Immediately after Dhoni got out, we witnessed the second best spell of bowling in this series. The best spell of bowling in this series, in my books, is the one that Ishant Sharma bowled to Ricky Ponting in Perth. Here, Brett Lee bowled a terrific, hostile and accurate spell to Sachin Tendulkar. The bowler, Lee, won in the end, with Tendulkar top-edging a hook to Brad Hogg in the deep. India were in trouble at 359-7.

However, Harbhajan Singh had other ideas! He played with abandon mixed with caution, aggression, comic intent and inventiveness. The resolute Anil Kumble kept the singles and twos — and the occassional knees-bent cover-drive — and the scoreboard kept ticking. India went to lunch at 405-7.

Yet another even session in my books and the SBS read Australia, 2.0 :: India, 2.0

The lunch-tea session was the first clean session for any team in this match so far, in my view. India lost just two wickets — but these were wickets #7 and #8 — and had added 120 runs in the process. At Tea India was on 525-9 off 151.0 overs with Anil Kumble on 86 and the young Ishant Sharma on 14. One saw Australian shoulders droop. The fielding was somewhat lethargic and there were plenty of dropped catches. Anil Kumble was looking set for an improbable second Test century and Ishant Sharma, who had already had two lives by then, was looking to provide his captain with support!

At the end of that session, the SBS read Australia, 2.0 :: India, 3.0

After tea though, the romance of a second century for Kumble was squashed. He was out and Australia had 21 overs to negotiate.

The importance of Matthew Hayden was not lost in this game. He was a steadying influence at the top for Australia. He played with calm and composure and balance at the top and showed why he was so missed in Perth! His confidence and calm seemed to rub off on Phil Jaques who batted sensibly and without the fidgety edginess that we saw in Perth! Australia ended the day 62-0.

At the end of day-2, the SBS read Australia, 3.0 :: India, 3.0

Touching gesture!

There was an incident when Harbhajan Singh was batting that threatened to explode but disappeared without a whimper. Harbhajan Singh squirted-cut-glided-squished a Stuart Clark ball to third man for a four. He ran to the bowlers’ end. Both bowler and batsman were looking at the ball and proceeded to collide mid-pitch. Harbhajan Singh stopped and Clark drew a sharp breath. But the situation was quickly diffused as Harbhajan Singh tapped Stuart Clark on his chest and muttered what appeared to be “Sorry mate”.

Andrew Symonds, possibly the protector of Australian player body-parts, appeared to either be asleep at the wheel or far away from the action. Either that or he must have thought that Stuart Clark’s chest wasn’t as valuable as Brett Lee’s bottom! Lucky, for otherwise, we may have had a repeat of the Sydney explosion that rocked the cricketing world!

And so, this incident disappeared from the radar without much of a trace!

Mike Proctor took the Australian team’s word

We are perhaps on the brink of another round of word-wars in the cricketing world. In a leaked report, it has been revealed that Mike Proctor indeed took the word of the Australians over that of the Indians in slapping a Level-3 violation on Harbhajan Singh.

His report says: “I have heard evidence from Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke and Matthew Hayden that he did say these words. Harbhajan Singh denies saying these words. Both umpires did not hear nor did Ricky Ponting or Sachin Tendulkar. I am satisfied and sure beyond reasonable doubt that Harbhajan Singh did say these words. I am satisfied that the words were said and that the complaint to the umpires, which forms this charge, would not have been put forward falsely, I dismiss any suggestion of motive or malice.

If Mike Proctor’s judgement withstands legal scrutiny, then human beings are bananas! Let us just strip this right open. The Indian legal team can then drive a posse of trucks through these pronouncement!

  • First, we have the victim as a witness.
  • Second, no one, apart from the accusers heard anything!
  • The chief complainant — Ricky Ponting — did not hear anything.
  • The accused denies saying anything — and so he would!
  • There are no independent witnesses.
  • All witnesses have vested interests!
  • How can Proctor prove that the complaint would not have been put forward falsely!
  • How can Proctor prove that there are no suggestions of motive or malice?

This Kangaroo-court ruling must be chucked out. There will be calls for Mike Proctor to be retired and put to pasture. I will readily support such calls for the man seems to have lost his marbles.

In my view, this system of delivering justice by inept and untrained Match Referees will, itself, come under sharp review. This whole process ought to be banned and more power must be given to the on-field umpires through a football- and field-hockey-style green-yellow-red card system. This would put an end to “jobs for the boys” as well as ineptitude.

— Mohan

Deadlocked Australia v India (2007-2008) :: Where does it all go now?

Will Anil Kumble, a proud, fiercely competitive and honest cricketer — his record speaks for himself — want to shake hands with an opposing Captain who, he feels, has played the game wrongly in a desperate bid to win? Is there a point, then, of playing on in Perth and Adelaide?

RIP :: Cricket as we know it…

The Australia v India tour is a mess right now. The players are stuck in their hotel in Sydney. Ironically, they cancelled a tour to the Bradman Museum in Bowral, enroute Canberra and stayed in their Sydney Hotel instead. The great Don may be turning in his grave in anguish at the sorry state of the game here in Australia. The game, as we know it, is in the Intensive Care Unit of an unknown hospital somewhere.

Who is to blame for this sorry mess? The Indian team alone? The ICC? Cricket Australia? Harbhajan Singh? Anil Kumble? Ricky Ponting? Mike Proctor? Umpires Benson and Bucknor? I believe each of these actors in this sordid play have to stand up and take some responsibility.

My feeling, though, is that if Proctor had not banned Harbhajan Singh — or if he had imposed a suspended sentence due to lack of complete and irrefutable evidence — things would not have come to this. Then again, if Ricky Ponting had not “dobbed in” — let us remember, when Australia were in danger of the game running away from them — things would not have come to this.

The Indians would have cried on a bit about the umpiring and disappeared to the Bradman Museum and then, Canberra.

But then, Ricky Ponting, we are told, had to report Harbhajan Singh. And Mike Proctor had to do his duties as Match Referee.

Within the Indian player group there is much anger and disappointment.

India, with the backing of its financial muscle power (over 70% of the games’ revenues come from India) has dug its heels and stuck to its guns, despite the danger of a $2.3m fine for pulling out midway from a tour for reasons other than security-risk. Cricket Australia indicated that the tour was certainly on, with CEO James Sutherland suggesting (as one would to one’s angry child, perhaps) that once Anil Kumble was a bit more sober, everything would be ok! His view was that Anil Kumble’s “outburst” was understandable for he had just lost a game and tensions were running high. Strong empathy there. Well done. Patronising perhaps? No way.

The BCCI has held emergency meetings and postured angrily and at times, with some confusion. Former Indian players were angry and scathing in their views over the goings-on. This had now become an issue of national pride; not just one man’s 3-Test ban.

How appropriate that the Test series itself is called the 3 Test Series!

Arun Jaitley, the BCCI’s lawyer as well as a BCCI Senior Vice President, has already filed an appeal against the Harbhajan Singh ban.

The BCCI has taken this on as an insult, not merely to the player in question, but to Indians as a whole around the globe. This issue has been politicised and yet again in cricket, a sense of proportion has been lost. In a terse and angry statement, the BCCI said, “The Indian board realises the game of cricket is paramount but so, too, is the honour of the Indian team and for that matter every Indian. To vindicate its position the board will fight the blatantly false and unfair slur on an Indian player”.

I think Mike Proctor has acted in a manner that, in my opinion, has not been either consistent or great for the game.

He was incorrect, in my view, for not banning Yuvraj Singh for dissent after the 1st Test, for if he had banned Yuvraj Singh, it would have provided India with a better batsman in the Sydney Test!

But jokes apart, Mike Proctor has not, in my view, been entirely consistent.

How he could let Ricky Ponting get away with three acts of misdemeanour in the Sydney Test is way beyond me: (a) Ponting’s dissent on being given out in the 1st Innings of the SCG Test, (b) The Australian teams’ appalling over rate in the Indian second Innings, (c) Claiming a catch off M. S. Dhoni when he must have known that he had grounded the catch.

For (c) above I provide below a picture that reader H. L. Cadambi refers to in the comments of an earlier posting. [Thanks Cad]

I also refer the reader to an articulate posting by Prem Panicker, a well-known and well-respected journalist for Rediff.com.

pontng-grounded-catch.jpg

Ponting must have known that he grounded the catch. Look at direction his eyes are appearing to look at in the picture!

Now, a cricketer has been banned in the past for claiming a catch when it was not out. Pakistan player, Rashid Latif was banned for five matches for claiming a “grounded” catch in a Test against Bangladesh.

The Match Referee in that precedent? Mike Proctor. Hello! Hello!

And what has Mike Proctor done in this game? He banned Harbhajan Singh. He hasn’t even questioned the integrity of Ricky Ponting. If Ricky Ponting could claim the catch against M. S. Dhoni, should he have the power to be a 4th umpire in the catch against Sourav Ganguly that Michael Clarke claimed to take cleanly?

I personally do not think so.

For a start, on the basis of this evidence, I feel that the pre-tour agreement on claiming catches between Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting will be thrown out of the window. If the tour does go ahead, I do not believe the Indian team will (or indeed, should) have any faith in the integrity of the Australian captain or the Australian team.

If the tour goes on, in my view, all catches have to be referred to the 3rd umpire.

The hypothesis at play here is that in times of extreme duress, distress and anguish, integrity is the first thing that suffers in Australian cricket.

The backdrop against which this observation is made is important here.

Ricky Ponting was desperate to prove that the timing of his declaration was apt. A fact that made him interrupt Channel-9 interviews (at the end of the days’ play) with other players to scream out against Tony Greig’s criticism of the timing of the declaration. Adam Gilchrist was similarly under the pump too. He too was reported to have interrupted interviews to scream out (perhaps in jubiliation and perhaps in relief) at Tony Greig’s criticism of the declaration-timing. The criticism meant a lot to this team. Pontings’ timing was based on shutting India out first, winning next. He had achieved the former. He wanted the latter desperately. Evidence, albeit ancedotal, supports that. It was obvious that the win meant so much to Ricky Ponting. Apart from having things to prove to Tony Greig and the rest of the commentary team, and despite his public denials, the consecutive-win record would have meant much to this proud and fiesty cricketer.

Would he do anything he could to snatch that victory? Make up your own minds. But here was a captain that was, in my view, very very desperate to win… at any cost too, perhaps.

When questioned repeatedly on this facet of his (perhaps desperate) attempts ot win at all costs, Ricky Ponting reacted angrily and testily to G. Rajaraman, the Outlook India correspondent, who records the events in his blog. The question clearly rankled Ponting.

Only one team played in the spirit of the game“, said Anil Kumble at the conclusion of the game. You wonder why?

In a scathing attack, Peter Roebuck certainly thinks that Ricky Ponting brought the game into disrepute and should be stood down as captain of the Australian team.

But then Australians will point to the fact that Anil Kumble may have meant that it was perhaps Australia that was the one team that had played in the spirit of the game — and not Kumble’s own team. After all, Harbhajan Singh was the only one to be slapped on his wrists at the end of the game! History would perhaps record Anil Kumble’s comments as a salutation to Australia’s immense sportsmanship?

But I seriously wonder if Mike Proctor had enough evidence to ban Harbhajan Singh for 3 games? Or was this yet another gaffe from the Match Referee, who did not pull up Ricky Ponting as he had, Rashid Latif? Only time will tell. The lawyers will make money out of this.

However, history will record that, in a game where people from the Indian sub-continent and black South Africans have withstood decades of discrimination and villification, an Indian is the first to be booked for racism under the ICC’s new code. There is a strange irony to this. I have always maintained that, despite the baggage of past history (and provocation), if anyone could be proven guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, they should do the time. So, time will tell if Harbhajan Singh was a victim or indeed, the person that dished out an abuse.

I do believe that this is a horrible deadlock; one from which either party will find it hard to back down from.

The ICC has indicated that it will not allow Steve Bucknor to be stood down in the Perth Test. They have their backs up and will not let one of their own suffer an inglorious exit from the game. And fair enough, in my view. After all, the ICC has already been through a nightmare scenario once after the Darryl Hair issue! They would not want yet another umpire to go the same way! In all probability, Perth will be Bucknor’s last Test match. If he does not retire, he must be asked to do so. So, whether the Indians like it or not, I feel that Bucknor will officiate in Perth.

Cricket Australia and Ricky Ponting have their backs up, claiming that they have done nothing wrong and, if anything, it is the Indians who are to blame for all of this mess. Having said that, Cricket Australia has imposed a gag order on Andrew Symonds. Meanwhile, Cricket Australia has to come to terms with that fact that almost every Poll in the land has delivered bad news for the national cricket team; almost all of them have indicated that Australian cricketers are bad sportsmen (an example, here).

Meanwhile, Sachin Tendulkar has come out openly to state, “Harbhajan is innocent. I assure you of this.

So, is Proctor saying that Sachin Tendulkar is a cheat?

I feel that cricket has to go on, but I do believe that this entire episode has tarred relations — perhaps beyond repair — between these two cricket nations; each with a proud history. I somehow cannot see Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble shake hands prior to the Perth Test. Sources close to the team say that Anil Kumble, a proud, fiercely competitive and honest crickter — his record speaks for himself — will not shake hands with a cricketer who, he feels, has played the game wrongly in a desperate bid to win.

If the Indians play on, in this tour, I doubt it will be because they want to play the game; it would be because they were forced to and not because they want to. Is this good for the game? For a bunch of XI players to rock up to Perth and Adelaide and for the game to be over in a day or two?

Who is to blame for all of this sadness?

Have your say…

— Mohan

What is said on the field stays on the field?

In the Harbhajan Singh v Andrew Symonds incident that has marred the ongoing Sydney Test match, it has been confirmed by Match Referee Mike Proctor, that the on-field umpires heard nothing. It was Ricky Ponting that reported what was said.

It is all going to be very very interesting from here.

Not least because, in doing so, Ricky Ponting has threatened to break down a long-held Australian tradition of “What is said on the field is left on the field and forgotten after a glass of beer at the end of days’ play.

This was Sunil Gavaskar’s summing on Channel-9. Well said, Gavaskar.

It is likely that Harbhajan Singh did use the “monkey” word against Andrew Symonds. We will not know that until the hearing is completed and, I for one, will not be passing judgement on either player yet.

However, even assuming that something was said, what has happened to that great Aussie tradition? Or should that be re-written as “What is said on the field by an Australian ought to be left on the field and forgotten after a glass of beer at the end of days’ play?

I am not condoning slurs of any sort. I think racism should have no place in cricket, regardless of the provocation. My point is stronger than that. I think the ICC should stamp out sledging. Period.

— Mohan

Harbhajan Singh pulled up on a “racism charge”…

In my Day-2 report on the ongoing SCG Test, I talked about a strange passage in play in which Harbhajan Singh was involved in on-field chats with a whole lot of Australian players. There was certainly some niggle and carry-on there. Harbhajan Singh was batting at the time. No one seemed sure what was going on at the time. The umpire Mark Benson covered his mouth as he spoke to Harbhajan Singh (so that, one assumed, he could not be lip-read or no nearby mikes could pick up what he said).

This was all very strange indeed!

Overnight, it seems that this was due to an alleged rascism charge levelled against Harbhajan Singh. The ‘victim’, it is said, is Andrew Symonds.

In something that could potentially take the sheen off a brilliant Test match thus far, Andrew Symonds has confirmed that he was racially abused by Harbhajan Singh. Harbhajan Singh denied it immediately.

The Australians are also accusing Harbhajan Singh of having hit Brett Lee with his bat while running between the wickets. This was the incident that allegedly started off the sledge-match.

If proven guilty — I am not sure how Mike Proctor could prove Harbhajan Singh guilty of the offence without the aid of listening devices — Harbhajan Singh could be banned for between 2 and 4 Test matches (or 4 and 8 ODIs). The offence is for “language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, gender, colour, descent or national ethnic origin.”

Sachin Tendulkar, who was batting with Harbhajan Singh at the time, brushed the incident aside and had this spin on the incident, which, he indicated may have been sparked off by Harbhajan Singh giving Brett Lee a pat on his backside.

His take on the incident was that the conversation went something like this:
Symonds: “You seem to be very friendly with our bowlers.
Harbhajan: “Aren’t you trying to be friends with me now? I’m a bowler, as well.

Malcolm Conn, from The Australian, leads with this as his headline and shows that he is from the same school of writing as Peter Lalor in this article when he suggests that perhaps Sourav Ganguly should be banned too, for showing disgust at himself for being out. I wonder how many times he has asked for a ban on Lleyton Hewitt in the same set?

We at i3j3Cricket have always maintained that rascism of all sorts should be banned on cricket grounds, regardless of the provocation. If Andrew Symonds was indeed called a “monkey” by Harbhajan Singh and if it can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, Harbhajan Singh has to do time. There are no two ways about it.

However, instead of jumping up and down, I would have expected Malcolm Conn to listen to what Sachin Tendulkar had to say on the matter too rather than immediately start to paint Harbhajan Singh as a confirmed perpetrator of a crime. This sort of sensationalism sells newspapers, but I would have thought that The Australian had higher editorial standrads!

With a person like Sachin Tendulkar as character witness — after all, Tendulkar was there when it all happened, I can’t see Harbhajan Singh copping it for this offence.

I personally can’t wait for the day when the ICC bans sledging of all sorts and at all levels of cricket. Let us assume that Andrew Symonds was indeed issued with a racial slur by Harbhajan Singh — after all Harbhajan Singh is innocent until proven guilty. Our hypothesis at i3j3Cricket is that a racial sledge (as we have now or as we had against Darren Lehmann) or a sledge involving ones mother or sister or brother or wife (as we had against Glen McGrath in the Sarawan incident) is a logical conclusion to any sledge-escalation. Do we want that? Can we tolerate that? There are no lines in the sand. Sledging is not covered in any cricket rule book. So it just can’t be on. Any back chat between bowler and batsman ought to be stamped out on the cricket field. If a team want to “mentally disintegrate” another team, is a bat and ball and hands not enough? If the tools of cricket are not sufficient, then let us also not talk about “lines in the sand”. There are no lines in the sand! The mafia cannot ask for a book to be written on good and bad ways of killing. Killing is unlawful. Period.

Our good friend from The Australian, Peter Lalor, has got in on the act too, with a report and an opinion-article on Harbhajan Singh! In the opinion-piece, he traces the origins of the Harbhajan Singh V Ricky Ponting aggro. In an article that traces the rise and fall and rise of Harbhajan Singh’s career (similar to a piece that Channel 9 did on Harbhajan Singh a day previously), he traces all of Harbhajan Singh’s past dark incidents.

Peter Lalor asks what it is about the Australians that sends Harbhajan Singh’s eyes into a spin! As a self-proclaimed lover of a good fight, I’d have thought that the answer was bleeding obvious to Peter Lalor! I for one do not care what Harbhajan Singh or V. V. S. Laxman do against Kenya and Bangladesh. I want them to reserve their best for when they play the champion team — Australia! Perhaps it is Peter Lalor’s that go into a spin when he sees Harbhajan Singh?

Peter Lalor’s closing remarks in that article are a bit odd… He says, “Unlike other Sikhs in the side, he is conservative and adheres to the religious demands that his hair be covered and uncut, although when he shot an advertisement in 2006 without the patka, it caused an outcry with the main Sikh religious board demanding an apology and activists burning his effigy.

How many other Sikhs are there in the team?

— Mohan