What A Week

54 Comments

It has been an explosive week for the cricket world with much hand-wringing, chest-beating, barbs and counter-barbs. And even a Sydney man attacking a bus with a cricket bat —no doubt influenced by the general craziness.

And as the McDonald’s ad goes, I am lovin it.

What has given me the greatest pleasure has been to read the reactions of some of the English and Aussie journalists, the post-colonial angst of the once-Burra-sahibs borne out of their inability to come to terms with their own relative marginalization and loss of dominion over the “natives” seeping through each word. [Do not forget to read this piece for more of this prejudice-driven post-colonial angst, albeit in a different context. Hat tip: Bongopondit]

Actually, the chances of a split are probably greater now, as Dalmiya’s fractious reign not only removed England and Australia’s right of veto at the ICC but strengthened the voting power of the Asian bloc by giving Bangladesh full Test status long before they deserved it.

Oh that rapscallion Dalmiya. If only he had not “fractiously” conspired to remove the veto power, we (the Australians and the Englishmen) would still have supreme Viceroy-like powers , which would have given us the unquestioned authority to show these reprobates their place. Let’s see how much monkeying around they could have done then.

Did I just use the world “monkey”? Oh I am sorry old chap. Do have some Earl Grey tea or Foster lager if you prefer. But just keep quiet , let us win and remember to think about the Queen.

The problem with each of these articles is that they intentionally side-track the issue—-making it appear that it is the Indians who are the sore losers, petulantly crying about a wrong decision or two, and then using their financial muscle to assuage their hurt pride.

Whereas the truth is that the outrage is not because of a wrong decision or two—a dodgy leg before here or a close bat-pad there. After all, Indians also have benefited from questionable umpiring decisions in the past. What Indian fans are livid about are the egregious mistakes, committed continually that target India with such precision that using the word “mistake” is a bit of a stretch. Some of them cannot be even called mistakes—-such as Bucknor refusing to call the third umpire. They are also protesting the travesty of justice at the Match referee’s where an Australian’s word was taken over an Indian’s, in possibly the most disgustingly racist part of the whole circus, and where an Australian gets away with the exact same offense (of claiming an illegal catch) for which an Asian (Rashid Latif) was handed out a match-ban.

What makes the accusation that India exerts an inordinate influence on the ICC with its money power so patently untrue is that, over the years, in matters of discipline Indian cricketers have been more sinned-against than sinning. Countless number of times, ICC-appointed match referees have turned the other way when Indians have been abused, only to come up with the harshest of punishments when Indians have tried to reply. Donald abuses Dravid in full view of the cameras after he has the temerity to hit him for a six. Nothing happens to him. But a few Indian players gets pulled-up for excessive appealing. Michael Slater again abuses Dravid, (he now explains it, without an iota of shame, as a result of his having “personal issues” at the time, as if we should care) just when the match referee suffers a temporary attack of blindness and deafness. Anybody who has followed Indian cricket ever since the match referee system came into existence can come up with countless other incidents of similarly patent unfairness.

There are of course some Australian writers who do not go for sleight of hands and goalpost-shifting. But say it as it is. Which I laud.

Sachin Tendulkar, who has sparked the controversy by contacting the board and demanding it support Harbhajan, claims he never heard the word used. Does this mean it wasn’t used?

Would he have us believe that Ponting, Symonds and two teammates orchestrated a fabric of lies and events and even concocted a story dating back four months?

Yes Lalor. How smart of you to cotton onto what exactly we mean. Yes we actually are implying that Ponting and Symonds orchestrated a fabric of lies— perhaps because we saw Ponting practicing the noble art of lying by claiming an illegal catch earlier in the day ! And nice try in linking this with what happened 4 months ago—-while no-one doubts the occurrence of monkey chants in India (they do doubt where it was a symbol of racism), there is nothing but doubt in the statements of the honest Australians, whose words (after their behavior in the Second Test) count less than that dictator from Nigeria who promises to give me 10% of his ill-gotten 100 million dollars if only I give him my bank account number.

The article then compares Ricky Ponting’s catch with the catch of Pietersen at Lords, of course forgetting to mention that in the case of Ricky he is seen to be looking at the ball touching the ground, which makes it evident that he knew that the catch he was claiming is illegal. The reference to Dhoni ‘s catch would have been apt had it been made in comparison to Clarke’s catch—-however Clarke’s catch was upheld without reference to a third umpire, while Dhoni’s was turned down by the very same agency, after the on-field umpire at Lord’s had given out and the batsman was already on his way.

Of course, Lalor finds whole-hearted support in his contention that Indians cannot take a bad decision against them. Namely from Crinfo’s Dilip Premchandran, writing for Guardian. Not just support, I mean whole-hearted “Lalor speaks the truth” and ” We Indians suck” kind of self-flagellating support, which is of course a pre-requisite since this is the Guardian we are talking about.

There is of course parts of the article I could not but help shaking my head vigorously in agreement to.

Individuals who aren’t aware of Glenn McGrath’s achievements and what a full-toss is are sent to report on international games.

The last time I agreed so much with a statement was when Anu Malik asked “Why can’t be original?” These so-called experts I tell you. Putting on the cap of cricket connoisseurs, they write biased pieces against down-and-out players who have angered them before by not being accessible, float conspiracy theories of sinister cabals, and then when said players make comebacks that rubs tar in the face of those experts, they come back with apologies so that they may take their interviews.

So true, Mr. Premchandran — “Journalism without rigor” as you call it.

Also true is the comment made by a certain Dilip in the comment space (which I assume is the author)

People who burn effigies of players and umpires over a GAME of cricket are in no way different from the Taliban idiots who destroyed centuries-old monuments in Afghanistan

Yep. That guy who took a donkey and put a placard of “I am Bucknor” on its neck is a Mullah Omar.

I also endorse Mr. Premchandran’s pillorying of the Indian press for playing to its base. That is wrong. What is however right is writing a “balanced” piece that coincidentally happens to appeal to an English/Australian audience in a media outlet that caters to them.

If there was any disappointment this week, it was that Glen McGrath while predictably provided support for Bucknor, did not drop any pearls of wisdom about racism. Considering he once called Sanath Jayasurya a “black monkey” (note the adjective) and was never censured for it [the Sri Lankans never even complained when the incident occurred, so used-to perhaps they are to such sweet words from Aussies], I would have been mightily interested to know his opinion. As of Lalor who says:

What would the pontificators have said if it were an Australian player accused of racially abusing an Indian? Hopefully, Australian cricket would have responded with respect for the process, outrage at the crime and shame that we would treat people in such a manner.

Aah enough fun. Now onto some cricket.

[An excellent piece here by Prem Panicker]

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54 thoughts on “What A Week

  1. Good one. The problem is – in this inflamed atmosphere of rhetorics, hardly anyone will listen to logical reasoning. It is easier saying ‘sore Indian losers’ than admitting ‘ okay we went overboard’.

  2. It was a pity reading posts about BCCI using its might to have Bucknor dropped and Bhajji’s ban suspended. If BCCI used its power, which it gets from cricket crazy fans like us, it would have used it to prepare a better itinerary for the tour (one practice match before the first test?). Even now, BCCI seems more or less satisfied with the ban not getting implemented in this series, when it should be gunning for revoking of the ban.

  3. BTW gb , pontings parents have had to change their phone no. due to too many abusive calls…………..

  4. Nice post GB. For all the cooling down that was done, something still rankles as wrong. We need a miracle win in Perth to actually pull us out of negativity here. (not saying we all are negative, just that circumstances by themselves are not providing any joy on their own).

    Watch this guys..
    http://hawkeyeview.blogspot.com/2008/01/sydney-test-monkeys-uncle-and-whole.html

    Bharath has made a few statements,got some support,then got ripped, then now has a fracas with Gaurav Sabnis. It is going to be fun. Well it already is, what with retaliatory posts and all.

  5. I seriously doubt that Harbhajan would have used the word ‘Monkey’! It just doesn’t make sense that an Indian, that too a Jat, abuses his tormentor with a stupid word like ‘Monkey’…

    “Teri Maaki ****” would have been more like it. No?

  6. Yes.Indians media is biased towards out team!! SO??????
    Everytime English would lose to a team- especially Asian teams, there would be a full-fledged campaign by the English press to smear the oppsition for “unfair means of defeating their side”. Chetan Sharma was labelled a chucker after he routed their batsmen in 1986. And greatest instance was 1992-93 Pakistan tour to England when Akram and Waqar destroyed a few English cricketing careers an reputations . Immediately, English scribes were up in arms with allegations of ball-doctoring . I remember the inimitable Boycott’s comment on this issues-” What ball tampering?? These guys can bowl england out if they had to bowl with oranges”

  7. Do you ,y the way , remember that Ricky Ponting had been one of the worst hotheads in the scene during his early years in international cricket.. a few instances I can remember( none of which resulted in censure from the authorities)- slamming his shoulder into Harbhajan on his way back after being dismissed by te latter in his debut ODI in Sharjah. Replays suggested clear intent and Punter actually stopped and waited till Bhajji was within striking distance!! And in another ODI, after being hit on the helmet by a Sreenath bouncer, the bowler politely approaches him to enquire about his well being, resulting in Punter striking back with a mouthful- so vicious that Indian captain had to complain to the umpire! I remember thi as a most Unsporting demonstration I have seen in my cricket viewing career- Ponting, face distorted i sneer, walking down the pitch screaming at a stunned Sree!!
    And several; occasions when even TV commentators took strong exception to his gestures and gesticulations after being given out- never once was he brought to the book for dissent!!!!! Sunny Gavaskar once , after one such instance involvig Ponting, had sarcastically demanded that ICC shoulddefine ” dissent” clearly since it varies so much from the dictionary. In that same match Nayan Mongia was fined for excessive appeal..

  8. Arnab, Please advice how we can send your articles to the aussie journalist gangs, ICC, BCCI (to act as an eye opener)
    Your posts are so good that I invariably start hoping that mainly the peopple concerened (& cornered)come across it .

  9. @Arnab:

    “…where an Australian gets away with the exact same offense (of claiming an illegal catch) for which an Asian (Rashid Latif) was handed out a match-ban.”

    You forgot to mention that the Match Referee is the same guy in both cases!!!

  10. I started writing a comment, but it got a bit complicated and ended up as this post –

    http://thekingslayersroom.blogspot.com/2008/01/values-of-icc.html

    The issues raised in the Sydney test have been so distorted that no one seems capable of keeping a hold on the important stuff. Its so typical of the ICC and Speed to come out and talk in veiled threats and try to shift the focus from the Aussies to the Indian team and BCCI. Its now up to the indian team and BCCI to ensure that this rhetoric does not result in another injustice towards us.

  11. Is there a way you could get this out in some tabloid or a news website ? Most Indian journalists have really disappointed on this issue, being anywhere between confused and misleading to totally jo-hujoor types. This one sums it nicely, with the exactly right amount of vitriol.

  12. For a person living in India, supporting the Indian team is an onerous task. The sheer deluge of nationalistic crap hurled at us through our TV sets, newspapers and websites makes some hope that the Indian team does badly (I guess the people in England will have a similar problem supporting the English football team), if nothing to just stop this nonsense that gets passed through by the blind editors/ producers.

    What happened during the test match was sad, no doubt. Australia won and India lost when a draw would’ve been a fair result. Cue endless, meaningless coverage of film stars (Arshad Warsi on IBN for God’s sake), celebrity cooks, arbit junta on the street talking about a test match they’d probably been too busy to watch on a Sunday afternoon.

    Most of the more opinionated people (including, i’m sure, some people who’re commenting on this thread) formed their twisted opinions based on the highlights on Sportcenter/ some jingoistic articles in TOI. The day a balanced, sensible view on any topic under the sun becomes the norm rather than the exception (and I have to thank Dileep Premachandran for his piece in guardian and Greg Baum from The Age; an aussie rag; for being the exceptions. Oh and some articles in Hindu too, except the ones by a certain Peter Roebuck) is the day supporting the Indian team would turn from being a chore to something actually enjoyable.

    And for people who actually consider the “amount of vitriol” in an article the qualifying parameter of it’s quality, remember that vitriol burns, and hurts, and we’d be guilty of exactly the same things the Aussies are accused of doing on the pitch.

  13. @Bongpondit: True.

    @Dipanjan: “guilt-laden” is right.

    @Akhil: As I said in my last post, the biggest responsibility for this fiasco has to be laid at the door of BCCI by even agreeing to have Bucknor on the tour. Not having practice matches is also bad but its a totally different issue altogether.

    @Sourideb: Yes that’s what I heard.

    @Kannan: Ah tall order. Sydney was our best chance.

    @The Walker: Yes sir, we have heard that before. So much so that I hear (of course its the TOI) that that will be the solution to the problem—Bhajji throws off the racist Level 3 tag and Mike Procter’s integrity is also not compromised.

    @Sid the Kid: Of course. Any loss in India is due to the weather, the bad food, the doctored pitches and of course bad umpiring. Always.

    @Anonymous: Mithun-da as ICC chief. Yes Ponting would come to bat wearing adult diapers.

    @Debasish Ghosh: I don’t think that they are not aware of the issues I have raised. They are just intentionally blind to it thats all.

    @Avishek: Yes that was a lovely article.

    @Shan: I assumed people knew.

    @KingSlayer: Of course, listening to Speed you would think that it’s India who have behaved like emm monk…I mean like naughty boys.

    @Vinay: Okay I had to edit that last thing out.

    @Anonymous: Dont know about that.

    @MK: Where would we be without balanced sensible Premchandisms….yes I wonder.

  14. For one, we’d have fewer anti aussie articles by British columnists (since we’re talking only in terms of conspiracy theories and obtuse speculation, I thought I’d join in on the Eureka moments). The BBC and Guardian websites only had stories criticizing the Aussies and the officials following the test match. One of them being Messrs Dileep’s:

    http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/01/07/australia_lose_friends_the_ump.html

    Of course, on that particular day, Dileep was only targeting the hard-knuckle poms who were in it for the bad aussies who had taken away the ashes from them. And two days later the Guardian chief decides that the Britsh are suddenly suffering from a post colonial confidence crisis, and it’s time for Dileep to lash out against the cocky Indians and provide the brits a much needed pick me up:

    http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/01/09/india_where_truth_is_up_for_gr.html

    At no point of time was Dileep trying to convey his own opinion, or was Guardian trying to uphold its journalistic integrity.

  15. This whole monkey chanting business doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Even if we accept for argument’s sake that Indians are all racist, can someone explain to me why:

    a) Never has a West Indies player ever complained of racist insults by a crowd or an Indian player when playing in India (if they have, I’d love if someone can let me know). I remember growing up in the 80s there were two non-Indian cricketers whose posters you were most likely to find in some teenage kid’s room – Imran Khan and Vivian Richards.

    b) Symonds does not look anything what the Indian stereotype of a black person is. In fact, before I read about his background, I assumed he was a white boy with a bit of a Rastafarian dreadlock fixation. I’ve seen plenty of those and that’s what Symonds looks like. Take his dreadlocks away and he’s indistinguishable from his teammates – at least to the average Indian eye.

    c) As several have pointed out, monkey is not a racial insult in India (it is in the West). I’ve heard people say monkey and mean ugly and stupid, but never as something racial charged.

    This is a classic case of projection – you see only what you want to see.

  16. pefect analysis of the situation. the root cause is that it is much much easier to say you are wrong than saying “I am sorry”. but did u see the coverage that indian media gave to the topic~~~wow~~~~

  17. INTIMIDATION BY DESIGN
    Current Australian cricketers are no role models. In fact, they are more at home in narrow racial and anti-social settings, writes Heather Goodall…
    Iconic Australian sportspeople, such as Herb Elliot, Rob de Castella, John Bertram, Ron Barassi, Jill McIntosh and Jeff Lawson have been reported expressing their deep concern at the Australian Test team’s on-field behaviour. They are the most eminent faces of the unprecedented wave of worried Australians who are overwhelming the press, television and online polling in high numbers (upto 83 per cent in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph polling) to express their disappointment in the Australian Test side. I would argue that the Australian public’s displeasure stems not only from a growing rejection of this team’s well-known style of sledging and other aggressive on-field behaviour, but also from growing anger at the image created by the revenue-raising mechanisms the sport chooses which use cricketers’ poor on- and off-field behaviour to market socially damaging commercial products. Australians just might be growing sick and tired of both.

    As an Australian parent with a family which loves to play and follow sports including cricket, we watched the Sydney Test like most others on the only available free-to-air broadcaster, the commercial Channel 9. Here viewers get the lot: vision, commentary and all the advertisements in between. Media research demonstrates that it is this overall broadcast pattern, not just the actual programme, which shapes the viewers’ understanding of what they see. The Channel 9 telecast gave a disturbing portrait of values directly associated with and apparently endorsed by elite Australian cricketers.

    Peter Luck of the Sydney Morning Herald was angered at the cheapening of the Australian team’s image by the fried chicken ads which flooded the Channel 9 broadcast, but he did not even mention the sickening beer advertisement that played over and over for the five days of the match, celebrating quite openly the on-field intimidation and the notorious and widely publicized off-field exploits of a famous, recently-retired Aussie spin bowler. The cricketer takes part in the ad in a number of scenes, one in a pub with another Australian cricketer while a voice over says roughly, but in an unmistakable sexual and homophobic reference: “X could make almost any body turn”, and then one where he is shown with his framed and garlanded genital protector to the voice over: “And while now he might have to hang up the box, we can still raise a pint to Australia’s favourite son”.

    We can look more closely at the ads and commentary surrounding the commercial vision of the Test to compare them with the claims advanced by Australians that they are seeking to oppose racism in sport. This is an important goal, but where was the racial diversity in the Channel 9 depiction of the Australian cricket-watching public? Where in the food ads or the barbeque scenes could be found the many eager sports fans from across a now-diverse Australian population whose backgrounds lie in cricket-loving but non-European countries, like those of Asia and the rest of the world? Where in the advertising scenes of game crowds and TV-watchers are the aboriginal people whose countrymen led the first Australian cricket tour to the United Kingdom in 1868? The message to viewers on the commercial channel is clear: this is a game enjoyed by Anglo Australians only. The commentators employed by Channel 9 reflected the same narrow racial limits, despite their different nationalities. Only occasionally was an Indian commentator invited onto the program. Yet the public broadcaster, the ABC, was able to employ an authoritative, incisive and entertaining Indian commentator on its radio broadcasts throughout the Test and drew actively on some of the Indian sports journalists travelling with the touring side. Why were non-European and particularly Indian faces and voices so rare on the commercial broadcaster?

    Some Australian media are complaining that “bullying” India is “holding cricket to ransom” by demanding reasonable standards of behaviour on the field. Yet India is now the major player in world cricket, not only because it has a high audience and therefore high capital investments in the sport, but mainly because eager Indian children, young adults and their families, are lining up in parks across the subcontinent to learn and enjoy a game which continues to inspire them to play to high standards of skill and sportsmanship.

    As a parent in Australia, I can no longer encourage children to take up a sport, which promotes as role models these images of recent top Australian cricket players on and off the field: intimidatory, indisciplined and exploitative publicity-seekers in situations of unrealistic racial homogeneity. There was little evidence of any recognition, let alone invitations for the children of Australia’s many citizens who have Asian and other non-European backgrounds in cricket-loving cultures. Australia is at present desperately trying to stem the epidemic of obesity afflicting all developed nations by limiting the exposure of children to junk food. Even more urgent has been the national campaign to combat the abuse of drugs and alcohol. A related campaign endorsed by sportspeople aims to change severely high rates of family violence, much of it fuelled by alcohol. No matter how brilliant their cricket or how great their claim to defending racial tolerance, the men of the current and recent Australian teams have no place as role models if they continue to endorse commercial depictions of such deeply anti-social activities in such narrow racial settings.

    Other elite Australian sports, whether amateur or professional, are not advertised in this anti-social and racially distorted way. Take ads for competitions in swimming, hockey, soccer, golf, netball, Australian-rules football. Even the pressure on Rugby League football to advertise with alcohol and junk food products is being challenged by courageous acts like the recent South Sydney Leagues Club decision to revive its club house as a genuine sport- and family-friendly centre.

    Are the Channel 9 broadcasts the image of Australian cricketers that Captain Ponting and the Australian Cricket Board are trying to promote? Or do their high incomes mean that they no longer care? Is this the ‘great Australian sporting tradition’ we are meant to embrace? When will the Australian cricketing authorities step in to demand a responsible approach from the corporations which are making so much money out of cricket but doing little more than undermine it in return, as the extraordinarily negative public reaction to the Australian team this Test controversy is suggesting?

    The few senior cricketers and sports-writers who have defended the values of Australia’s First XI appear to be in a minority. For the rest of us, the Australian cricket team has long since lost its honour, on and off the field, in a welter of money. The children taking up the game are the ones who are going to vote with their feet. In this respect it is India, not Australia, which will hold the future of the game.

    The author is professor, faculty of arts and social science, University of Technology, Sydney, and co-author of Racism, Ethnicity and the Media

    Courtesy: The Telegraph, 10th January 2008

  18. What a sad world it is when I am forced to agree with Prem Panicker’s views!

    That said, I’ve been discussing this test with Aussies on a forum, and to a man they’re completely disgusted with Ponting & Clarke’s behaviour, and they consider Symonds to be a sissy for complaining about feeling “hurt” when something was said to him.

    I have some faith left in the spirit of the game.

  19. I feel sorry for Andrew Symonds.

    Partly because his native Australian race was “ethnically cleansed” by the Queen’s messengers and partly because after centuries of being called “monkey” by their white Australian masters it is not surprising someone like Andrew hears this word (almost expects it) at the drop of a hat. Perhaps he needs to see a shrink. What also worries me is that white thing he rubs around his mouth at all times, be it rain, cloud, sunshine night or day. I’m prepared to bet he even sleeps with it. Not to mention those hair locks.. What an effort it must be to tie and untie them each night for 5 hours. Now wonder he’s cranky!

    I agree with you completely. I also liked poor ol Boycott’s interview on the BBC site.

  20. ” Yep. That guy who took a donkey and put a placard of “I am Bucknor” on its neck is a Mullah Omar. ”
    too good …

    This is the way Americans can catch Mullah Omar. They should play a soccer match against Afghans and then beat them by cheating and then the guy who places a placard on the donkey is Mullah Omar….and the guy burning the effigies of referee could be Bin Laden.

    I seriously wish that India win or at least draw one the remaining match, but in all probability it is not going to happen. No matter what, Australians are still better cricket players than us.

  21. “his native Australian race”

    Sidehow Bob, Symonds was adopted by white English parents who migrated to Australia, but it is speculated that one of his biological parents was from the West Indies.

    This may or may not be true (which makes the whole business of him being the only player of colour on the Australian team very curious indeed).

    But certainly he has nothing to do with the Australian aboriginals.

    And those who have dreadlocks never untie them. That’s the whole point.

  22. I recently heard that Harbhajan actually said “maa ki….” and not “monkey”, and knowing how often Punjabis (me being one) use this particular phrase, I wonder if this is what happened, LOL.

  23. Just the other day I was watcvhing Hitz in Star Cricket where the NZ-Aus recent series ws being shown. Michael Clarke took a ‘catch’ whcih was worser than the ganguly one. the guy had the confidence n guts to throw up the ball in the air immediately.. So its not the first time, guys!!

  24. Everyone noticed Benson and Bucknor making those horrendous calls, but has anyone wondered how the Australian team has mastered the art of pressurizing the umpires to get the decisions out of them whenever they need them. The fact that so many wrong decisions were made in a game brings this issue to the forefront. The author of the article below says, “Test series Down Under have followed a pattern in recent times: the touring team struggles to hold its own against the superior home team; then, at vital moments when the beleaguered tourists have a chance of saving the game or winning it, they get a shocker. Or two. Or three. In the Sydney Test, the Indians lost count”

    And every time it is the best batsman from the opposition team that is targeted, ever wondered how Sangakkara was robbed not so long back…no wonder Bob Woolmer was frustrated with the biased umpiring in the land of the Oz. This will surely make you think about how the Australians have been using their appealing to influence the umpires into making incorrect decisions

    http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20080121&fname=Cover Story (F)&sid=7

  25. well said. there is another problem with this continuing hoopla – it takes something serious like racism, and trivializes it to the point of playground name calling. being prejudiced against someone who is different from you is a rather universal trait – heck, the sentinelese will kill you if you go to their island – but very few cultures have really acted on that impulse quite in the way that colonial powers had. calling others racist at the drop of a hat is to blur that important distinction.

    btw, saying bucknor=donkey, isn’t that racist?

  26. Hi GB

    My first post. Have been reading your blog for over a year now and have enjoyed (not always agreed tho’) your cricket posts most. Also, heartening to note that of all indian bloggers/journos that I have read, you are the only one who uses the word “angst” correctly to mean anxiety and not anger, as almost everyone else does.

    Kudos and keep up the oz blitzkreig (sp?). They’ve had it coming a long long time now, as they say in texas.

    SanjayG

  27. Things have seemed cooled down Down Under. When Edmund Hillary died a few days ago, I remembered him, Tenzing and GB, the last one having scaled the Everest as far as blogging is concerned, having really knocked some bastards off in the course of reaching the summit. And fleetingly, just fleetingly, I thought, “If I was Brad Hogg, I would use Hillary’s comment to justify “bastards”. And bingo, I see thats whats George Bradley’s been thinking! 🙂
    http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,23047000-23212,00.html

    Anyway, Rhianna Ponting had just stuffed a handful of shopping and beauty parlor bills in Ricky’s hands. This had a strange effect on him. In a reflex action, he called up his agent and they did a speculation on future cash flows from India in the near future. Then he thought of “doing things a bit differently” and went all out in order to broker a peace deal. Also, aggression would not be that necessary in WACA, with the pitch purportedly returning to its bounciest best. And if they go 3-0 up at WACA, then Adelaide will be a dead rubber. Shaun Tait would surely play here. Yuvraj Singh’s bad form Viru’s 2 chance laden 100 means Indian battting will see Dinesh karthik, a player whom I like a lot, inducted in the 11. But what about the bowling? VRV is a waste of a bowler. Pankaj Singh is still unknown. Will India risk an inexperienced 3rd seamer. Or will they go with harbhajan? Finger spinner who have flighted the Waca have a chance of success in 2nd success. But its difficult to see a wrist spinner getting success here, this being the worst ground in Oz for Warnie.

    Meanwhile Clarke acknowledges his folishness at the crease but not his gamesmanship while catching as that will be tantamount to giving off the Aussie strategy of using theatrics to claim disputed catches at the word of the fielder.
    “He also said he was “100 per cent positive” he caught Sourav Ganguly at second slip as the game built to a controversial climax on day five.” LOL

    In a “magnanimous” gesture, the Hogg charge has been withdrawan. Which means, Harbhajan will be exonerated soon. But I still Anil Kumble should still scrap that deal about catching which he had with Ricky Ponting. None of the previous touring team’s captains agreed to that. I wonder why Kumble agreed to it.

  28. Greg Matthews:

    “”This would never have happened under Taylor. Mark is a man of unbelievable integrity. He had a great ability to talk to people, not at them, and even though he had some fiery characters in his team, he did a phenomenal job through his humility and standing as a human being.

    “Ricky gets enormous accolades through his performances on the field. But on this issue, he has to wear some responsibility.”

    True!

    Meanwhile, it seems the Aussies cant still forgive Saurav Ganguly for his ‘crime’ of winning against Australia.

    Ricky Ponting ‘s latest column:
    http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,23047087-23212,00.html

    Ganguly leads bad-boy race

    By Peter Badel
    January 13, 2008

    THEY have protested their innocence throughout the racism saga, but besieged India is the worst behaved team in world cricket – according to official ICC data.

    As the tourists persist with threats to abort their tour, official ICC data shows India have faced more sanctions than any Test-playing rival over the past 10 years.

    Former India captain Sourav Ganguly is the game’s undisputed problem child, being hauled over the coals by the governing body a record 12 times.

    Overall, India players have been charged for 43 infringements since 1997 for offences including intimidating umpires, abusing rival players, ball tampering, time wasting and dissent.

    Of the touring party, five Indians have copped fines or suspensions – Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh.

    The rap sheet is damning evidence the Indians are anything but choirboys as they continue to vehemently deny spinner Harbhajan is guilty of racially abusing Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds.

    Despite the raft of indiscretions, Indian cricket board vice-president Lalit Modi said the sub-continent powerhouse did not have an attitude problem.

    “Sometimes you see sides carry on when the stakes are high, but we are not one of them,” Modi said from India.

    “I am sure there have been incidents with the Indian team in the past, but in the two years I have been on the board, I have not seen such behaviour problems with our team.

    “I am not privy to the facts you have. We have not done such research, but our boys are generally well behaved.

    “Most of our players are very good. In the past, there was some incidents involving Ganguly, but he has not had an issue for some time.

    “If our players are fined or reprimanded, what is it for? Sometimes it can be wasting time or misconduct towards umpires. Not every offence is serious.”

    Analysis of the ICC’s code of conduct breaches over the past decade show:

    ONLY Pakistan came close to India’s ill-discipline with 39 offences, led by retired batsman Inzamam-ul-Haq, who was hauled up 11 times.

    DESPITE claims they have worse conduct issues than India, Australia are ranked fourth with 25 infringements. Glenn McGrath (six), Ricky Ponting (four), Adam Gilchrist (four) and Brett Lee (three) are the serial offenders.

    HARBHAJAN has a history of poor conduct. The first of his five offences came in 1998, when he was fined 50 per cent of his match fee for abusing Ponting after having him stumped.

    INDIA pace bowler Shanth Sreesanth is emerging as cricket’s next bad boy. Ruled out of the Test series with injury, Sreesanth was charged four times in nine months between December 2006 and September 2007.

    DRAVID and Tendulkar, regarded as two of the most squeaky-clean figures in world cricket, have been caught ball tampering. Tendulkar was fined 75 per cent of his match fee in 2001, while Dravid was fined 50 per cent for altering the ball’s condition in a one-dayer against Zimbabwe in Brisbane in 2004.

    However, the main culprit is Ganguly. The former skipper has forked out about $50,000 in fines for offences ranging from abusing players and umpires to bringing the game into disrepute for failing to control his team.

    In a 15-month period between 2004 and ’05, Ganguly committed a staggering five breaches – his final act was for unfair play for time wasting that saw him banned for four one-day games.

    Since his return to the Test side last year, Ganguly has kept a clean slate, but he flagged India’s mindset last month when he said his side would not be bullied by the home team.

    “That is not a worry for us,” said Ganguly following a drama-charged seven-match one-day series in India.

    “What happened in India for me is in the past, but for Australia, maybe not. They will try to pressure us and they may say some things but we have many senior players who can handle that.

    “Winning in Australia is always difficult, but we are confident.

    “This is probably the most experienced Indian team to come to Australia in quite a while. We know what to expect from them.”

    West Indies great Michael Holding, who travels as a commentator, said India were not the worst-behaved team.

    “I have seen a lot of all the teams and I don’t find India to be the worst, not at all,” he said.

    “When I played against India, with their top spinners, they were quite aggressive.

    “I wouldn’t say they are well behaved, but they are not the worst. These days there are not too many well-behaved teams in world cricket.

    “Unfortunately, the game has become win at all costs.”

    Sunday Herald Sun

    —–

  29. Dileep Premachadran made a real ass of himself. Perhaps these guys think that no Indian would read these articles.

    Dileep:
    “Let’s take a look at Lalor’s latest column, and see how he has it in for those innocent Indians. “When Symonds was subjected to shameful monkey chants at three one-day international matches in India, the authorities denied it was happening until shown photographic proof,” he writes. True? Er, yes.

    But he cleverly ignores the next sentence of lalor:
    “It now seems that they require a sound recording of this event before acknowledging it.”

    WTF. So if someone has a history of crime, he can be immediately accused of recidivism upon a complaint, solely because he aint a first timer? How much more bs can we get?

    Gavaskar:

    “Millions of Indians want to know if [it] was a ‘white man’ taking the ‘white man’s’ word against that of the ‘brown man’,” Gavaskar wrote. “Quite simply if there was no audio evidence nor did the officials hear anything then the charge did not stand.

    “This is what has incensed the millions of Indians who are flabbergasted that the word of one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Sachin Tendulkar, was not accepted. In effect, Tendulkar has been branded a liar by the match referee.”

    The fact is that since no one has come up and patted Dileep on the back and said, “You are a class apart from Indian jounos”, he decided to do that himself, much like Amit Verma’s column from 2005. There is no better way of blog whoring that writing an Indo pak report with your blog advertisements at the bottom. And there is no bigger joke than when plagiarists call other people plagiarists. I laugh at the way Verma sneers at the ‘politburo’ though. However, the ‘politboro’ however probably considered his output too simplictic, self fooling, repetitive, playing to the gallery, banal, copied, infantile regressive, iteratively pointing to the same old shit and had took pity on him to even make a rejoinder! Some people are just too insignificant to take a condescending attitude on, they may say.

    “What is however right is writing a “balanced” piece that coincidentally happens to appeal to an English/Australian audience in a media outlet that caters to them.”
    Very well said GB.

    For those of you who can read Bengali:

    http://www.anandabazar.com/archive/1080110/10edit5.htm

  30. yourfan2:
    Please use your own blog to badmouth others. If you have something against this Verma guy, go and write it on his blog. What the hell’s the context for your childish rant here?

  31. @anon- How would you like if I told you that since GB is number 1 blogger of India (see awards tab), I choose to write on the commentspace of the leader than a follower. Now that reply doesn’t make you very happy does it? Heh. Peevishness unlimited. The topic was journalists belittling their brethren and seeking a moral high ground. So the reference came up in that context. In fact this Cricinfo-Ganguly thing was a classic case for discussion in this regard and kudos to GB for digging out the Premachandran piece. But I can see how exactly my comment has hit you. But just out of curiosity, was this 2 cents (where is the blockquote preceding it?) a desperate attempt to send out an plea/ indirect message to GB- “Enough is enough. Forget about Cricinfo and the sinsiter cabal? And their propaganda against Ganguly? Do not mention any of the double standards that Cricinfo ‘experts’. Why cant you forget that it was a business move when we claimed that he malingered in Nagpur especially when he has now played with success on Australian, English and South african wickets?”

    If that is the case, then you are clearly mistaken. I foresee a date when a white paper/case study will be taught in journalism classes “Cricinfo and the Ganguly episode: a study of self proclaimed journalism excellence, V for vendetta, P for propaganda and R for self- proclaimed righteousness.” The references of course shall be made- again and again and again. Of course, in “proper context”.

  32. @GB- Read this. I am sure you will enjoy this. From TOI.

    The agony of being Bengali
    13 Jan 2008, 0005 hrs IST,Biswadeep Ghosh,TNN

    The fellow is thinking of Nagma always, and his mad Bengali fans think he is better than Sachin’. Another one you might have heard—’Since Ganguly has been dropped, there is no way we can ask any Bong the score’.

    It seems everybody hates the Bengali cricket fan and his rumoured obsession with all things Bengali. It was never easy for him to watch cricket in peace with others but the trauma became acute when Ganguly began to lose his touch . Mediocre bowlers could hope to take his wicket. The footwork was shaky, his timing had abandoned him and he became a mere shadow of the man he once was. All around, there was some kind of glee.

    When Sourav was finally dropped, many Bengalis watching cricket with assorted groups of friends were compelled to live with statements like, “Dada, your dada is out of the team. Now, he would not come back. Ever.” The word ‘Dada’ suddenly did not sound like any other word. It had become a brick with a thick coating of vitriolic scorn. It hurt. But, slowly, he was forgotten. And, peace returned to the life of every Bengali. He could now watch the Indian team win or lose without the sight of Sourav coming out to bat. When the cherry kissed the inside edge of Sachin Tendulkar’s bat and hit the stumps, everyone went ‘Godddd’. So did the Bengali who was no longer marked by everyone around the television as a Bong.

    The peace did not last long. The left-hander wriggled his way back into the Indian squad. He is still there, scoring runs and refusing to throw his wicket away. The jibes have returned.

    Sitting near the television some guy now whispers, “Dada is playing really well, and even hitting boundaries through the leg side regularly. You are enjoying Dada’s performances, aren’t you?” A friend had told this writer once, “Dada, I am sure you want Sourav to break Sachin’s records.” How do you react to something as stupid as this? Every lover of the game, particularly those who believe that a 35-year-old player with resolve can play for a couple of more years, ought to savour Ganguly’s return to form. Correction, everyone should, except Bengalis whose appreciation of Ganguly’s return is viewed as hopeless jingoism.

    So, what can this cricket lover do? It is alright if he rejoices when Sachin Tendulkar scores a ton, or mourns when Rahul Dravid gets castled by an innocuous full toss. Such reactions will be viewed as patriotic manifestations of cricketing passion. When Ganguly takes guard, however, and follows it up by caressing the ball through the covers, his Bengali fan needs to retreat towards his cabin at the workplace. He has to hide and watch the match in isolation or seek refuge in the loneliness of internet.

    The suggestion, however, is not that the average Bengali does not love Sourav. He does. The entire Bengali population was overjoyed when Sourav scored his first century in his first ever test; and the whole state was shocked when he was sacked; and ecstatic when he returned to the team and began batting well all over again.

    Mumbai’s Shivaji Park alone has produced more international level players than all of Bengal. So it is natural that Bengalis would celebrate the few sporting heroes it has. That many people fail to understand the Bengali is a manifestation of parochialism, a chronic disease that Bengalis are famously associated with.

    The life of the harassed Bengali cricket fan goes on today in the apologetic glances he throws at the television set in his office when Dada is batting. Ganguly has never been more entertaining to watch. He is now a battle-scarred veteran who knows the value of being in the Indian squad. He doesn’t get perturbed by the short ball, milks the bowlers through the leg side, and plays the two roles of the subdued second fiddle and the dominant partner with consummate ease.

    Watching such cricketing pyrotechnics is fun till someone close by murmurs, “Hey, did you watch Tendulkar bat?” If you have, that is supposed to be natural. If you haven’t, well, it means you’re a Bengali.

  33. You were able to relay all the anger of Indian cricket followers on the current affairs down under effectively. I came across this article on Cricinfo today which pissed me off a little more. The author – Mohapatra has this tone when talking about the BCCI’s decision to support Harbhajan that seems to suggest it is against Kumble’s and that venerable disciple of Gandhiji – the great messiah of peace Mr. Ponting’s ambition to go on with the game. Even though I am not a huge fan of the BCCI officials, I do think their effort is genuine this time.

  34. http://blogs.news.com.au/jackmarxlive/index.php/news/comments/the_trouble_with_black_and_white_racism/P20/

    “We white Australians can scarcely imagine how infuriating this would be for the Indians, now officially branded as racist by the team that wrote the book and beat them with it for decades. They must feel like Jews being sued by neo-Nazis, the Australian captain cast as an upright crusader against racism, when in fact he is guilty of gross insensitivity to the larger racial context. A word delivered in the heat of a private on-field spat, which would otherwise never have been publicly heard, has now divided nations, the racially downtrodden ultimately rewarded for their years of patience by being reviled as the racist aggressors. Zero tolerance, take a bow.”

  35. # Some Indian journos supporting the overtly arrogant and ill-mannered Aussies…

    # Many Aussies harshly criticizing their own team and supporting Indians…

    # A captain…(in)famous for claiming grassed catches, appealing without any apparent reason and leading a team full of players not having the word ‘ethics’ in their dictionary…announcing his integrity can not be questioned…

    # A school-drop-out sardar who barely speaks any English being punished for making racist remarks in English to an English-speaking Aussie…

    # A potentially blind and deaf and unapologetically biased (therefore physically and mentally challenged) man who should be getting special grant, pension and other facilities from his past employers and the Government of his country and spending some quality time with his grandchildren at home is in ICC’s ‘Elite’ panel of eight umpires….

    # Somebody whose name sounds like ‘oxymoron’ not being able to make the righ decision even after watching several slow-motion TV replays…

    phew…!!! God !!! what is the world coming to !!!

  36. dEbOLiN : “phew…!!! God !!! what is the world coming to !!!”

    Well, its a funny old world, Debolin, where :-

    (a) The best-loved rapper is white
    (b) The best-loved golfer is black
    (c) The French accuse others (USA) of ‘arrogance’, &
    (d) Germany is carefully avoiding the many opportunities of going to war.

    And oh, yes, where Pakistan & Saudi Arabia are described as front-line partners in the fight AGAINST terrorism !! 😦

    ——————————————————————————–
    « Kangaroo Courts and Bent Umpires
    ——————————————————————————–

  37. Does India know how to win a test match asks Robert Craddock…

    I really hope that we show them we do…

  38. “Throughout the past fortnight the Australians have been trying to steer a course between antagonism and restraint. Yesterday they found it. Perhaps they had been trying too hard to repair the damage done in Sydney. Not that Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds were pushovers on the opening days. Nor did their appeals lack vigour. But menace was missing. Australia needed to rediscover their mongrel without losing their manners. It is a fine line and desperately difficult to keep, but cricket is the most ungovernable of games, owing to the fraught nature of its constituent parts.”

    Shamed by a gutsy tailender, India’s celebrated batting order wilted in the face of the antipodean surge. It was hard to avoid thinking that hthey have aged together. Most of them were beaten on the front foot. Virender Sehwag imitated his opening partner by driving with a stiff front leg. Rahul Dravid probed at a delivery better left alone, and Tendulkar was confounded by a fast, straight ball. For a batsman of his class, Tendulkar loses his timbers or is trapped plumb in front surprisingly often.

    Sourav Ganguly wafted at a swinging delivery demanding closer scrutiny. He has had a poor match and illness alone cannot account for his weak work with the willow. His inability to transfer his weight forward into his strokes brought about his downfall. He seems to play better when he is arguing with someone.”

    Only one person can write like

    that.

  39. Surreal.

    Dream sequence 1: 2nd day afternoon. The swinging ball. 3 young seamers bowling out of their skins. Much famed Aussie batting under fire. Role reversal. This was supposed to be the scorecard of the Indian batting. This was WACA! Fightback followed by another dream within a dream sequence- first Kumble getting Symonds against the run of play and then RP getting Gilchrist with that classic ball.

    Dream sequence 2: 3rd day late afternoon. Golden antipodean sunshine beats down at the WACA ground. The channel 9 camera shows a close up of Phil Jaques’s flummoxed countenance. Looks of a fish out of water. He has just dug out a superb yorker from Pathan. There was an air of inevitability about the next ball. Perfectly pitched. Movement off the air. Pathan seemed destined to bowl it as much as Jacques seemed destined to edge it. Edged to Jaffer at 4th slip. Wasim would have been proud.

    Dream sequence 3: 4th day morning. A 19 year old who had lost his run up the previous day bowling to the world’s best batsman. Perfect WACA length. Bounce and carry. Sharp movement into the body of Ponting, one of the best player against fast bowling ever. But tell that to CEL Ambrose. And just ask the Aussies of that 7-1 spell in 1993. It is this kind of disconcerting bowling which makes any Aussie from that era, be it Waugh or Border, to unhesitatingly acknowledge Ambrose as the best fast bowler that they had played against. At 6’5″, Ishant Sharma in the 10th over of his great spell, bowled an Ambrose-at-his-devastating- best ball. Nostalgia. Same length and most importantly, this one held its line. And Ponting did what many Aussies before him had been forced to do again and again by that great fast bowler- edge it. Ponting gone. And you know that the Aussies may be down but are never out. But one just could not ignore the feeling seeping through that even though there were a few more battles to be fought, this particular war had been won.

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