Sunday, January 6, 2008

Champion Cheats and Two Idiots defeat resurgent India

India lost the Sydney test against Australia after a tough fight. So what’s new about that? Aren’t the Aussies world champions? So they were expected to win anyways. Moreover they extended their run to 16 consecutive test victories thereby equaling Steve Waugh and his formidable team’s effort. The current Australian test side is immensely talented and probably deserves this achievement.

What the fuss is all about ?

But what I am objecting to is the manner in which the defeat was inflicted upon India. After their below par performance in the first test at MCG, the Indians came back strongly with a positive performance and put Australia on the back foot. These occasions are rare in contemporary cricket especially against a team as good as Australia who are champions in their own right. But Sachin’s superlative 154 not out and Laxman’s belligerent 109 were overshadowed by wrong umpiring decisions and questionable on-field behaviour of the Aussies. In the thick of action were the two umpires (or idiots) Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson. What is the point in neutral officials officiating in matches if they commit serious blunders that make them look like as if they are on the payroll of the Aussies. Giving Ricky Ponting one life and Andrew Symonds several lives is simply spelling doom for the opponents. And that’s what they did. Symonds made it count with a blasting 162 not out. Even the third umpire of Australian origin joined the party by giving Symonds not out when he was clearly stumped. Despite all these gaffes India scored more than the Aussies in the first Innings led by our old war horses Sachin, Laxman, Ganguly and Dravid.

The Second Innings - Two Blind Men Continue the Slaughter

After Australia set a target of 333 in the second innings everyone knew that it would be impossible to get thos runs in 72 overs against the Australian bowling attack led by the vicious Brett Lee who is in the peak of his powers. Indians were fighting doggedly not giving an inch. But then those blind idiots stepped in once again. First they gave Dravid out caught behind when it was clear that it had hit the pads. The second spine-breaking blow came when Ganguly, who is in sublime touch and was crafting a masterpiece, was given out caught at slips. The culprit in this case was Michael Clarke who not only took the catch on bounce but the ball had touched the ground after he rolled over. The umpire Mark Benson instead of calling for the third umpire asked the fielders and as usual the Aussies lied. Ganguly departed. After his departure Kumble and Dhoni gave a lion-hearted performance and tried their level best to deny Australia its sixteenth consecutive victory. But it was too difficult and the Indian tail was wrapped up after 70.5 overs. Officially India was supposed to play 72 overs. So near yet so far. It brings home the importance of correct decisions on the field in case of such closely fought encounters. India were well on their way to stop the Aussie juggernaut, but the white-coated officials had other plans. The funniest part is these two people belong to the Elite Panel of umpires chosen by the ICC. How can a guy like Bucknor still officiate even after so many fiascos in which he was involved? Most of the times the Indians were at the receiving end especially our ‘Little Master’ Tendulkar. Last year Bucknor and Aleem Dar made Sri Lanka bat in pitch darkness in the World Cup finals. The BCCI needs to lodge a strong protest with the ICC and ensure that these two idiots don’t spoil the game of cricket any further. I would also like to condemn the Aussie behaviour as well. They flouted the spirit of the game by appealing even after the catches were dropped. Winning is a good habit but winning ‘by hook or by crook’ is deplorable. In future statistics will reveal that India had lost the match by 122 runs. But contemporary cricket lovers across the planet will remember this match as a disgraceful victory of Aussie misdemeanour and incompetent umpiring by ‘elite’ match officials.

Of 'Monkeys' , Racism and Integrity

Added to this is the allegation of racist comments against Harbhajan Singh. This is a ploy by the Aussies to disintegrate the Indians mentally. Since when has the word ‘monkey’ become racist? It is the commonest rebuke which Indian kids get from their annoyed parents. Also Hanuman is one of the most revered Gods of India. In fact by calling Symonds a monkey, we have insulted our Lord Hanuman. And what about the four lettered words which the Aussies hurl regularly at their opponents? Indians have also reciprocated by lodging a complaint against Brad Hogg. The match referee has hastily handed over a 3 test ban to Bhajji. It’s an open secret that historically the Aussies had great difficulty in countering Harbhajan’s spin. Even in the current series Bhajji got rid of Ponting 3 times in 4 innings. So an attack without Harbhajan will favor the Aussies in the remaining two games. All these things will decimate the sportsmanship and would result in more loathsome behaviour on and off the field. Already there is no love lost between the two teams. After the match Ponting was defending his integrity (see pic) and Clarke shamelessly justifying his antics. How can one defend something like integrity which one does not possess ? If the Aussies continue like this, they are sure to face hostile crowds in the subcontinent in future.

So Where Does India Go From Here

With two more tests to go India has no chance of winning the series as they trail 2-0. But we can draw our strength from our stupendous performance. Also there were a lot of positives. The formidable Indian batting line up has struck form. So we can give the ‘champion cheats’ a run for their money. The Aussies through their tactics have shown that they are not fully confident of their playing skills, that’s why time and again they resort to these disdainful methods to conquer opponents. India is on a high moral ground. After all it took 14 men (the third umpire also played his part) to beat us. So instead of breaking down, these events should goad the Indians to outplay their rivals in the remaining two tests. A lot of cricket is to be played and hence as a genuine cricket lover I wish my team good luck. I expect to see some great cricket played in the right spirit without violating the sanctity of the game.