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Some good days and some bad days
by Venu Bolisetty
Jan 08, 2008
By Venu Bolisetty - Dreamcricket Special Columnist

Peter Roebuck was so disgusted by the Australian team’s behavior in the second test at Sydney that he demanded the sacking of Ricky Ponting as Australia’s captain posthaste. Dreamcricket’s very own Partab Ramchand empathetically notes that Australia may have had the pleasure of success but they are denying themselves the enjoyment of this great sport. I, on the other hand, am a bit more ambivalent, shuttling between feelings of great tragedy and cheerful hope.

As Michael Clarke successfully appealed for Ishant Sharma’s wicket in the dying minutes of the second test between Australia and India, reality once again sunk in. Australia had won once again but, under some very questionable circumstances. The eventual outcome, a far cry from the first day’s play when India had Australia reeling at 6/134. The win itself must have been heart-breaking for many Indian fans but cricket fans everywhere must have been disappointed with everything that transpired except for the batting, bowling and fielding in this test match. Whatever one feels about the eventual outcome, everyone must agree that shoddy umpiring played a pivotal role in Australia’s success.

In one of my previous articles I suggested that the umpires should enjoy the same benefits of Technology that a viewer sitting at home does. I was definitely not the first person to suggest this. Ravi Shastri has been advocating the use of technology for some time now and this disastrous test has once again provided credence for his position on this matter. However, this time he has throngs of support from a frustrated Indian public that feel they have been robbed of a test match. The sad fact, however, is that the increased use of hawkeye, snicko and other technological innovations has gradually been exposing the low quality of umpiring in cricket for some time now. The incidents that took place over the past week are only the latest in a string of low quality umpiring. In the 2005 Ashes series, Damien Martyn was hard done by some horrendous decisions that almost threatened to cut short his cricketing career.

In the same series, after England won a thrilling test match at Edgbaston, Andrew Flintoff was pictured consoling a dejected Brett Lee. That picture, rightfully, became a signature of good sportsmanship and embodied the spirit of Cricket. Contrast that with scenes at Sydney. Anil Kumble was dejected, after having fought for such a long time and not a single Australian came to pat him on his back or shake his hands. They were all caught up in celebrating their success. This is probably what Anil Kumble was referring to when he suggested that “only one team was playing with the spirit of the game.”

One of the most dignifying things about sport is that by the simple act of shaking hands it forces people to be gracious under defeat just as they would as winners. Whatever maybe the reason, one cannot fully defend the actions of Australian cricketers.

As if these were not enough to keep the most astute of Cricket fans occupied before the upcoming test, news emerged that Harbhajan Singh is facing a three test ban following racial comments directed at Andrew Symmonds. If the allegations are true, then I’m afraid Harbajhan needs to be disciplined but one must feel sorry for Harbhajan. He is a naturally aggressive player and one that is always up for a challenge, be it with the bat and ball or in a verbal joust. BCCI, never one to be far from the action, once again found ways to embarrass itself. When rumours appeared that Harbhajan had allegedly called Symmonds a monkey. BCCI sprung to Harbhajan’s defense by saying that in Indian culture monkey isn’t considered a racist or derogatory term. Conveniently forgetting the events that occurred in the sub continent only a few months ago. However the punishment meted out to Harbajhan is quite harsh given the lack of convincing evidence.

It is days like these that make me wonder why I pay, support and watch this sport that is run by organizations and played by professionals who cause so much indignation. It is then that I recall the image of Andrew Flintoff consoling Brett Lee, the image of Mahela Jayawerdene asking his batsmen to continue in the dark so that Australia could be crowned the champions of ICC Cricket World Cup and the image of Sachin Tendulkar walking out to quiet the rowdy crowd in Calcutta.

Amidst all the tragedy there is still some hope for this great sport!

 
More Views by Venu Bolisetty
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  Enough is enough!
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