When I first heard of Harbhajan Singh being banned for three tests following his alleged racial remarks at Symonds in the last test match between India and Australia. The first thoughts that came to my mind were a feeling of dÃ©jÃ vu ala Oval gate. As was the case back then, proven later on in court much to the chagrin of the holy supporters of cricket in England. A sub continental team was hung at the gate without any proper evidence.Â
The team this time around is India, who although having an emotionally charged series with the Aussies when they toured India, do Â still come across as a much more demure team than the Aussies. Or perhaps that is the case to me since I am from the sub continent and thus understand what we consider insulting while Australia does not.Â Harbajhan Singh is reported to have called Symonds a monkey on field, which he and his team mates vehemently denied.Â Thus the case before the match referee was specifically Symondâ€™s and his Aussie team mates saying Bhaji did it while Tendulkar and the other Indian players saying he did not.
What then made the ICC Match referee decide in the favor of the Australians? Without any proper footage or audio evidence to have suggested that Bhaji actually made those remarks. While nothing was done by this body when the Aussies â€œpushed offâ€ an Indian official from stage after winning their last tour? This is the point which has now been taken up by the BCCI and the Indian team management and the current tour lies suspended. Ponting and his men on the other hand are acting like their normal holier than thou selves and claiming they have done nothing wrong and that it is not a big deal. The whole point is the Referee believing the Aussies over the Indians is much more of an â€œinsult feltâ€ to the Indians then the actual disciplinary action.
As far as sledging and on field antics are concerned, although Team Australia has gotten less disciplinary actions against them on the record, they are second to none in this facet of the game. They are known to use sledging and any psychological tactics necessary to dismantle an oppositionâ€™s concentration and take a winning edge on the field. So was this basically another aggression on the Indian Physic which went wrong? Or did Bhaji actually say something to the effect?
Add to this volatile situation the fact that Bucknorâ€™s poor umpiring basically swung the test Australiaâ€™s way and the fact that Bhaji has succeeded in dismissing Ponting the Aussie captain quite efficiently in recent memory, and the brain is lit up with conspiracy. To me the whole purpose of sledging seems a bit childish and reeks of the lack of talent present in todayâ€™s teams leading to a reliance on such tricks to gain momentum and win.Â The cricketers of yesteryear had no need for sledging as they spoke with their talents on the field, they did not need to insult the opposition to hit them out of the park or bowl them out. Nowadays though it is more theater than sport, our beloved cricket!
As Indians burn effigies of Bucknor (yes we over react!!) and the Australians pooh pooh the childish behavior of the sub continental teams, the biggest loser in all this are the cricket fans who have paid (some in advance) to see this tour and test happen. The ICC as always is utterly clueless, with reports just coming in that Bucknor has been removed from the last tests umpiring. As always they are trying to maintain a balance between the Asian and the Western block of teams via a slew of compromise. However they cannot succeed as a wide majority ofÂ Aussie/Engish/NZ fans/Players tend to demonize the South Asian Teams and their supporters. We are not far behind with organizing sit ins and canceling tours and what not to make our presence felt!!Â However what are we to do? As when we swing the ball more than them it is scratched, when we turn it more than them we are chucking , and last but the least when we give them some of their own verbal medicine we are banned!!!
I think it is time the sub continent unite their boards as one and tell the western block to shove it!!! If they feel they are so bloody superior to us and incapable of faults then perhaps they should induct NZ into the Ashes and hold it every month with 5000 â€œproperly dressedâ€ people watching!! Letâ€™s see how long that will last!
Well done India for taking a stand on principle, this Pak fan is behind you all the way!!
(Pic credits to the Herald Sun)Â