Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Real Villain... The LIAR... "Roy"

Well.... slowly the real story is emerging and we now know who the real culprit is. To say the least, I am shocked at the way the "Champion players" have taken a false stand to implicate an individual who can get on people's nerves.

With Symonds acting as a victim when he should really be tried as a culprit opens the door to the ugly image of the Australian cricketers. They really have done a big dis-service to the world of Cricket by going the full length in this probe even when highly reputed names like Tendulkar and Kumble urged them to settle the issue outside the court.

Ponting and Hayden have once again shown that they are the bad boys of international cricket and Clarke has shown that he is the rock star in making who is being given lessons in being a brat by his more reputed seniors.

As for Symonds, I feel sorry for this chap. If he thinks that there no place for friendly banter in Cricket, then I think he is really playing the wrong sport. He should infact be in Aussie rules football. No wonder I have never seen him smile to any opposition player, even after a match. And after this episode, I will not hesitate to brand him a "LIAR" and also would like to point out that he seems to be an insecure individual. Insecure about the colour of his skin and probably thinks that anyone taking a dig at him is probably talking about his skin colour.

He has also shown that he likes poking his nose into other people's affairs and that, in my view, is a totally disgusting personal attrubute. Its a pity that the Indian team management has not decided to file a defamation case against the concerned individual as this would certainly teach them a fitting lesson.

And as for their anger over Bhajji being handed out a lighter sentence, probably they should realise that "What goes around, comes around". All these years, the Aussie's have been getting away with gross voilations of the "Spirit of the game", and now its their turn to face the music.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monkey Trouble

Finally the Sydney trail has come to an end. “Hopefully” there wont be any more backlashes to this one and that this issue is dealt and buried. To a person outside the international cricketing circles, this just seems to be a compromise keeping in mind the bigger picture.

The thought of canceling a series that promises to be a cracker and losing millions of bucks with it must have certainly shaken the powers to be. But then that remains a speculation.

What is not a speculation anymore is that Symonds could not prove that Bhajji called him a “Big Monkey”. That puts a question mark over his credibility and that of his other “distinguished” teammates. It’s a pity to see on field battles go into court but then that’s the level of competition that is out there.

Bhajji is no saint either, having accepted that he did use foul language, he should have been fined 100% match fee, and not the 50% fine that was levied on him. This should teach him a lesson in not using bad language on the field and hopefully he will play the game more gracefully in the future. I think, with Kumble at the helm and the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman to teach them, its high time our "smaller" cricketers learn a thing or two in terms of grace and try and emulate their seniors instead of trying an emulating the Australians.

I admire Uthappa and Sreesanth’s cricketing skills and their in your face attitude, but I do hope these fellows know where to draw a line in terms of on field verbal exchange. At this point of their career, I really think they should let their cricketing exploits do all the talking.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Shaun Pollock...Farewell

The only difference between Shaun Pollock and Glenn McGrath was their on field behaviour. While Pollock behaved really well on the field even when the Batsmen were knocking him around for a few runs, McGrath was quite generous with the use of expletives. Otherwise, Pollock has been a model of nagging accuracy that made batsmen fall prey to him.

His has been a very distinguished career and one that I would term a complete one for a South African speedster, a country that was affected by the apartheid era. Since the country's return to international cricket in late 1991, only Allan Donald (then 25) is a bowler who has seen through a successful career and has lasted for over a decade. There have been other bowler who have come and gone, but none have left an indelible mark like Allan did. That, until a 22 year old Shuan arrived on the international scene in 1995.

Shaun Pollock, along with Jacques Kallis strengthened the South African middle order with their all round capabilities. Pollock, a lesser batsman showed the world that he was fit to be counted among the world's best with his record of over 400 test wickets and over 380 ODI wickets and add to that, over 3000 runs in both forms of the game.

Pollock has served his country for over 12 years and has chosen the right moment to go out on a high, pretty much similar to what Gilchrist did 3 days ago. I wish him all the very best for his future endavors and must say that it was a plesure watching him perform so consistently.

Shaun Pollock's Career Stats

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Aussie's on the defensive

563 runs in 181 overs. Is it really the Australia cricket team that we are seeing on the field?

In ages, for the first time, I have seen the Aussie's fear a possibility of a defeat and play themselves slowly to a position of strength. At the current position, the Aussie's can attack and go for a win because they have no chance to loose this match from here on, but their approach was quite startling. Unlike the past, where the Aussie's have rarely been pushed into a corner and been made to fight back, this series has seen them fight for their position very often. Their bowlig attack has been blunted a bit by their inability to sledge on the field but they have done enough to prove to the world that their side is still made of champion players who can grind the opposition attack.

I would have loved to see an Indian win at Adelaide, but looking at the current scenario, I really think that the match is heading towards a draw and that would be an unfair result to both the sides. I would like to see either of the two teams win this match because that would be a fitting end to a keenly contested series where-in the Indians, post Melbourne, matched the Aussie's in batting as well as bowling.

Adam Gilchrist

It was something that no one expected. It hit the Aussie's like a bolt from the blue and I hae to accept, that I am a bit shaken too. Players like Gilly come by in international cricket once in a lifetime and as much harm they must have caused to the Indian cricket team on the playing field, I have always marvelled at his batting skills and his hand-eye coordination.

Add to that his on-field behaviour should be a lesson for the "to be cricketers" and some current cricketers out there. With 414 Test dismissals at the time of compiling this post and with one more Indian innings to go, I hope that he gets a few more. But in the same breath, I would like to mention that I hope the Indian team does not get all out.

An absolute treat to watch, he will be missed and I wish him all the very best in the next phase of his life. I hope he has a rocking tri-series against India and Sri Lanka.

Three Cheers to you Gilly.

Adam Gilchrist Career Stats

Friday, January 25, 2008

Aussie attack is only as sharp as their tongue.

From 359/7 to 526 all out. It surely was an inspired tailend performance by the Indian cricketers once again. And Kumble,the captain courageous, lead the charge from the front. This is not the first time in the series that the Indian tail has wagged so furiously. For that matter , even the Aussie tail has shaken up the Indian bowlers quite nicely on a couple of ocassions.

The 9th wicket stand in the 2nd Innings at Perth for both the teams with Laxman/R.P.Singh putting on 51 and the Johnson/S.Clark partnership of 73, which scared the life out of the Indian players and supporters alike, has shown the poor ability of the sides to polish the tail off in a jiffy on a consistent basis. And how can one forget the Sydney test, where in the Aussie's were able to add a whopping 327 runs between the 7th, 8th and the 9th wicket in their 1st Innings and India followed suit with their 8th, 9th and 10th wicket adding 187 runs in theirs.

But I see the trend breaking in this final test. Before I go into that, I would like to take some time out to write about the human nature of this Australian cricket team. Something I never had the opportunity to see over the last 10 years. I saw the Aussies frustrated, I saw their shoulders droop and I saw them literally at the mercy of the Indian tail as they were unable to trouble any batsman ( even Ishant). It was upto the tail to throw their wickets away and thats exactly what happened with Bhajji and R.P.Singh unnecessarily going for big hits and eventually Kumble getting out in an effort to reach his hundred quickly. At this juncture, I cant help but think that the "Aussie attack is only as sharp as their tongue". The moment you curb their language on the field, they seem to lose their edge because they have mastered the art of applying pressure on the opposition by annoying them or distracting them with their language and after the Sydney fiasco, we can see that the Aussie's are trying very hard to keep their gob shut and in the process, are losing their famed aggresive nature. We saw similar scenes as they went on to lose the Perth test where a subdued Aussie side fought well but could not create unrest among its opposition with their language. This could possibly be the secret of the Aussie juggernaut.

But I would not want to make any assumptions on that front. This is a champion side. No team can win 16 tests in a row twice and 3 consecutive World Cups without cricketing skills and this is precisely why we must fear the Aussies. And we have seen what Hayden does to Australia. The effect is as similar to what we saw when Sehwag opened for India at Perth and now at Adelaide. The aggression was on display and it brings about a sense of security to the batting side. Having said that, I noticed that both Jacques and Hayden had some trouble negotiating both Kumble and Bhajji towards the end of Day 2 and this would augur well for the Indians going into the 3rd day. If the bowlers can hold their heads and bowl to a field, I see no reason why they should not be succesful. The 3rd & 4th day is going to be crucial to India's chances of levelling the series and they should go all out in trying to get the Aussie batsmen out as cheaply as possible. Having said that, its a great pitch to bat on and its left to be seen who makes a better use of the conditions.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Even Stevens....

This day has been one with a balanced performance from both the sides. While the Aussie's were able to get half the Indian side dismissed (and that too the stronger half), the Indians did well to score over 300 in the day. Slow over rate was again the order of the day as Ponting failed to finish his stipulated 90 overs. Mitchell Johnson did well to get the 1st & 2nd wicket and Lee did well to snarl Laxman and Sehwag.

It's thrilling to watch Lee bowl these days. He has really filled McGrath's shoes and has taken over the mantle of being a strike bowler in its true sense. His wickets of both Sehwag and Laxman were against the run of play and this clearly shows his ability to take wickets when the going gets tough. The way he set Laxman up when the latter was on 37 shows his cricketing acumen. Its a pity that Gilchrist dropped a sitter to deny him the wicket at that point. He however had the better of Laxman a little later and without letting the latter cause much damage to the Aussies.

In my previous post, I had mentioned that I was not in favor of Irfan opening the innings as he was not that good against the new ball. And hence was not surprised to see him edge one early in the 8th over of the day. Its becoming a big problem for the Indians as they are unable to find a fixed opening combination for their test side. As for Sehwag, It was refreshing to see him display the kind of strokeplay that was missing from the Indian batting ranks for a long time. While Sachin and Laxman score briskly in their elegant manner, Sehwag brings with him, the cavalier approach which pays rich dividends more often than not on the test arena.

Sachin has played a flawless innings all through the day. The LBW shout against him by Hogg was debatable to say the least and I would not delve into it further. Laxman, during his 51, showed complete control over the Aussie attack except for the 2 deliveries, one of which got him out and the other one of which he was dropped.

Rahul is still fighting the demons but I am sure I will see him emerge from this start-stop trend to score a big one soon. Ganguly might have had a debatable decision go against him but then he has been Hogg's bunny for this series. He might have some scores to settle in the second innings if he gets an oportunity to play Hogg.

I would love to see Dhoni get a bit aggressive and play his natural game early on the 2nd day and take the attack to the Aussie camp because as we have seen before in the series, If the Aussie's are able to get a couple of early wickets tomorrow morning, the Indian innings might be over even before most of us wake up. The pitch offers true bounce and there is no need for him to be over defensive. But that is left to be seen. All in all.... If India is able to score over 450 in their 1st innings, we have a great contest on cards.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Adelaide , 4th Test , India vs Australia

The Indian team has been announced for the final test of this thrilling series. While we all know who the 12th man will be, lets see what the team management decides to do with the opening slot. With Jaffer out of the reckoning, I would like to see the following line up

1) Virender Sehwag
2) M.S.Dhoni
3) Rahul Dravid
4) Sachin Tendulkar
5) V.V.S.Laxman
6) Saurav Ganguly
7) Irfan Pathan
8) Harbhajan Singh
9) Anil Kumble
10)R.P. Singh
11) Ishant Sharma
12) Dinesh Karthik

I would like to save Irfan for the lower order as I feel he performs better with a slightly older ball. At this point, we shold not compare his ODI performances as the runs he scored at the top of the order then were of the White ball and not with this red Kookaburra balls. And the fact that I wish to see Dhoni open is simply because I think that fellow can apply himself amazingly well provided he curbs his attacking instincts. He showed us a glimpse of his defensive nature in the 2nd Innings at Perth and Sydney. More over, Dhoni needs more time in the middle to be able to get going with his scores.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Is Dhoni the culprit?

I would hate to see this news piece come true. I think Dhoni as a man with a lot of integrity and respect for his seniors. And the news that Dhoni had a hand in Ganguly's ouster has stirred me up a bit.

I would understand that a person like Dhoni would have issues handling temperamental people like Ganguly. But simply for that reason, he cannot pull his weight to drop a man who is in the form of his life and apparently was the 2nd highest scorer in the ODI format last year. And guess who was the highest, Sachin.

If Dhoni is really guilty of this, then probably he should be made to wait a while longer to captain the side again. Because a captain should first think of the strength of the team and not his personal equation with a team mate. As long as someone is performing, no one can omit that person from the team. It would just show his inability at man management because any Tom, Dick and Harry can handle a bunch of youngsters simply because he has the remote control to thier career. The talent lies in handling the superstars and still getting the best out of the team.

I hope this news piece is just a gossip because I quite like Dhoni as a competitor and a player.

Happiness and Sorrow within the span of a day.

India made Perth their "Fort Knox" for this series atleast. They had their strangle hold on the test almost all through the 4 days except for a short while during their batting in the 1st and the 2nd innings. The inclusion of Sehwag and Irfan eventually made the difference and this augurs well for the Adelaide test match.

The team would have been geared up for the 4th test soon after the celebrations ended but the BCCI sent a shocker to 2 of our 5 stalwarts in the team. While Laxman did not stand a chance , Tendulkar being a sure shot inclusion and Kumble having already retired from the shorter version of the game, I am sure Dravid was looking forward to a recall simply because he had the experience in Australia to back his selection. And Ganguly, he must be thinking what more does he need to do to stay in the team. This is apparent that the board does not favor Ganguly at all and have yeilded the axe without reason just because they wanted him out.

The boards excuse that age and agility were the factor for the exclusion of Dravid and Ganguly, its utter nonsense according to me. Dravid is a very fit fielder and cant be excluded on the basis of agility or age. While Ganguly, although being a bad fielder, had scored over a 1000 runs in 2007 to back his selection. This highlights the skewed selection process of the BCCI and all I can say is that I wish both Dravid and Ganguly all the very best.

Although the reasoning behind their exclusion might seem valid any other day, I simply feel that the BCCI could have started looking forward to the future after this triangular series and could have replaced these ageing greats of the game gradually and with their consent. It seems unfair that Tendulkar at 34 and over 1000 runs last year gets the nod while Ganguly at 35 with almost the same amount of runs gets ommitted. Tendulkar is quiet similar to Ganguly in terms of agility when it comes to fielding, but obviously this point was overlooked by the selection commitee.

Come on BCCI, its because of the Gangulies and the Dravids along with the Kumbles and Tendulkars and Laxmans that your board is the richest. Treat them with respect. Kumble was ignored repeatedly from the ODI team which forced him to announce his retirement and instead of learning a lesson from that episode, you repeat the same episode with another two greats. I fear for Sachin, for he has been the BCCI's biggest lottery ticket and hope he is not treated this way. I hope he times his retirement well before the board times him out.

I hope Dravid and Ganguly can fight their way back into the team only to be able to retire on their own terms. Although that seems to be a distant possibility now. But its really been disappointing. I hope the Adelaide test does not turn out to be the last for them.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Indian middle order again falls short.

This has been the story for years. Sachin failing in the 2nd Innings when the pressure is telling on the team. The target of 413 for a win for the Australians might seem challenging, but I am a bit skeptical. Although I would like to think that the Indians stand a good chance to win this test, it will only be possible if we are able to dismiss the Australian middle order quickly. And the reason why I say quickly and not cheaply is because irrespective of the amount of time they spend on the crease and the number of deliveries they face, they would keep scoring at a rate of 4 runs per 6 deliveries.

A lot was expected out of Sourav but he failed. I wish to add that this was a one off failure in the last 6 months or so. But he was needed today. VVS has for long been under-rated, the poor man always ends up batting with the tail. I think, he deserves to come in at No 3 or No 4 and get quick runs for the team. He has the temperamant to bat long, provided he has someone supporting him the other end. Rahul is still fighting the demons in his mind and that showed the way he was sucked into playing the shot that he played.

I must say that I am a bit disappointed with the score that our team managed in the 2nd Innings as I expected them to get atleast 350. Purely because our batsmen, for the 1st time in a long time, have shown the world that the Aussie's are not unplayable in their own backyard. That being said, I think we have a great contest to look forward to on the 4th day and by all means, the match should be decided in the final session of the day. If it spills over to the 5th day, then I would say that the odds are with the Aussie's because they would have scored most of the runs by then.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The count begins.... umpiring errors.

Over the next 5 days..... I will try and jot down the umpiring errors. No malicious intent in accusing any umpire of bias here, but for the sole reason of curiousity.

Day 1 from score 59/2 to 297/6

1) Sachin was leg before to Michael Clarke at 57. Umpire Bowden says NOT OUT.
2) Sachin was not leg before to Brett Lee at 71. Umpire Rauf says OUT.
3) Rahul was leg before to Mitchell Johnson at 67. Umpire Bowden says NOT OUT.

I missed most of the day 2 action, so I am sorry fellows, wont be able to post much on the umpiring errors. But I do feel that Dhoni & Rogers got a raw deal in terms of their LBW dismissals.

The Indian approach, however was refreshing today. But 3 more days to go, I fear an Aussie fightback.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Yuvi needs to press the RESET button.

Although it is highly unlikely that Yuvi might get another opportunity to play in the ongoing series, if he is dropped from the current playing 11, I think the fellow really needs to reset his technique and of course his flagging confidence for the Aussie pitches. This might hold him in good stead for the forthcoming India/Australia/Sri Lanka triangular series. He should probably take a leaf out of Sehwag's book and revert to his original style of cricket. He needs to be aggressive because thats the only way he knows to play his cricket.

Although Sehwag played a B Grade attack in the ACT XI encounter, he has shown enough proof that playing ones own game will do wonders. Yuvi failed yet again. His score of 2 off 15 deliveries really shows that the fellow is in a defensive mould and needs to break out, for he wont succeed unless he plays the way he played against Pakistan in Banglore in 2007. Come on lad, the mother of all contests (after the 2007 WC of-course) is coming up. The series will present 3 teams that have been part of the World Cup finals 7 times of the possible 8 in the last 4 editions. Australia 4 times ( won in 1999,2003 & 2007 and runners up in 1996), Sri Lanka ( won in 1996 and runners up in 2007) and India (runners up in 2003).

I can't wait for the contest to begin.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Hogg gets away...

Although I am not surprised at this development, I would have preferred for Hogg to get a hearing. Now it would remain a mystery if Hogg was really guilty or not. Especially after the CA lawyers decided to defend Hogg by quoting what Late Edmund Hillary had quoted after scaling the Mt Everest.

I thought of that to be very unreasonable as they hopped back almost 2 generations to take an example. During a time when racism was rampant and with noone to govern or control it. But then, thats the way the cookie crumbles,. Hogg has had a lucky reprieve. His test place is now for him to keep.


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Technology is the need of the hour to curb player (mis)behaviour....

This has been going on for way too long. And there seems to be no concrete solution. And with the "Sydneygate" controversy, players and their boards are just better equipped to defend themselves against charges of sledging whenever they might arise.

The need of the hour, thus is more technology on the ground. How about arming the 2 on-field umpires with sensitive microphones with noise cancelling features.That would help the equipment to pick up specific frequency of sound ( read player's voice ) as against the roar of the spectators in the stadium.

Also, how about putting similar microphones like landmines all over the playing field?? The players would be very careful then. Thats a given. With ICC making money in millions of dollars, I am sure they can spare a thought for this. Then a Hayden or a Hogg or even for that matter our very own Sree or Bhajji won't be able to get away with their below the belt banter (if any).

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Anil should have been at the helm long ago....

Anil Kumble has emerged as Captain courageous and with his already solid reputation, further enhanced, from this Sydney fiasco. The way he has conducted himself and his team is commendable. For some reason, I can't help but think Anil would have scalped this spot over Rahul and maybe even over Saurav had he made the right noises. But then that is Anil for you, one who just knows to play, and play hard. He does not get dragged into petty politics or arguments.

At this point, I wish to clarify that both Saurav and Rahul have done the captain's job in an excellent manner and I am not taking away any credit from them for that. But, I just feel for this 37 year old man. I am sure he must also be thinking, what if I had this opportunity 3 -4 years ago.

But lets keep the past buried, for we have a bright future to look forward to with Anil Kumble at the helm of the Indian Test Cricket team. Anil, way to go big brother, I hope you are around for another 2-3 or maybe even 4 years. I would love to see you lead the team with that steely look in your eyes when the Indian team tours "Down Under" in 2011.

Mr. Ponting, Anil sure is a nice bloke, but he is way ahead of you in terms of upholding the spirit of the game. Learn from him. Learn how to accept defeat gracefully and treat everyone around you with respect.

Learn from us Indians.

Sutherland...... What are you trying to say???

CA Cheif James Sutherland has come out in defence of his team. Well, this is not at all surprising and something everyone came to expect. Especially after Ponting blatantly refused to accept that his team behaved miserably in the 2nd test match at Sydney.

But what is scary is the attitude with which he issued the statement. His defence for the team showed that he was in favor of the way the team behaved in the test match and has absolutely no grouse over Ricky Ponting and his men. If this is the mental make up of the Cricket Australia board management, then I am not at all surprised at the way the Australians are playing their cricket. After all, when someone knows that they will be backed endlessly, no matter how they behave, they will obviously push their limits and get dirty.

ICC has done the right thing in asking the CA officials to tell the Australian team to behave themselves. But then again, I doubt if they would mend their ways. Maybe... Just maybe for the next 2 matches against India, we might see them behave but I doubt if this is going to last.

But kudos to ICC for having the b***s to finally point a fingure at the Australian team. After all the Australians have been getting away for way too long. The confrontation that will remain fresh in my mind is the one that involved Micheal Slater and Umpire Venkatraghavan in the 1996 series in India. Despite showing scant respect to the elderly gentleman, he got away. And then I have read about Pigeon McGrath calling Sanath Jayasurya a "Black Monkey". All this just makes my blood boil. But then as they say, it just takes 1 bad apple to spoil the basket. 563 wickets in an illustrious test career does not put any person above the game and the spirit of Cricket.

This is still a gentleman's game, but for a few unruly elements.

No ODI series without Bhajji......

The BCCI seems to have really swung into attack mode with this statement. I am sure no one expected this snorter from the Indian cricket board. Although I am thrilled to see the board back its players, I get a feeling that ICC might want to curb this behaviour.

Mind you, I still think Bhajji deserves a fair trial and totally understand the team's and the board's refusal to take the tour forward.But somehow, one might get a feeling that ICC might not like this statement from the BCCI and would probably call it high handedness of the cricket board in question.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Some relief....

Bhajji in... Old Steve out... a fresh new perspective but the sour taste still lingers.

Hogg...... Let me see that smile of yours now. Ba***** ain't that exciting a word after all. Hope you don't regret using it against Kumble... coz it takes only 1 test for a new comer to make a mark and boot a 36 year old man out of the team for good.

Actually.... we can keep the Aussie's really busy with hearings for conduct and unfair play...

How about if the team management goes ahead and files a charge against

1) Punter Ponting for claiming a bump catch.
2) Pup Clarke for refusing to walk after giving Dravid catching practice.
3) Pup Clarke again for claiming a bump catch and then using the F word which was clearly caught on TV.
4) Roy for instigating Bhajji.
5) Hogg has already been pulled up.

Don't you think this would keep the Aussies busy and would certainly set an example for other countries to follow..... on "how to keep the Aussie's quiet on the field"

I think I hit the nail on its head. Hope someone from the team is thinking like me. :)

No excitement left....

Now with the BCCI and CA coming to a consensus under ICC's guidance, I guess the series will most likely go on. But for some reason, I dont feel thrilled to watch the remainder of the series. However, I will have my eyes glued to the television set for the Perth encounter only to see how India respond to the Aussie's after all this drama.

Now the general opinion is that India will get thrashed, probably they will because they don't have a great history at this ground. But make no mistake, a wounded tiger is far more dangerous and this Indian side is no different. Aussie's have used the cheapest possible means to demoralise this Indian side and they have been successful too. But Kumble is a man of steel and I trust him to pull his men up. He does not need to worry about VVS, Sachin and Sourav as they are experienced campaigners, but he might have to spend some time with Bhajji and the rest of the team. Especially the inexperienced lot.

However, I really dont care if the result of this series is in Australia's favor. But would love to see an Indian win in one of the next two test matches and teach these schemeing crooks a lesson in honour, pride, will power, fair play and sportsmanship. They need to be taught a lesson. And this Indian side is the worlds best bet to bring these bunch of bullies down to their knee's and be kept there.

I have lost all my respect for Ponting and his men. They are not Champions anymore. No matter how many matches they win.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Racist..... who???

India is a country of over a billion people. We have been independent for a little over 60 years now. The word "Racism" has been a thorn in our flesh from times immemorial. Unfortunately, time and again, we have been the victims of differential behaviour from the "Superior" race over a variety of issues. But fortunately enough, if observed, the root cause of all these instances have been the rising strength of our country.

So, when Harbhajan was accused of a racism charge, I could not help but smile at the desperation of the Australian cricket team and at the level they had to stoop to eliminate the "Punter Hunter". I am not at all surprised at Ponting's accusation as he must have thought that this was the best way to keep "Bhajji" out of the remainder of the series. What he probably mis-judged was the seriousness of the charge. I would not expect any Australian cricket team member to ever be able to relate to an Indian or for that matter, any other individual of another country, who has brown skin. They will never know what it means to be a victim of racism because they have never been, and will probably never be a victim of racism during their life time.

What Andrew Symonds faced in India in the 2007 series was nothing close to racism, a fact that he himself admitted in one of his newspaper columns.It must have been an over exaggeration by some flustered elements in the Aussie team and I presume the same happened in Sydney a few days ago.

Cheat to Beat - The new aussie mantra

As a 10 year old boy, I was first exposed to the game of cricket when the Indian cricket team toured "Down Under" just prior to their World Cup campaign in 1991-92. What I saw became my passion for the years to follow and that experience even made me harbour dreams of taking cricket up as a profession, which obviously never materialised.

But coloured clothing, white cricket ball, lush green outfield and ofcourse the game of Cricket completely got me transfixed and took me to a different world. For exactly these reasons, I always have had a special place in my heart for Australia and constantly looked forward to the India - Australia clash. The 1999-00 tour was an eye-opener for the Indian cricket team for they were comprehensively beaten and that set up the tempo for their performance in the Test series in 2003-04. The 2007-08 series was no exception and I was completely charged up to follow our teams fortunes in the land of the Kangaroos. I have always held the Aussie cricket team in high regard as they are a bunch of professionals who perform consistently. Although their consistency has also irked me whenever they have played against India :), I have never held it against them purely because everyone out there is playing to win and their team is no different.

But the 2nd test at Sydney has left a really sour taste in my mouth, not because India lost, but the manner in which they were denied a win they so richly deserved. I really dont care that the Aussie's have taken a 2-0 lead that has assured them that the Gavaskar-Border trophy stays with them. To me (and I am sure many others), the scoreline should have read 1-1.

Anyways, that cannot be changed, but what can be changed is the attitude of this Australian team who are acting like a bunch of bullies with oversized egos. They have started to think that they are above the game and that no one can (or dare) give them any competition. This was evident from the verbal volley from "Roy" to "Bhajji" during the latter's 1st innings exploits with the bat. The aussie's are irked at the slightest instance of a fight from the opposition and that is when they decide to stoop to pathetic tactics to destroy the opponents concentration.

It was extremely disappointing to see the famed captain of the Australian cricket team, Punter Ponting, the same guy who was thrashed outside a Kolkatta night spot for misbehaving with a lady about a decade ago, and who had proudly mentioned in a post match chat after the 7th ODI against India in Mumbai in 2007 that Murali Karthik should have walked if he had indeed edged the delivery from Brett Lee, to keep waiting for the umpires decision for a delivery that he knew he had edged.This shows that the guy has no credibility.He has no business to preach if he cant follow his own words.This is where the oversized ego comes into play, he just could not stomach the fact that he was failing to score against India. He simply failed to acknowledge good bowling. It was thus poetic justice that he was given out leg before to a delivery he nicked. Its little wonder that I have not heard any Indian cricketer make such comments in the past because they know they cant be true to it.

Micheal "Pup" Clarke went one step further when he gave a thick edge to Dravid in the first slip. For a batsman to stay on the crease after getting out in that manner clearly suggests only one thing, that his ego, and not the heart, can't accept failure. And once this starts to happen, its time for such individuals to re asses their priorities in the Sport and ask a question, Are they really being gentlemen in a gentleman's sport?............ Here I would like to clarify that these sort of things happen, and its totally acceptable, but for a team that talks of cleansing the game, having a sportsman spirit and most lately talked of playing the series fair and square, this is a Chameleon like behaviour. Both Roy and Hussey were lucky to get to their hundreds not only because they did not go about preaching fair play, but also because the umpiring standards were disgraceful.

All through the test match, the umpiring seemed biased towards the host team. How else would you explain the RP Singh leg before in the Indian 2nd innings. To me, that delivery and the first delivery to Roy in the Aussie second innings had a similar trajectory (although not the same).But Mr.Bucknor decided to give Roy notout (which for once was right, but then we dont expect anything else from Old Steve when Australia is batting).But the same umpire gave Singh out, that too by raising his finger almost as soon as the appeal was made and not taking his customary 5 seconds before giving a decision. Then we have Mr. Benson, which umpire in his right mind would ask a player if his teammate had taken a clean catch. No prizes for guessing whom the player would have supported. Add to that a couple of poor decisions from his end and a miserable failure from the 3rd umpire to do his job clearly shows that the story does not end with the Sydney test. This needs to be probed a lot deeper. The best way to start would be to relieve Mr. Bucknor and Mr.Benson of their official duties and to get them talking.

It would be an understatement to say that I am upset over the events. I have been fuming since yesterday afternoon and was looking for a way to put my views across to some like minded fellows. I have hence used this medium. I have no issues in accepting defeat, I have no issues in accepting the fact that the Aussie team is the best in the world. But if the Aussies start thinking that they are above the Game, then I have serious issues. I follow this game for the love of it and I think the Australian cricket team should do the same when they play it.

Your views are welcome. Positive or Negative is not an issue, I love debates. :)

View this video to get the hint.....

Australia, Bucknor and Benson beat India by 122 runs.