Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Effigies and Bollyline

This one is going to be a bit all over the place because I haven't had a lot of time to blog lately. That sounds odd when I've had a couple of weeks off work but I found my head buried in around six books over the past couple of weeks and spent a lot of time just relaxing. I certainly found the motivation to write lacking.

I returned to work on Monday and have to say that I missed my afternoon nap, but with the heatwave we've had lately it's been good to be back in an air conditioned environment. Plenty to do - audit has started, got a lot of stuff on with regard to new stadiums which will unfold during this year, and I'm also finalising this years budget around a month late.

My daughters get back from their holiday today but our regular Thursday night out has been postponed to Friday this week because they have visitors tomorrow night. My boys have been asked around for dinner a few times but have declined because they're busy leading their own lives although we did go and see "I am Legend" together last week.

The cricket test match I spoke about last entry ended with an Australian win after a few controversial umpiring decisions went our way. An Indian player Harbajan Singh allegedly called Andrew Symonds a monkey denying that it was a racist comment but with the full knowledge that when the crowd in India chanted monkey at Symonds a few months ago, that it was regarded as a display of racism. Singh himself said in a TV interview that was replayed last week that that sort of behaviour was unacceptable. The Indians have spat the dummy and yesterday, after Singh was found guilty and suspended for three matches, threatened to cancel the tour. Looks like the International Cricket Council [ICC] have caved in and have decided to allow an appeal but have delayed that for 9 days which allows him to play in the next test in Perth.

Now let me say a few things. Firstly, cricket hides behind a facade of gentility. The expression "It's not cricket" is used to denote unsportsmanlike behaviour. But like many sports, cricket has always been a hotbed of sledging or in the American vernacular, of trashtalk. Maybe cricketers have gotten away with it because it is a comparatively slow paced game played in the middle of vast arenas where voices haven't carried to the boundary line. Australia has been a past master at it and in sport attempts to gain psychological advantages are acceptable tactics. If you can put someone off their game by talk where you get under their skin then so be it.

Years ago, racist comments were no doubt common place but times change and what may have been acceptable 10, 20 or 30 years ago isn't now. Lines have moved and if people step over the line they need to accept the consequences. The Australian's have been criticised here for having the audacity to make the complaint. I haven't seen anywhere a comment from the Indians or from Singh that he did not say what he is alleged to have said, in fact one Indian journalist said that it was ridiculous to consider it racist because India is a Hindu country and monkeys are sacred over there. Sounds like crap to me.

Secondly, the Indians were in the receiving end of some bad decisions that did affect the outcome of the game - probably. But there have been many times when bad decisions happen in sport. The mark of sportsmanship is to accept that and move on. There were displays of gamesmanship and poor sportsmanship in this match that reflected badly on both sides.

I thought that Ricky Ponting [Australia captain] displayed juvenile petulance when given out leg before wicket when he clearly hit the ball, but failed to walk when he was caught behind after hitting the ball and when given the benefit of that decision by the umpire. You must take the good with the bad. If you're not going to walk when you know you are out then you should cop the bad decisions when they go against you. But having said that I think the outcry from some people about his behaviour has been over the top.

Let's also consider the response by the Indians who in an obvious tit for tat move have lodged an official complaint of racism against Aussie spinner Brad Hogg who allegedly called Anil Kumble a bastard. Maybe we should claim that bastards are sacred in Australia. I also bet that even if Hogg is found guilty that you won't see people marching in the streets here burning effigies of Indian players like we have seen on the sub-continent over the past few days.

Photo from Cricinfo photos.

1 comment:

Gypsy said...

Hi there Loz, I have only seen bits and pieces on the news but it all sounds very childish to me. Name calling, hissy this grown men playing a sport they are handsomely rewarded for or is it a bunch of little kids behaving badly? I personally think sledging is bad form especially as it usually involves insulting someone's wife or girlfriend to make sure they get a reaction. That's only my opinion though :)