Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

South Africa is the No. 1 Test Team in world cricket

India is a close no. 2 and these two  teams look set to dominate the next decade in cricket. Both have recently defeated Australia in a test series 2-0.

In winning the Test in MCG, Graeme Smith’s men become the first South African side ever to win a series in Australia, dating back to Percy Sherwell’s 1910/11 tourists. It’s been a long wait – and was thrillingly set up by their remarkable six-wicket win in the first Test in Perth last week.

I think Symonds and Hayden can go on a permanent fishing trip now. Ponting now learns that he isn’t a great captain but a mediocre one who had great players like Warne, McGrath and Gilchrist.  To be a great captain you need to mould your mediocre side into world beaters – something Border and Taylor did for Australia and Shane Warne did for the Rajasthan Royals. Steve Waugh too simply inherited a great team from Mark Taylor.

Ponting is over-rated. The best captain for Australia would have been Shane Warne and its a shame Cricket Australia refused to make him captain. Now they are paying the price.

Australia also benefited hugely from 50-50 umpiing decisions going 9 to 1 in their favour in recent years, and the moment those decisions started going 5-5 (which is the right thing), they started losing. They should have never won the SCG test against India and would have lost that series too had umpires been fair.

Shane Warne, Gilchrist and McGrath didn’t need umpiring help to win as Ponting does, and that is the difference between the great Australian side of the last decade and this bunch of pretenders.  One shudders to think that after Ponting, the captaincy will go to the immature Michael Clarke….and the slide will get worse. It is time to make Huseey vice-captain now and bring youngsters like David Hussey, Shaun Marsh into the side intead of the inept Symonds and out of touch Hayden. And the Bowling? sorry…no talent there anymore. Max they can do is bring Nathan Bracken back and hope Watson recovers from injury.

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The Last Word on the India Australia Cricket fracas

It has to be the articulate Peter Roebuck. Read his superb opinion post below. (Source: Cricinfo.com)

Come together

India needs to stop acting like an aggrieved outsider and take up the responsibility that comes with power. Australia needs to understand that its teams are supposed to set an example. For the good of the game, the two have to find a common language

January 31, 2008

India and Australia have been going hard at each other for several years. It does not mean a thing. Eventually the warring parties will realise that all this sound and fury is insignificant beside their need to get along. Thereafter they will work towards finding a way forwards founded upon common understanding. After all, these are the two great cricketing nations of the world, the two countries that combine strength with an enduring love for the game, the powerhouses bound sooner or later to take over the show. They are rivals only on the field. Elsewhere they are partners and friends. Just that sometimes, in the hysteria, amidst the bellowing of the bulls, with the wild-eyed nationalists in a frenzy, they forget that they are on the same side.

For many years and in many ways Australia and India have followed a common path. First they had to free themselves from the patronage of the MCC and the old powers in London. Throughout its formative years, and far into its adulthood, cricket was directed by the same people, or their descendants, who seized control of it in the middle of the 19th century – the old guard who tried to keep the game as pure as homogenised milk. Although they hardly realised it, these complacent souls had old-fashioned views on many matters, including class and colour. Cricket has had plenty of rebels but precious few radicals.

Until the 1850s or so, the English game had two distinct threads: the professionals from Nottingham and the North who went around the country by train playing against local combinations for money, and the gentry from private schools who represented respectability. The professionals wanted to make a living from their craft in the same manner as silversmiths, lacemakers and so forth. Hereabouts skilled labour had started to assert itself. The gentlemen were the products of pulpits, headmasters, and a ruling class determined to retain its position and to bestow its convictions on every nook and cranny of a growing empire. Naturally, the gentlemen prevailed, not least because the professionals were inclined towards drink, besides which, a central authority and a county system were required. Even now workers are few and far between at the MCC, unless a new stand is being built.

For the next 120 years Lord’s dominated the game – and not just its laws – right around the world. Every important international cricketing body met at “HQ”. It was a conservative game. Cricket did not turn against white captains in the West Indies, or apartheid, till an overwhelming case had been presented elsewhere. After the second World War the cricket nations, most of which had fought with the Allied forces as members of the British Commonwealth, gained their independence and embarked upon, or resumed, lives as free nations. For a long time cricket was immune to changes felt in other sections of society. It was a poor game played by a small number of mostly impoverished peoples. Occasionally the game was shown on television but mostly it inhabited a separate world full of memories and sentiments. In India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, it was played mostly by the upper crust, a group fond of England and its ways.

Of course, cricket could not forever remain the same. Sooner or later, independent nations were bound to demand a share, not so much of the spoils as the decisions. Sooner or later, the days of patronage were bound to end. After all, the game was spreading with democracy and opportunity, and the middle class was growing in all the former colonies. Cricket had been taken up by a new generation that did not look towards London or anyone else with awed eyes; a generation proud of their country and colour and inclined to rely on their own wits; a generation that wanted and needed to make money. Meanwhile numerous books were produced, suggesting that some of the great men of the past were not gods but mere flesh and blood, including WG Grace, Wally Hammond, Ranjitsinhji and CB Fry. The era of the romantics was over. The emperor was not exactly naked, but he had been stripped to sometimes embarrassing essentials.

Among the other important cricket-playing nations, only one had consistently stood its own ground. The Australians had never been impressed with the class system or the old guard or walking or preachers or the English way. There was not much point going so far away merely to reproduce the past. Moreover, it was a harsh, raw continent, full of fires and droughts. Together the land and the history produced a breed of tough and direct men of independent disposition. Accordingly the Australians played by their own lights, displaying a singularity of outlook that made them hard to love and harder to beat. But then Australia had an entirely different story than any of its cricketing rivals. It had no aristocracy to work alongside. It went in cold.

The major change in the last few years has been that other nations have also broken away from acquired habits to assert their individuality and demand their rights. Unsurprisingly, India has been the most outspoken of these newly heard voices. None of the others was well enough placed to stand alone. India had the population and the power. And the money. Australia had met its match.

For a time the Indians merely made an occasional noise. Sunil Gavaskar’s influence was important. Beloved of his people and lauded as a batsman, he spoke out against the cosy assumptions of London, and for that matter, Melbourne. Gavaskar’s weakness has been not that he led the protest, but that, having won the argument, he has not moved on. India has become strong and has no need any longer to act like an outsider. Indeed it has a new responsibility.

And so the Australians and Indians stand tall as cricketing powerhouses. Australia has in recent months started to give some ground to international requirement by moving away from the confrontational approach instilled in numerous backyards, where the game is learned and a thousand friendly taunts are voiced. Hopefully the SCG Test will be remembered as the last instance of the unacceptable face of Australian cricket. Not that they alone crossed the line.

Ricky Ponting and his players had been sorely provoked not so much in Sydney as on their previous visit to India. Sensitivity works both ways. In the last decade India has gained wealth and prestige and its team is strong, intelligent, educated and proud. Whereas Arjuna Ranatunga was seizing the chance presented by leading an unusually gifted Sri Lankan outfit, Sourav Ganguly and his successors have been captaining a side able to take care of itself in any company and likely to remain competitive hereafter. India looks even the fearsome Australians in the eye. Before much more time has passed these nations will learn a common language that goes beyond cricket. Australia will understand that its backyards are unique and that admired sides are supposed to set an example. All the chest beating is passé: the conduct of a new nation eager to flex its muscles and proud of every triumph. India will see that it cannot over-react to every setback as if it were a conspiracy hatched in London and founded upon racist or patronising outlooks.

From the current confrontations will come mutual respect. Sreesanth will realise that he must play the game on his own terms, and that imitating an Australian does not work. The BCCI will stop fighting yesterday’s battles and start thinking about tomorrow. Ponting and his replacement will understand that reputations are hard to change and that rudeness anywhere is intolerable.

In the end love of the game and mutual interest will outlast these disturbances. Ignore the turmoil. The fact remains that Brett Lee is immensely popular in India and Sachin Tendulkar is widely admired Down Under. Supporters have already taken the great leap. Now it is up to those directing cricket operations in both countries to anticipate and avoid conflict. Good manners are needed everywhere. It is time for tongues to stop wagging and ears to start working.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It.

© Cricinfo

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Andrew Symonds should have been banned

I was very disappointed after going through the Justice Hansen report as Symonds has been proven guilty of STARTING THE WHOLE thing.

Here are the excerpts:

[12] It is apparent that the heated exchange arose because Mr Symonds took exception to the appellant patting the bowler Mr Lee on the backside. I have reviewed the television evidence of what occurred. It is clear that Mr Lee bowled an excellent yorker to Mr Singh who was fortunate to play the ball to fine leg. As he passed Mr Lee while completing a single Mr Singh patted Mr Lee on the backside. Anyone observing this incident would take it to be a clear acknowledgement of “well bowled”.

[13] However Mr Symonds took objection to this and at the end of the 116th over he approached Mr Singh telling him he had no friends among the Australians in foul and abusive language. Mr Singh became angry and responded in kind. It was accepted by Mr Symonds that some of Mr Singh’s response was in his native language

“MR MANOHAR: I put it to you that apart from the other Indian abuses he said to you the words “teri maki”?

MY SYMONDS: Possibly, I don’t recall, I don’t speak that language.

MR MANOHAR: Thank you.

HIS HONOUR: But you accept that as a possibility, My Symonds?

MR SYMONDS: As a possibility I accept that, yes.”

Mr Symonds also gave evidence that in the course of this angry exchange that he initiated and provoked Mr Singh called him “you big monkey”.

[14] Mr Symonds appears to be saying that he finds it unacceptable that an opponent makes a gesture that recognises the skill of one of his own team mates. In the transcript he stated:

“MR MANOHAR: You had any objection to that patting on the back?

MR SYMONDS: Did I have an objection to it? my objection was that a test match is no place to be friendly with an opposition player, is my objection.”

If that is his view I hope it is not one shared by all international cricketers. It would be a sad day for cricket if it is.

Read the entire Justice Hansen judgment here: The Judgment of Justice Hansen.

I strongly feel that for self-admittedly INITIATING the on field argument and THEN playing the victim card PLUS, refusing to acknowledge sportive spirit (gestures like Harbhajan was patting Lee for bowling a superb delivery are rare in modern sport, when competitors rarely acknowledge their opponent’s skill), Andrew Symonds should have been banned for “deliberately bringing the game into disrepute”. At minium 10 tests as he manufactured a serious racism charge against poor Harbhajan.

Shame on you, Andrew Symonds. Hope you NEVER get a lucrative IPL contract, unless you publicly apologize to Harbhajan.

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Harbhajan Symonds Microphone Transcript

Below is the transcript of the recording from the Channel Nine stump microphone, which was used as evidence in Harbhajan’s appeal (in the Justice Hansen hearing):

Symonds walks towards Harbhajan at the end of an over and says something …(inaudible).

Symonds: “Go and yell at your teammates …. You called me monkey again.”

Matthew Hayden: “Twice. You’ve got a witness now champ.”

Hayden then walks towards Harbhajan.

Hayden: “That’s the last time.”

Harbhajan: “No listen he started it.”

Hayden: “Doesn’t matter mate, it’s racial vilification mate. It’s a shit word and you know it.”

Soon after, Michael Clarke approaches umpire Mark Benson.

Clarke: “It’s not the first time. He done it in India and got into strife. That’s the second time he’s done it.”

Ricky Ponting then walks up to Benson and gestures towards fellow umpire Steve Bucknor.

Ponting: “Go and tell him. Go and tell him straight away.”

—–

After abusing cricket players worldwide for decades, they can’t take it. I think Harbhajan should’ve told in a press conference openly, “Yes, I called that idiotic Symonds a monkey.” After dishing out for years, why are the Aussies acting like weak kids? They can’t take a word like “monkey”????

I think after going through the above transcript, one thing’s for sure.. Ponting and his bunch of merry men really acted like school kids complaining to their class teacher!!! Are these the “tough World Champs”??? no way… Chimps? 😉 Maybe.

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My linup for the Adelaide Test

1. Virender Sehwag

2. Saurav Ganguly (Yes..Ganguly must open, and Jaffer sent back to refine technique)

3. Rahul Dravid

4. Sachin Tendulkar

5. VVS Laxman

6. Irfan Pathan (Pathan in better form, must bat ahead of Dhoni).

7. MS Dhoni

8. Anil Kumble

9. Harbajjan Singh

10. RP Singh

11. Ishant Sharma

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