Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mike Proctor and his Kangaroo court

He was unlucky to have missed this prime cricketing years due to South Africa's international isolation. He is compared to Kapil Dev, Ian Botham & Imran Khan in terms of his allround cricket talent. But that is the past. He would now be remembered for ever as the Mike Proctor, who handed a 3 match ban to Harbajan Singh for his alleged racist comments during the Sydney test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2008.

While his intentions of rooting out racism from the cricket field is noble. His decision in putting Harbajan infront of the canon and blasting him with a ban is questionable and dubious. This is considering the simple reason that there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever to confirm Harbajan indeed said those words. No one else in the field or off the field (television channels or viewers) heard or saw Harbajan say the racist comment he is supposed to have.

The most ironic thing is that there were four witnesses supporting Symonds are Ponting – his captain, Clarke, Hayden, Gilchrist. All these witnesses had at somepoint in the match commited something that would make you question their integrity and honesty. They never heard Harbajan hurling racist abuse at Symonds, but still they were witnesses and could say with conviction that Harbajan said those comments.

And why does Proctor find Harbajan guilty? Because the Australians say he is guilty. They argue Harbajan called Symonds a monkey once, during their tour of India recently. And therefore there is every chance he would have said it again, and that amounts to a repeat offence and hence a 3 match ban. Brilliant logic.

And then comes Proctor's interview, where he talks proudly about how he delivered justice to the Australians, especially Symonds. He says "I am South African, and I understand the word racism". So do we Mike, but your understanding a word can't be the basis of calling someone a racist and banning him. Where is the evidence that he said those words?

Procter has set a very dangerous precedent here. Tomorrow, while touring Pakistan Ponting might face a situation where he is getting out to Shoaib Akthar frequently or he is simply afraid of his bowling and hence he might decide to put him off the game. He would be joined by three more of his mates and they would accuse him of beating an Australian player with a bat without any evidence whatsoever. Now, what happens?

Here again you have four Aussies accusing a player from the subcontinent and here too the accused is someone who has used a bat to hit someone before. Would you want to ban him for 3 matches just because the Aussies accuse him? What is the guarantee that the Aussies wouldn't accuse Harbajan or any other player in the world of a uttering a racist remark again?

Effectively Procter has made the cricket field a kindergarten classroom. Where kids cry and accuse their neighbours of something or the other. The cricket players are neither kids nor is the field a classroom. It is hightime the ICC does something to remove incompetent referees like Proctor and expand their elite panel with competent referees. And most importantly they must also put cry babies like Australia in their place.

PS: The greatest joke in all was for this man to support the Australian team on TV, Michel Slater. Mate, the world still remembers the Pontingesque catch you took of Rahul Dravid and your reaction to both the batsman and the umpire, Venkat.

3 comments:

Bhaskar Khaund said...

Playing with this joker as an official is taking a huge Proctor & Gamble

PRabhu S said...

Raja,

Good one.
I have watched a lot of this on tv.

I have one comment....

No one still knows as to what he has based the decision/judgement on... From that point, I think we need to be a little careful before dishing out abuses on him.

He is an experienced guy...There must have been some rationale behind his decision.

My thought process is to wait until this is made public before one hits out at him.

All of your views may be right, but it could be incorrect too if the match refree had some justified basis on which he decided the ban.

On Slater, I agree.
I did not agree with his views that batting and bowling are different ie it is okay not to walk when you know you are out and it is a different thing to give a call when you have caught or not caught.

As Gavaskar said, i think if Ponting did not walk when he knew he was out, one cannot trust him on a catch held by him/his team mates.

Prabhu
Prabhu

Vishnu said...

Thanks Raja.
Mike Proctor actually has history of discriminating against Asian teams. In fact his whole life is strewn with incidents of biases against non-white people.

- Vishnu