Tag Archives: Symonds

News and Views…

There have been a few things happening. So I thought I’d blog a “News and Views” type post.


  • India beat Sri Lanka to enter the finals of the CB Tri-Series. Praveen Kumar broke the back of the Sri Lankan innings through some incisive pace bowling. Sri Lanka never really recovered from there. I have been saying this for quite some time now… and I will say it again! I am not sure why Praveen Kumar should not be a part of every game that India plays. In fact, I’d even say that he is not a bad #3 option too! He has a reputation of hitting big sixes in domestic cricket.
  • After playing the last dead-game in Melbourne, the Australians will take on India at the SCG on Sunday March 2.
  • The latest round of reprimands and fines in cricket in Sydney in the CB series match between Australia and India has received due coverage in Australia. Contrast the approach of The Age (Jamie Pandaram) and The Australian (Peter Lalor). The latter opinion piece does not even mention that Ricky Ponting was fined in the same match for slow over rates!
  • Peter Lalor goes one step further today by suggesting that Ishant Sharma gave Saint Andrew Symonds a “foul mouthed spray”. Ishant Sharma copped a fine and in my view, that was fair enough. Did poor Saint Andrew Symonds deserve a spray for saying “Well bowled champ”? Oh no way!
  • Unfortunately, instead of saying that the Indians will not indulge in sledging and instead of saying that the Indians will work hard on learning how not to be affected by foul-mouthed hoons, its ODI captain has instead said, “It’s an art and [the Australians] are good at it, but the Indians will learn soon.” Pray why?
  • The BCCI, it seems, has had enough of all this nonsense and wants to empower on-field umpires to come down hard on sledging. It is not often that I agree with anything that the BCCI mandarins say, but on this one, I am on their side! I reckon on-field umpires should be given a yellow, green and red card. A Yellow Card is a first warning to a player in the match. A Green Card would mean that the player is out of the game for half hour. A Red Card would mean that the player sits out the rest of the match! The umpires decision is final. Period. That’s one way to stamp out all this on-field nonsense.
  • In his match report on the India v Sri Lanka match in Hobart, Peter Lalor says, “No, it was all very pleasant when India played Sri Lanka. More a neighbourhood social than an international match.” Wonder why? The team of All Saints was busy dressing up for the Allan Border Medal night. And when they were not busy dressing up, they were busy frothing on Radio!
  • Yes, just when you thought things were going along swimmingly, Saint Matthew Hayden jumped in, head, foot and arms flailing and called Harbhajan Singh an “obnoxious weed”. How nice now! I would be surprised if Cricket Australia do not tape the big Queenslander’s mouth. If he worked in my organisation, I know what I would do. I do not know what sort of weed the big Queenslander has been smoking lately, but it is clearly having an effect on him!
  • The Indians think Matthew Hayden called Harbhajan Singh a “mad boy” in the Sydney match. So what if he did? But the big opening batsman from Queensland said, he called him a “bad boy”. Ooooh ooooh! Baddy Baddy Bad Boy! Phew, that makes it alright then! The “bad boy” tag — rather than the “mad boy” yelp — becomes even more acceptable to Hayden because he thought in his own simple mind that Harbhajan Singh should be flattered. But of course! Duh! “Bad Doy” is “a clothing range is it not? What the…..?
  • Did these guys go to school at all? Not that they have to, mind you. Clearly, some of them haven’t left the school yard where most people leave all of this puerile nonsense.
  • Read a transcript of Saint Matthew Hayden’s eloquent interview here. I am shocked that Cricket Australia are sitting on their fingers after this blatantly disrespectful interview. I thought the Australian way was to leave all the verbal nonsense on the field!
  • The Australians apparently got really upset with Harbhajan Singh after the Indian spinner reportedly subjected Australian skipper Ricky Ponting “to non-stop abuse” in the Adelaide match. Oh poor thing! That’s not fair, is it mommy? Get him a nappy… quick! Talking of nappies, Ricky Ponting is expecting one… Not a nappy… a baby!
  • Meanwhile Saint Pontiff Matthew Hayden has taken it upon himself to provide advise to young Ishant Sharma on on-field behaviour! Saint Pontiff Matthew Hayden said, “He is just young. I have said to him many times, you are 19, take it easy. At the end of the day you are 19, why don’t you just worry about your bowling for a while.”! Wonder why, at 37, Hayden does not follow his own advice? Things that make you go WTF…
  • So now Ishant Sharma needs advice too. Hmmm! Let’s not forget that this was the young lad that shook Andrew Symonds’ hand in Sydney in that infamous Test match. What advice is he going to receive from Saint Matthew Hayden — halo and all — on appropriate on-field behaviour?
  • India take on New Zealand in the U19 semi-final game in Malaysia.
  • Gary Kirsten has arrived in India to take up his responsibilities as Team India Coach. Anil Kumble and he met with BCCI officials. This is in preparation for India’s Test series against South Africa, who will play three Tests against India in India, at Chennai (March 26-30), Ahmedabad (April 3-7) and Kanpur (April 11-15).
  • One of Gary Kirsten’s immediate tasks will be the appointment of a team physio — John Gloster will quit his position at the end of the ongoing CB Series. Kirsten also appears keen to recruit his long-term business associate and mental skills coach Paddy Upton on a permanent basis! Perhaps Upton could teach the team to learn how to ignore (rather than retaliate well to) the Saints from the opposition team.

— Mohan

Bad starts cause a loss…

India lost a tight game to Australia thanks to two bad starts. India started badly while bowling and recovered in the middle overs! While batting, again, India made a hash of the start. Although the Indian batting recovered from that wobble, the magnitude of the bad start meant that India lost by 18 runs. The fact that India got that close is a credit to the Indian middle-order batsmen!

As M. S. Dhoni said at the post-match interviews, India can take a lot of positives from this game.

When India were bowling, an Australia total of 380 seemed likely at one stage. Australia got off to a sensational start with Ponting and Hayden murdering the bowling attack. In particular, Sreesanth bowled like a millionaire! He bowled so inconsistently that one almost whipped the prayer mat out to seek Ajit Agarkar’s re-appearance in the Indian line up! India pegged Australia down to a less daunting 317. In particular, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh bowled brilliantly. This meant that India’s 4-bowler strategy appeared to have worked… just! I am not sure if this is a strategy that can be persisted with.

Despite the good bowling in the middle overs, in order to win, India would have had to overhaul the highest 2nd innings total at the SCG prior to last night.

Another bad start — this time in the batting — meant that, at 51-4, a score of 200 looked like a huge mountain to climb. Yet, India recovered, thanks to Gautam Gambhir, M. S. Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan and Harbhajan Singh to get to a total of 299!

There are positives and these include the middle-overs bowling and the middle-overs batting. There is little doubt that M. S. Dhoni is a calming influence on this team. He rallies his young cadets to keep fighting till the end. In players like Rohit Sharma, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa and Irfan Pathan, he has a core set of players that will respond positively too.

Gautam Gambhir is batting really well these days. He was in fine form and batted with a calm head on his responsible shoulders. In the absence of firepower at the top and with the dodgy form/knee of Yuvraj Singh, on this ODI tour, Gambhir has been the foundation on which the rest of the team has been built. If he had lasted until the ball-change in the 34th over, the match result may well have been different; a fact that he acknowledged himself in the post-match sound-bytes!

The performance of Robin Uthappa was also a revelation. Prior to this game he hadn’t really had a major opportunity to showcase his undoubted skills. Apart from a weakness that he has early on in his innings — of shuffling too far forward and across — Uthappa looks like a sensational and dependable batsman. He has a calm head on his shoulders and, like Gambhir, appears to love a tight situation! In that sense, he has a Michael Bevan like quality to his batting. Along with the indefatigable M. S. Dhoni, Uthappa looks set to play a long innings in Indian cricket.

The match was played at the SCG, the very cauldron that saw the infamous MonkeyGate explode in the faces of the Australia and India teams! The same venue saw the alleged instigator of that blow-up cause another one last night — this time with Ishant Sharma. After being bowled by a beauty from the young Indian tearaway, Symonds appeared to say something to the Indian bowler who responded by giving Symonds a few directions to the dressing room. It is somewhat unlikely that Ishant Sharma will escape a fine and a reprimand.

Most Match Referees will, these days, slap a fine on send-offs to the dressing-room unless of course, it is carried out by “fine Australian cricketers” — when such actions will be seen as “natural aggression, which should not be removed from the game” or some such platitude. Be that as it may, giving the batsman a send-off is a no-no and young Sharma should be prepared to cop it on the chin!

In another interesting twist in last nights’ game, the match referee, reacting to a claim made on Channel-9 by Ian Healey, seized M. S. Dhoni’s gloves after the veteran Australian gloveman claimed that Dhoni’s gloves were illegal!

The Indian team should ask some searching questions of its opening bowlers and opening batsmen. I would not be surprised if we see either Sachin Tendulkar or Virender Sehwag drop down the order in the all-important game on Tuesday against Sri Lanka. Similarly, I would not be surprised if Sree Santh is asked to sit out that game. The team may also want to accommodate Praveen Kumar in the mix.

— Mohan

Will IPL bidding drama cause team friction?

Andrew Symonds is set to make more money than Ricky Ponting (USD 400,oo), Matty Hayden ($375,000) and Mike Hussey ($350,000) combined! Surely, Symonds is not worth more than the three combined or four times what Hussey is worth. Ponting may not be in blazing form this year – he averages 10.66 in the CB series, but Symonds hasn’t fared any better – he averages just 8.40. Compare this to Mr. Cricket, Mike Hussey, who averages 56.33 in the series, and you start wondering what the logic is behind the parity in the $$$ amounts.

Even if you leave current form out, none of the other factors I could think of (availability, marketability, and just ability) seem to justify the parity in the bids. I do however wonder, if any of this will cause any tensions in the dressing room. Surely, you can’t blame Ponting for being miffed at his IPL worth, particularly compared to Symonds’!

In other sports, when a player gets snapped up for more money by another team, he leaves all his original team mates behind to move to other team. In IPL though, after the tournament is finished, the players go back to their respective countries and share the dressing room with the same old players. There will be some initial teasing, but I wonder if it may end up becoming jealousy and lead to friction within the team.

I am probably not alone in thinking that some of the players’ allegiance will also come under scrutiny when their performance for their country slips, while their IPL form is strong.

Only time will tell….

-Mahesh-

On Sledging

In the Monkeygate debate, the need for sledging on the cricket field has been called into question.

Was there a need for Andrew Symonds to pin Harbhajan Singhs’ ear when the Indian said “well bowled” to Australian bowler Brett Lee? Was that an Australian thing to do? Should a player really indulge in sledging at all? These are questions that do need to be asked.

I called in on Jon Faine’s talkback segment on ABC Radio yesterday and repeated my view that all sledging has to be banned. Faine wished me good luck. I added that while mild banter was perhaps ok, ABC’s own contracted commentator, Harsha Bhogle, had said that some of the words that were said on the cricket field would not be heard at his dinner table! Jon Faine reminded me and everyone else that the players weren’t at Harsha Bhogle’s dinner table! They were playing tough, professional, hard cricket!

Fair point.

But does that mean that they should indulge in ugly behaviour and sledge each other on the field?

The Australian Governor-General and the Australian Prime Minister weighed in on the debate yesterday.

Before yesterday’s Prime Minister’s XI match in Canberra against the visiting Sri Lankans, Major-General Michael Jeffery, Australia’s Governor General (someone who seldom gets involved in public controversies), commented that sledging was “totally un-Australian” and should be eradicated.

This is, unfortunately, not a view that is shared by Australian players and media personalities. All of them talk about “lines in the sand”. Who defines the sand? Who writes the rules for appropriate sledges? Where is this “line in the sand”?

Whose line is it anyway?

The Australian Governor-General said that Test players had a responsibility to set an example for juniors, and referred to players questioning umpires’ decisions and failing to walk.

“I think there’s also a need to really take care of the fundamental courtesies and good manners,” he said.

Australian Prime Minister Mr Kevin Rudd echoed these sentiments and made a plea for “greater civility to permeate the veins of the game”.

Sane words, in my view, from two good men.

And on the topic of sane words, here is an excellent article by Harsha Bhogle in The Age (31 Jan 2008). I do wish the Peter Lalors of this world would read it.

In particular, I reproduce this last paragraph from the article:

So why is India so sensitive about what is happening in Australia? Since I was a child, my abiding memory is of visiting journalists and cricketers coming to India and making fun of us. We were a country finding our feet, we were not confident; we seethed within but we accepted. The new generation in India is not as accepting — it is prouder, more confident, more successful. Those bottled up feelings are bubbling through. This is the great dawn of acceptance. It is a phase both countries must understand. This is the storm before the lull. Let’s play cricket. We’re only a small family.

All I can say is that if Harsha Bhogle had read Peter Lalor mocking Harbhajan Singh’s mother and that squeaky-voiced TV reporter, Harsha Bhogle’s abiding memory will be further fuelled. And if this blatant mockery attempt comes from a knowledgeable, self-confessed Indophile — with a Ganesh idol on his mantle-piece, no less — that same God had better rush to Harsha Bhogle’s aid to erase those abiding memories.

Certainly the Lalors of this world are not going to do it; they will just augment it. And fires of mistrust, cultural misunderstandings and anger will continue to burn.

— Mohan

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

What a win!!!

Nobody gave the Indians any chance of beating the Aussies at Perth. After the loss at Sydney, people were even asking if India were capable of beating them just about anywhere! But the Perth test ended in a dream result for India with India wrapping the game up in just 4 days!

Start of the day

At the beginning of the day, Australia needed around 350 to win, but had both Ponting and Hussey at the crease. Both were capable of a big score and a long presence at the crease and it was important that India got their wicket early to get ahead in the match. I found it rather surprising that Kumble started the proceedings – I thought the quicks should have been operating on both ends at the beginning of the day. Thankfully, he quickly rectified that and brought on Ishant Sharma for himself. Sharma’s bowling figures of 1 for 63 in 17 overs does not do any justice to the way he bowled this morning. Ponting, arguably the best batsmen in the World today was all at sea against him and had a few close calls, before he edged one to Dravid at first slip. If he continues to bowl this way, he has a great future ahead of him.

Australia went to lunch at 143 for 3. Although they had lost the wicket of Ponting, they had added 77 runs in 25 overs and had successfully negotiated the most important period of the game when the ball was still new and swinging. I am not sure how Mohan would have rated this session in his SBS scorecard, but I would have given .5 to both sides.

Post lunch session

The fourth over after lunch saw RP Singh get the all important wicket of Hussey. Hawk-eye showed the ball go over the stumps and Hussey can consider himself a tad unlucky – but similar decisions were also dished out to Tendulkar and Dhoni in the game. At least the umpires were being consistent.

The next wicket to go was Symonds, whose luck with umpiring decisions in the series finally ran out. After Symonds hit him for a six, Kumble bowled a flat and fast one to trap Symonds plumb before the wicket and Billy Bowden raised his crooked finger – the only problem was that replays showed an inside edge.

With Australia on 177/5 at that stage, India must have sensed a whiff of victory. But Gilchrist and Clarke weren’t done yet. They started putting on a partnership and were threatening to take the game away from India. Kumble then threw the ball to Sehwag and in his very first ball  to Gilchrist, bowled him around the legs – a wicket even Harbhajan Singh would have been proud of. What a huge wicket that was? And in the very next over, he had Brett Lee caught at silly point and Australia were reeling at 7/229. At Tea, Australia were 243/7 and the session clearly belonged to India. The SBS scorecard would have read Australia 4::India 7, but at this stage it didn’t matter who was winning the sessions – the post tea session would pretty much decide who won the game.

Post Tea session

India needed the wicket of Michael Clarke badly and that is what they got. In Kumble’s third over after Tea, he flighted one up to Clarke who came dancing down the pitch. He was beaten by turn and bounce and was smartly stumped by Dhoni. Australia were now 253/8 and needed another 160 runs to win, while all India had to do was take 2 wickets.

With nothing to lose, Johnson and Clarke started hitting out. The hits and mis-hits kept eluding the fielders and what looked like an annoying partnership suddenly grew into a nervous one for the Indians. The bowlers didn’t bowl well during this period either and there was one dropped catch and one “clean bowled” of a no ball. The new ball was soon taken, but the partnership had raced to 73 runs under 13 overs. Pathan eventually got the break through when he dismissed Clark for 32. Dravid then dropped a regulation catch at slip to prolong the match for a few more overs. RP Singh finally got the wicket of Tait to secure a 72 run victory. It also brings to end the 16 match winning streak of the Australians.

It is interesting to note that Australia hadn’t lost at Perth since the West Indian fast bowling attack beat them in the eighties and they haven’t been beaten in Australia since 2003 (when India beat them at Adelaide).

Australia now lead the series 2-1 and have already retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy, but the Indians would be playing to tie the series at Adelaide. It has been a great summer of cricket so far (in spite of the happenings in Sydney) and I really look forward to the Adelaide game.

-Mahesh-

Cultural misunderstandings…

It now transpires that Harbhajan Singh said, in his native Hindi/Punjabi, “abey teri maan ki ”.

At least, that’s what he and his team are saying.

And, as reader 10YearsLate says in the comments section of this Blogsite, for the uninitiated and the linguistically unaware, the Hindi/Punjabi swear phrase above roughly translates to: “ Hey, your mother’s …”.

“maan ki” is commonly (and unfortunately) heard in India — particularly North India — and sounds like “monkey”. Symmonds, no doubt, drew the monkey conclusion.

Well, that’s the case of the Indians anyway!

As 10YearsLate says, “Given that demeaning references to mothers, sisters and wives are kosher in the Australian sledging lexicon, this may be considered legit.”

I think it is worse than that.

[Tongue-in-cheek mode ON]

I actually think that Harbhajan Singh may have wanted to get closer to the Australians! His pre-tour cultural-briefings may have told him that there are three sure-fire ways to achieve this objective:
(a) tap someone’s bottom — a sure sign of mateship,
(b) say something nasty about someone’s mother or sister — only mates have sledge-rights on mothers and sisters,
(c) wait for the post-day drink-frenzy to make friends over glasses of beer.

Such sharing of beer and war-stories, visiting teams are told, are to be compulsorily had after the “what’s said on the field is left on the field” type “hard but fair” Australian way of playing!

He was a bit tired of all the beer that had been consumed in the tour up until then. Every word that was said up until then on the field had been drowned with these glasses of beer that just had to be consumed as war-stories were exchanged. Moreover, the drunken haze left him with not much money, a lot of friends — that he actually did not want — and not much memory of what was actually said the previous day! It was working well, in one sense, but for someone with not that much money and for someone not used to consuming as much beer as he was now forced to consume, it was all getting a bit too much!

So, he wanted to try another tack… He was batting well at this stage and had pulled his team out of trouble. He was willing to risk option (a) of patting someone’s backside. After surveying the field, his eyes focussed on Brett Lee’s well-appointed hind!

Rather than wait for the post-match drink-frenzy, he proceeded to tap Brett Lee on the bowlers’ well-appointed bottom. He may have chosen the right bottom to pat, but did not realise that Andrew Symonds had his eyes on that piece of real estate!

When Andrew Symonds saw this, he saw red! He proceeded to claim exclusive, perpetual and royalty-free rights for performing said task on Brett Lee’s bottom! He threw a sledge in Harbhajan Singh’s direction. Quite miffed at being reprimanded for his bum-tap and quite annoyed at having to now wait for the post-day what’s-said-on-the-field-is-left-on-the-field-drink-frenzy to make friends with this hard-but-fair bunch of muscular Australians, he proceeded to hurl the words “abey tere maan ki …” towards Andrew Symonds.

His pre-tour cultural briefings may have told him that if a bottom-pat didn’t work, an abuse would. After all, play “hard but fair” is the national way of playing!

So, it is likely that Harbhajan Singh may have wanted to start proceedings early in an anxious bid to not wait for the post-day “what’s said on the field is left on the field” drunken stupor!

Unfortunately, Andrew Symonds heard “maan ki” as “monkey” and, the rest, as we say is history.

It was Harbhajan Singh’s fault. He should have chosen Brad Hogg’s bum to pat. I doubt anyone in the Australian team would have been as protective of his backside real estate as they would be of Brett Lee’s.

[Tongue-in-cheek mode OFF]

Meanwhile, it also transpires that the two teams exchanged lists of offensive words prior to the series. And “bast**d” did not make the cut! So, Australia’s case will be that, it was perfectly kosher for Brad Hogg to utter that word in any statement flung in the direction of the Indians!

Section 3.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct says:

Players and teams are barred from Using 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 or ethic origin.

The Indians will argue that the term “bast**d” is insulting because “it questions a person’s descent and is highly sensitive in the Indian cultural context”. Hence, they will argue that 3.3 is an appropriate level of offence to slap on Brad Hogg. This may not wash with the Australians. Read this, for example! Moreover, the Australians will say, if it was as big as the Indians are now making it out to be, it ought to have been on the pre-tour banned-words-list!

There is only one way out of all of this.

“The teams should tear up that catch agreement and should plonk the entire Oxford English dictionary, Cappeller’s Digital Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Websters Online Hindi Dictionary, etc into such pre-tour off-limits words-lists!”

That way, nothing will be said out there and the umpire will make alll calls on catches!

— Mohan