Live Coverage
  Live Scorecards
  Upcoming Matches
  World Cricket News
  USA Cricket News
  American Cricket History
Dreamcricket RSS
India tamed the lions in their own den
by Sunil Gavaskar
Mar 11, 2008
Just imagine, just imagine for a minute what would have been the reaction of the Australian cricket media if Harbhajan Singh had been anywhere near the streaker when he ran onto the field during the second finals at the ‘Gabba’ and was felled after a brutal shoulder charge by Andrew Symonds. Just imagine if Harbhajan had somehow even managed to feint his way out of reach of that streaker what the front page headlines would have been next day. If Harbhajan had been anywhere near that streaker the blame would have been on him even if he had nothing whatsoever to do about it. That the cricket media and one newspaper in particular did not accuse Bhajji of somehow luring the streaker onto the field is a surprise indeed. Ever since Harbhajan was cleared of the charge of racism by Justice Hansen, this particular paper has targeted him and everything Indian. Nobody has been spared, not even Sachin Tendulkar, for without saying it in so many words the paper accused him of lying to save his teammate in the charge of racism brought against the off-spinner.

Now that the team is back from Australia after taming the lions in their own den, it may be time to revisit the episode because it won’t affect the tour in anyway. It is well known by now that after Harbhajan during his brave innings in Sydney patted Brett Lee on the back for a well bowled delivery, Andrew Symonds shouted at him saying he (Bhajji) had no friends in the Australian team and shouldn’t try to be friends with them. The expletives have been omitted.

At the end of the over Harbhajan, not one to take a backward step, gestured to Symonds and let fly his own abuse partly in Punjabi. Symonds and some other players accused him of calling Symonds a monkey and thus laid a charge of racism against the off-spinner. Although he denied using the monkey word he was found guilty by the match referee despite there being no audio evidence from the stump mikes nor the two umpires hearing anything. Harbhajan appealed against the decision and it was then handed over to Justice Hansen.

Just before that hearing took place, the host broadcaster, Channel 9 gave a DVD where the voices of the commentators were deleted and the volume of the stump mikes increased to find out if there was any evidence of Harbhajan having used the word he was accused of. What was heard was Hayden taking Bhajji to task and Clarke whingeing to umpire Benson about Bhajji. Both these players were not near the stump mikes but nearly the same distance from them as Harbhajan was when he returned the fire at Symonds. Now despite the best of efforts from the host broadcaster, the word that Harbhajan was accused of saying was not caught on tape.

Has it ever occurred to those who are still making the allegation that Harbhajan was telling the truth that he did not use the word he was accused of, or is it the old superior syndrome that those from the so-called developed countries have more honesty and integrity than those from the developing countries.

It is pretty much the same as in the past where when umpires from the sub continent got a decision wrong it was cheating but when umpires from elsewhere especially England, Australia and New Zealand got it wrong, then it was human error which can happen to anyone but is not deliberate. How come in these countries who keep talking about honesty and integrity, there are petty crimes as well as serious ones. After all, with their developed status, there should be none, isn’t it? If wealth is the criteria for honesty then quite simply India has more dollar millionaires than the population of Australia.

Fortunately the legal advisers to Cricket Australia realized as soon as they heard the DVD from Channel 9 that there was no way their charge of racism was going to stand for lack of evidence and so advised the players to drop it and press for the lesser charge of using abusive language. The BCCI had nothing to do with this yet the media in Australia blamed their Board for caving in to the might of BCCI when all it did was take a sensible action. Is anyone seriously suggesting that if the word was on tape the charge would have been lowered? No way.

Now how to save face? Accuse the BCCI of flexing its muscles and blame everybody including Cricket Australia for bending in to pressure. Then when Justice Hansen pronounced that there was provocation from Symonds the paper went nuts. So now Bhajji was referred to as a serial offender and the cameras were trained on him every second he was on the field. The feisty Harbhajan was shamelessly booed every time he bowled or batted or fielded thereafter since the media had angled their stories to suggest that he had gotten away despite being guilty when in fact there was no proof he had used the word. After he bowled superbly to break the burgeoning partnerships between Hayden and Symonds in the first final at Sydney to restrict Australia, the paper had to find something to try and put him under pressure for the next final as well as gloss over Australia’s defeat. So the allegation that he was making monkey gestures and spitting at a crowd which can only be described as venomous abusive and provocative. Once again despite all the cameras being there it was found that he had not made any derogatory gestures but then how to admit that the allegations were untrue so the headlines that due to lack of evidence he got away again. Once again did it occur to anyone that he did nothing at all and was falsely accused. After all with the cameras on him every second he would have been nabbed if he had indeed done anything that he was accused of, isn’t it ?

Now the BCCI got it in the neck for not taking any action against a serial offender. But how can any Board take action when the charge is disproved. On the other hand when Hayden called Bhajji names, he was merely reprimanded and when Symonds took the law in his hands by felling the streaker nothing was done again.

What was that old saying? When you point a finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you. Yes sir, that’s right.

More Views by Sunil Gavaskar
  Results have been utterly disappointing for New Zealand
  National duty comes first
  One-day game is alive and well
  Dhoni bears the fury of the media
  Spirit of Cricket
Write to us to find out how your club or league can get the benefits of being an affiliate of the DreamCricket League platform.

DreamCricket.com runs an Academy that is an affiliate of the USA Cricket Association (USACA).
  About Us  |   Dreamcricket in the Media  |   Event Management  |   Disclaimer © 2014 DreamCricket.com