Saturday, January 12, 2008

There can't be a bigger hypocrite

I read this story in Cricinfo. This is the probably one of the recent revelations of Andrew Symonds. Here, he goes on to say it is acceptable for him when his friends make racist jibes.

This is like saying nobody else but my mother could call me a bastard. For, she is the one who would really know if I am.

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.

An open letter to Ricky Ponting - Australia – 2 : Cricket – 0

"Michael Clarke's got the golden touch, hasn't he? We knew if we kept them under pressure. That's an unbelievable win…"

Those were supposedly your words words during the post match interview as quoted in a website.

Yes! Mr Ponting, it was indeed an unbelievable win but surely forgettable. You surely had four things behind you in this match. Luck, and the three umpires. And each one played their part, perfectly and precisely.

When Gilchrist walked during a crunch world cup match, the whole world appreciated. That is including the many Indians like me. You have been harping about the batsman taking the fielders word and walking off. But as ever your team has always preached and never practiced, of course except those odd Gilchrist like moments. Which I have come to a conclusion that are stage managed purely for PR purposes.

Your mates didn't walk when they knew they were out, the whole world but for 3 men didn't. When it came to the second innings we saw how desperate you were to win the match and equal a record. The Dravid and Ganguly dismissals showcased your intentions. Even if we leave Ganguly's dismissal as a mariginal decision (which was not by any means, it was so obvious he was not out), Dravid's was a classical case. He pads a ball and the most moral guy in your team goes up and gets a decision in his favour. Is he not the same guy who said even his kid during a game of backyard cricket wouldn't have acted like how Sreesant did during your recent India tour? Could you check with him if this is the way his kid would react when a ball clearly brushes his leg?

You are also a strong advocate of things said or done in the ground staying within. What happened to that when you decided to take Harbajan's case outside? I agree with you in saying, if anything racial had been said, he ought to be punished in the strictest possible way. But did he really say anything as you claim, is there anything else to back your claims up? Now, for a moment let's decide to forget the "everything stays within the ground" argument. How do you justify a Hayden going public saying you have a strong case? The match was on, the referee had decided to postpone the case till the match ended because it might have put undue pressure on the people involved. Is it fair on you to go public harping about the strong case you have? Is this not a negative tactic, to put pressure on Harbajan and on the Indian team? Is this the way any champion team would want to win?

The catch of Dhoni you had claimed says it all. Before you say it was a fair take again, take a look at those pictures floating around the net or the tapes one of the TV channels have. It is proud thumping your chest in normal circumstances, not now Mr Ponting. You've got a fractured rib cage! Thumping more would not only puncture your heart but also your country's.

Mr Ponting, there is something called walking the talk, if you can't walk at least try and crawl the talk. You can't simply ask for the rule to be bent or your statements be altered when it suits you. That is very unbecoming of a cricketer of your stature, it damages the image of the game that feeds you and most importantly it damages the image you're your country too. We are all in agreement that you won this test, but unfortunately Mr Ponting the game of cricket was the loser.

Again Mr Ponting an odd sprinkling of "We won / lost today, but the game of cricket is a even bigger winner" in your interviews is not enough. You need to walk the talk. I hope being a (sports)man you would realise this sooner than later and start walking the talk.

I wish to congratulate you, the Australian team and the umpires for this (forgettable) win of yours. DON'T KEEP THIS TREND UP please, for the sake of the game.