Monday, 7 January 2008

It's just not cricket...anymore

Whoever said cricket was a gentleman's game, would have been left scratching their head over the shenanigans this weekend down under. For the first time in the series India applied some pressure on the Aussies, and may have caused an upset if the standard of umpiring had been to the level it is expected at an international test match. But instead of talking about what a great match it was, we find ourselves embroiled in one of the biggest controversies since perhaps the ball tampering uproar.

I have some sympathy with India in that the umpiring was poor and most of the important and match changing decisions went against them. Then there was some unsportsmanship behaviour by the Aussies (claiming a catch when it appeared to be a grounded catch, yet the umpire taking the word of Ricky Ponting as gospel).

Then the major incident involving Harbhajan and Symonds, in which it is alleged that Singh called Symonds a 'Monkey' as a racial insult. If Harbhajan used the word as an insult in a racial way, then fair enough he should be banned for longer than 3 matches, undoubtedly, as there is no room in the game for such behaviour. However, there does not seem to be any real evidence to support this. Neither of the umpires heard it, Tendulkar said he didn't hear it, Gilchrist said he didn't, so we have Clarke and Hayden supporting Symonds saying they heard it. I don't feel that as a match referee you can really make a decision when you only have the words of players from either side to go by.

Having said all that, all the injustices the Indians have faced, does not mean they can cancel the tour in my eyes. They have the right to appeal, and go through the proper channels, but cancelling the tour is not the solution. They need to take the higher moral ground. Do their talking on the pitch, that's where cricket is played funnily enough. Sledging has been a part of game since way back, but its when you over step the limits of sledging. The Aussies are no strangers to the art of sledging, in fact we could argue that they are the masters.

Back to the cricket, as I've mentioned before on this blog, India need to bring back in Shewag, as the openers are not seeing off the new ball. Yuvraj, having been accommodated at the expense of an opener, is not really pulling up any trees. Either him or Jaffer should be dropped from the next match.

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