January 03, 2008

Not Cricket

When you read the press reports from Indian cricket writers you'd almost believe that they're the only side that ever got a bad call.

I don't recall reading too many stories blaming the umpires for any other team losing a test match. The reason is of course that one decision does not determine who will win or lose. The melodramatic pleas from Indian media and players reveals the extent to which they have failed to take responsibility for their own situation.

They got two bad calls during the day, that is true. But they also stood around for hours and watched hundreds of runs scored against their bowling. There were eleven fit and talented Indian cricketers out on the field that day, what were they doing to win the match? They did half a days work and then let the game slip away from them after a bad call.

Andrew Symonds pointed out himself that the rub of the green can go either way in a match. Just ask Ricky Ponting about being given LBW after getting the bat to ball. All kinds of luck can flow with you or against you, and the important thing is how you respond to that. The previous test match in Melbourne saw a few LBW decisions go in favour of some lucky Indian batsmen - but the bowlers job is to walk back up the pitch and bowl another one until you get your man.

Most disappointing was the suggestion that it was a deliberate error. There's a big difference between whining about the result and accusing someone of interfering with the game. It shows an appalling lack of character on behalf of those who would voice such baseless drivel.

Even the call to lodge a complaint with the match referee only reflects poorly on the Indians, and does nothing to help the team perform at their best. By diverting attention towards a single incident they fail to accept the nature of the game, and fail to accept the challenge of test cricket. It's about five days of ebb and flow, it's not about hysterical theatrics and playing the victim.

India has a great team of players, I'd like to see them concentrate on their cricket and leave the impossibly difficult job of umpiring to people who have more skill than some hack of a writer.

India Dialy
Hindustan Times
Inida Times
Express India


ewster said...

I think everyone needs to take a big step back, this includes the BCCI, CA, The Indian team, the Australian team, the ICC and channel 9 commentators... and especially Peter Roebuck. All I have heard is inflamatory comments and no really reasoning. We have always had the good and the bad umpiring decisions but you never hear of an Umpire being patted on the back for all the good ones, just the knives being sharpened for the bad ones. As for a batsman standing his ground, give the guy some time to reflect what could have been (Ganguly and Clarke) and what they have missed out on. If they are remonstrating with the Umpire, throw the book at them and hard. I know I have appealed for a wicket when the batsman did not think he was out but I as the bowler/fielder did, I don't believe this makes me a cheat or person of ill-repute - there are two sides to every cricket story Mr Roebuck, as you well know. Harbajan obviously said something out there, but he also said a lot in the press and on the Oct 2007 tour. He is not making any friends, especially for his lack of respect towards Ponting, one of the greatest batsmen to play the game, with all his carry on. Anil Kumble needs to pull his men into line and Ricky Ponting needs to pull his men into line. Both groups are acting like spoilt children. I don't condone the behaviour of the Aussies either, especially after the umpiring decisions that occurred, hugging and carrying on after the final wicket as the opposition Captain waited to congratulate the victors but was rudely ignored. That should have been Ricky Pontings first priority but does not condone Peter Roebucks outrageous call for his sacking. If he wanted headlines around the world, and earn himself a few extra dollars, well in my opinion, he has done it in the most inflammatory underhanded manner. Grow up and act like adults. Sledging, name-calling and unsportsmanlike behaviour is not recquired at any level of cricket. Especially from the No.1 and No.2 test playing nations of world cricket.

Posted by: Dave Holmes of Maitland

ewster said...

The most disappointing comments this week come from Peter Roebuck. I've never been struck one way or the other by his journalism in the past, but his work the past two weeks has been a disgrace. Not happy Peter...


Interesting to see the following article posted by one of the Indian papers...


No mention in Indian papers yet of the disgraceful tactics employed by the Indian team to slow-down the change of batsmen at the climax of the match - even the last man to walk onto the pitch arrived with the wrong gloves and played out a pantomime of time wasting.

What is really confusing in the entire debate about Singh and whether he made racial comments is that many reports in the media claim that Indian players do not regard Monkey as a racial taunt. The BCCI also claims there was no evidence of the taunt, although four Australian players gave evidence of the verbal event. BCCI therefore is disregarding any accounts of Australian player as "no evidence", while the Indian team disregards the offensive terms as "not racist". In short, the ICC and BCCI don't seem to agree on what constitutes racism, or what constitutes evidence. To date I cannot recall the BCCI admitting that anyone in India has ever done anything wrong, instead they wail and get hysterical at the very notion that someone would accuse a member of the team. Not good enough really.

Finally, the issue of walking or not walking. This quote from another website seems to handle the debate well...

Bill Lawry, a former captain of Australia, was clear about the issue when he played. "Leave it to the umpire," he said. "The umpire has a job and I have mine. I will not walk." That's fine. He knew he would get a break one day but that on another he would be on the rough end of a bad decision. His view was that the two evened themselves out. As long as a non-walker accepts a bad decision with good grace, what is the problem?

Steve Bucknor, in the eye of the Sydney storm, said a few years ago that some batsmen would only walk when they had passed a hundred and not before they had scored. "If he knows he is out and he goes, that's good for the game," he said. "But the umpire should not depend on someone who is a walker. Otherwise, that same walker may embarrass the umpire.''

In short, unless every player in the world walks without hesitation, it won't work - and human nature means that simply will not happen. There is too much at stake to ask even the most ardent walker to give himself out when he gets the thinnest of edges after being on the receiving end of a string of bad decisions and is, as a result, batting for his place.

ewster said...

This is worth reading - History repeats itself after the 2001 incident in South Africa when teh Indian team reacted in similar outrage (and claims of racism) after being hauled up for poor sportsmanship...


ewster said...


Kumble now says he asked Ponting not to report Singh. If there wasnt anything to report in the first place, then what was Kumble referring to when asking Ponting if they could sort it out behind closed doors?

The story so far:
1) Indian team doesn't believe the words in question are a racial slur
2) failing that they claim the words were never spoken
3) failing that they now claim the matter could have been resolved without an official report

Let's take the hypothetical that the ICC's investigation is accurate, and words were spoken. In such a case the worst crime of all is that Singh had not confessed to his actions, the BCCI had not admitted fault of their players, and the furore widens.

Let's take the hypothetical that the ICC's investigation is flawed and Singh never said a single word in anger. The worst crime is the failure of the ICC to be capable of establishing accurate findings and hence throwing fuel on the fire during a difficult tour for the Indians.

So let's see the evidence, let's see why the ICC found Singh guilty. Both parties claim there is deception afoot, so neither should complain about laying the cards on the table.