Winter of Cricket Madness

28 02 2008

Anybody who has been following the Indian tour of Aussies, must be wide eyed. Wow! What a series!

Shed your sensitivities and how Indians have been offended – this has been a perfect series. Its got drama, emotions, fast bowlers back in fashion, low score, villainous umpires, Goliath vs. Goliath, great upset. Why the hell are we complaining about it?

There have been suggestions by BCCI to put a ban on sledging but seriously what good would that do? It would just end up making a dour sport duller. Atleast, India’s tour of Australia proves, that cricket can be maddening fun and even a hardboiled player can be such a bitch.

Its great to see Indians competing against Australians in Australia and not holding anything back. However, its easy to see that the young team is getting carried away and almost being brash in their field antics. At the other end, Australian players are playing experienced and its easy to see how they are leading Indians to get charged up and make mistakes. Some clear examples:

  • Ponting slipping in a couple of words to Harbhajan as he returns to pavilion
  • Symonds mouthing off as he gets out. (And with all that animated gesture shown clearly on the video, he wants us to believe all he said was “Good ball”). C’mon
  • Hayden’s recent “Obnoxious weed” comment.

All were meant to unsettle the opposition and all were successful in doing so without getting Aussies into problem (except Hayden). As Dhoni said the other day, sledging is an art (mastered by Aussies). It has to be perfected, to give as much back without getting charged.

I love the way Aussies play – hard, aggressive even though a tad unfair. They go about things believing in their ability and desire to win. But I will give it to the Indian players that they have proved to be a worthy foe and not just rolled over.

If I was to pick one player to come out worst of this series, it would undoubtedly be Ponting. He has been acting like a schizophrenic all the time. One moment he talks about hard and fair play, next moment he is all worked up when somebody says his appeal for a catch was unfair (based on video evidence). One moment he gives suggestions to umpire about a decision and next moment he grins a devious smile when interviewed about gentleman’s catching agreement. One moment he gives it as bad as he can to the opposition but the next moment he is next to umpire when he gets some. I was a fan of Ponting, when all he knew was how to put the opposition to the mat. He now acts like a wussy. What a stark change!

However, the biggest issue of this mid-winter madness is the marked animosity between the citizens of two countries. Australians think Indians are louts and degenerates, and Indians call Aussies crooks and whiners. And this feeling is spreading like fire, more so over the web. There are millions and millions of forums doing nothing but abusing each others country and countrymen. Articles and blog sites having a field day with all the bi-polar comments that are flying around. Surely the matter of winning a game or a series can not be as important that you come to a point where both the country sees each other but objects deserving vilification. Players have done nothing to help and boards of both the countries lesser so.

I would say we are being treated to best cricket on display with a very heady mix of a great cricketing rivalry. Lets just keep our sensitivities aside and stop labeling Australians for what their players are doing on the field. Lets just support our own team and let Aussies take care of their own bunch. Finally, lets enjoy the Cricket!