Sunday, January 13, 2008

Aus…….World Champions in cricket…….

The above phrase has been reduced to an oxymoron after the Boxing Day test at Sydney. The great Aussies, known for their aggression, for their spirit of the game, their uncompromising commitment were reduced to a shit load of opportunists. This Australian team is perhaps the one that will tarnish the image of the great Australian sporting attitude, the one which it boasts of, where a player was booed by the crowd headed by an elderly gentleman for spoiling the spirit of the game of cricket as he was just playing out of the world cricket and the opponent county cricket team was not able to get him out even after one whole day. Word goes that the player was Ricky Ponting at 16 playing for Tasmania and the elderly gentleman who headed the crowd asking him to be stopped from playing further was his father.

Cricket has its most fanatic fans and followers, who can even die for the game, in two parts of the world, in the Indian subcontinent and in the island continent. The charges of match fixing scandals apart the game is bigger than anyone in these parts of the world. Such a fanatic cricket loving nation had to feel ashamed of its own so called powerful world champion cricket team after five days of what the Australian team even dared to call as Cricket. The India Skipper, the workhorse, has always been known as one player with possibly the best of attitudes in the cricketing fraternity, was forced to say to the press “Only one team was playing in the real spirit of the game”. I think that is enough evidence for any follower of cricket as to what level of integrity was displayed by the mighty Aussies.

I may be and am a fanatic of Indian Cricket but that apart my love for the game is none any less. I would like to see a better display of talent be it any cricket match. Being that kind of a connoisseur of the game I have always felt that the Aussies have been a formidable team who have broken all records and proved time and again that they are the best team in the world. Given that, I really don’t understand why they needed to resort to such cheap ways as to appeal for grounded catches and stand for umpires’ signals for nicks to first slip. If you cannot win without such tactics you ought not to be called world champions and you don’t deserve to equal the longest-chain-of-test-victories record set by the once great Aussie team led by one of the best skippers of all times in the history of the game, Steve Waugh.

Bad umpiring and wrong decisions have always been and are an integral part of any sport and I don’t blame the umpires for genuine mistakes. After all they are also human and agreed that To Err is Human. But having officiated in more than 25 -30 test matches if you go ahead and ask a vociferously appealing fielder as to whether he took the catch cleanly I guess you ought to learn common sense and get back to learning basics. Probably I can officiate in any match in Benson’s place cause though I may not be accurate I can save being so foolish and thoughtless. The million dollar question here is that how is that out of 10 wrong decisions in a test match the ratio has turned out to be 2:8 in favour of the home team. Such decadent appeals, obvious nicks and such poor decisions all point to a different ugly dimension as to whether the Aussie team had done more than just play cricket to just equal the longest-chain-of-test-victories record desperately.

Though I had never liked them as an Indian I had always been an admirer of the uncompromising attitude and unquenchable thirst for victory displayed by the Aussies in world cricket. But this Australian team has lost my respect, and of those millions worldwide, not to mention such crazy fanatics of the game in its own homeland. Punter has always been portrayed with a bad guy image and to point a finger at an Indian reporter in a press conference and to talk about his integrity after appealing for 3 grounded catches and obvious not out decisions, not to mention staying on at the crease even after being out two times, was just reiterating his unwarranted audacity and the fact that he just wanted to win by hook or crook. Dubious appeals have been upheld in the past and players have gone to apologise or publicly accept such behaviour. To still maintain that he took the catch cleanly after giant screen replays, talks volumes of his so called self claimed INTEGRITY.

This is the striking difference between the once unbeatable-unconquerable WIndies team which went on rampage in the 60s-70s and early 80s. They were true sportsmen and undoubtedly the best champions ever in the true sense of the words. They never even used to appeal for even half certain scenarios but still managed to win the game and the hearts of cricket fans worldwide. They were audacious and arrogant too but they were not cheap. Now that is what I call champion attitude and arrogance and one can always enjoy that arrogance.

This Australian team has disgraced itself and its own glory taking down along with it, the respect of its own country men. When the India Skipper said "You nick one to keeper and stand, that's understandable. but when you nick one to first slip and stand for the upmire's decision then it says it all." I felt "if this guy is going to lead the Aus team in future then GOD help Cricket and Autralia".