Saturday, March 28, 2009

A Test Match that will be remembered

India's Tour of Australia- Sydney Test Match
*The opinion expressed here is personal and should not be taken offensively by anyone as it is not with the intention to raise any controversy of any kind.
In just my previous post,after the First Test Match, having praised the Aussies quite profusely, a huge controversy has arisen after the second Test Match between India and Australia, where the attitude of the Australian players has been questioned. Well that’s how things usually turn out to be.

The hearing after the controversial incident
A lot of things have happened in the past few days in Cricket, with so many opinions from ex-players and many decisions being taken and everyone having their own version and interpretation and analysis of what has happened and why it has happened and what not. Even if I just cover all that has taken place, it would be a huge post by my standards too. But I am not going to do that. You must have already read all that in the newspapers and in the TV news channels who are always coming up with their opinion polls and everything. Cricket has definitely been in the limelight and not for the right reasons, with even Australia’s Tennis player - Hewitt saying he feels like the Indian cricketers, as in being done in by the poor umpiring!..........

The dubious decisions in the match

But I only feel that what I had written about the Australian team in my previous post in fact is justified. It only proves that they are very aggressive. No one really knows what the exact truth is about the incidents and what had really happened. I even read a funny thing in the newspapers that if calling ‘monkey’ amounts to a racist comment then the Australians fondly call Michael Clarke as ‘pup’. And it said that, so going by the same logic, it would be racial too as there is not much difference between calling someone a monkey or a dog! It’s funny what people can come up with and going by logic it is justified too. And I have no idea how people came up with calling Andrew Symonds monkey. My father asked me what has calling him monkey got to do with his race or origin or being racial? I really did not know other than he had Caribbean parents. In fact going by the theory of Charles Darwin, our ancestors were in fact monkeys. So in a way it has got to do with the origins or race but that applies to everyone then. And also India is famous for its great ‘monkey god’ – Hanuman who is worshipped by many, but I feel this argument is not valid because I don’t think anyone in India would be happy to be called a monkey either. Perhaps if you remind him of Hanuman, he might try and be ok with it which I still doubt but that is just being clever by the abuser!
But all these things are just in the hind sight kind of trying to mildly justify what has happened or trying to find out why all this fuss in the first place. But all this is of no use. What is important is not what was said but the intention behind it is what matters more because Allan Border had said that it is just a difference of culture between the sides as he said calling someone a ‘lucky bastard’ in Australia wouldn’t bother anyone, referring to the charge against Hogg; well so would be the case in India too because it is not with the word as much as it has to do with the intention. The lucky word before it completely changes the meaning and intention because we would use that when someone has done well, whereas Hogg used it in a completely different sense.

Controversial umpire Steve Bucknor

In the case of Steve Bucknor, (who incidentally shares his birth day with me) it is really enigmatic. It is quite obvious that he does seem to have ‘bad umpiring days’ especially against India. I really don’t know how or why that happens. But he has clearly been making too many incorrect decisions to be in the ICC’s Elite Panel. Only because ICC is in a bit of a crunch as there aren’t too many umpires around otherwise going by his standard of umpiring, he would have been out by now, but his previous reputation and experience and seniority would have mattered too and could have come in the way but really it is time for him to retire now. Even the best in the world Simon Taufel can have a bad day but definitely not such shockers as Bucknor. I feel that if the Indians had appealed against him a long time ago and if he wasn't here, much of the problem of this match wouldn't have arisen in the first place. And this issue of technology does keeping raising its hood ever so often as soon as there as some doubtful decisions. And then things again settle for some time. But the truth is no one really has a solution to it and opinions are clearly divided even among the greats of the game.

The spat involving Harbhajan Singh

Sunil Gavaskar is not someone who is particularly fond of the Aussies- if not their game, than their other aspects and he questioned the Australians and their captain Ponting taking the case to the referee when they talk about keeping all that has happened in the field, there itself. Some have said that they are not Cricketers but a ‘pack of wild dogs’ who would do anything to win and others have questioned their attitude and suggesting that they need a little counseling.
While watching the game, I was obviously saddened and angered by what was happening in the game but at the same time, I watched the last session with a lot of interest. What I was interested in was the way the Aussies would approach the last session. Almost everyone would have said that the Aussies had left the declaration far too late and they might just miss out on a win and there were a lot of speculations the day before about the target they would set for India whether it would be a carrot dangling. But I was pretty sure that they wouldn't set a target which India would feel they can achieve. That's the way they play. Infact Hayden said before the last day that India had no chance of winning. I noticed that at no time was the body language of the Australian players down. They weren't getting irritated or frustrated when Kumble was doing well with Harbhajan and others. Though we know what Hogg said to Kumble. Even Lee and Hogg were ineffective and so Ponting just tossed the ball to Clarke and he did it with ease. This was the most amazing part for me. I don't think other teams could have won even from the point when Kumble and Harbhajan were batting. Australians just went about perfectly and their interview afterwards was even amazing to hear. Clarke said that they did not think they would win when he came on to bowl! Now the players can be diplomatic and we can never be sure that what they say in the interview is what they really feel but still it is amazing to hear them.
Now about the incidents, no one can really say what is wrong or right and who should have done what but the fact is a lot has already happened and we and Cricket in general would do well to learn from it and be ready and prepared for such future instances.
All this just makes me wonder how much the game has changed since it came into being. From being called the Gentleman’s game, it has changed a lot as money has come in and it definitely is a money-spinner. It has become a ‘sport’ from a ‘game’ where results matter more than just the enjoyment of playing. All games originate for enjoyment and gradually turn into a sport when money comes in and results matter so much more. I guess that is what happens to every game eventually when it becomes a sport!
Fact - Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world and is played in over 130 countries
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