Cricket: Ponting tells on Singh, is now that annoying kid we all hate for being lame.

It was a dark and stormy night. That’s a lie. It was a mild and unseasonably warm night and I was almost asleep, lulled away by Heidi Klum’s and Niki Taylor’s voiceovers on Bravo.

Then, something insane happened; I received a reality-bending email. But first, some unnecessary prattle back story.

From age 0-3.5, I had a much-adored stuffed bear, like most children my age. Unlike most children, my bear was named Babu, which totally proves that kids born here in the early to mid seventies might as well have been popped out “back home”. Anyway, Babu was wonderful as a confidante, hugging partner and drool-catcher…until we moved to San Francisco. Somewhere between Southern California and Northern, Babu disappeared, never to be seen again.

Last night, dazed and confused by exhaustion, I checked my email one final time…and did a sleepy double-take. There, in my inbox…Babu. The only justification I can offer for thinking what comes next is, um, Benadryl. “My Babu reached out to me from beyond!”, I gasped, and he did so via GMail no less:

Hi Anna,
It’s the biggest story happening in Indian Cricket and you are not covering it….that’s not right :)
Feed your cricket hunger with the story. I’m not sure if you are aware of the suspension of an Indian cricket player over racial abuse. This has created a cricket war between India and Australia. and YOU should write about it.
It has high drama, fight for honor, millions of dollars at stake and the big Indian ego Vs Australian. Australian media is supporting India as well :)
Link, link, link and link.
Well, I didn’t wanna vote in News tab and wait….hehe.. :D
~Babu

Babu, after absorbing tears, snot and Lord knows what else, this is the least I can do.

All right people.

The cricket post I have received eleven requests for (not counting the above-pasted, impassioned plea from my bear) is up next.

India’s cricket team stayed in its hotel in protest Monday after one of its players was penalized for allegedly using a racial slur during a match against Australia.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India plans to challenge the “the unfair decision” by the International Cricket Council to suspend Harbhajan Singh for three matches because it said he made racist remarks to Australia’s only black player. The Indian board said it will “suspend its operation until the appeal is disposed of.” [IHT]

What the hell is going on, you might be asking. No? Well, I was asking…this is a lot of story for a blogger of little cricket brain. Apparently Indian cricket player Harbhajan Singh called Australian player Andrew Symonds a monkey. Symonds is black.

Admittedly, “monkey” would not qualify in the top hundred racist insults. Ian Botham used to revel in the nickname “Guy The Gorilla”. When all is said and done, we are all simian primates. But the word “monkey” had form, as everybody knew that Symonds had supposedly suffered such insults last year from Indian crowds. So case proven, the Indian spinner was guilty as charged. The Indian board should stop its posturing, accept what must be a galling reminder that it is the International Cricket Council that still runs the game, and get on with the tour.
Do not delude yourself, though, that in punishing Harbhajan cricket is punishing a sinner. It is punishing a victim. It is punishing a player who, it might be concluded, mentally disintegrated. Remember mental disintegration? It is Australia’s nauseatingly self-congratulatory phrase for sledging. And it worked. It worked so well that Harbhajan cracked and Australia have not stopped bleating about their shoddy little victory ever since. [Guardian]

Sledging is a cricket term for undermining players by talking a lot o’ tatti. Insult someone enough and they crack, not that I would know a damned thing about that.

Match referee Mike Proctor held a four-hour hearing at the Sydney Cricket Ground after Australia’s 122-run victory and ruled that the case against the India spinner was proved.
“I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Harbhajan Singh directed that word at Andrew Symonds and also that he meant it to offend on the basis of Symonds’ race or ethnic origin,” Proctor said. [IHT]

Beyond a reasonable doubt, eh?

“Unfair allegation of racism against our Indian player is wholly unacceptable,” said board president Sharad Pawar, who is also a senior government minister, in a statement. “The game of cricket is paramount but so too is the honor of India’s cricket team and every Indian.” [IHT]

Warning: cricket neophyte about to type.

The second test match of the tour = drama. Captain Kumble (that’s fun to say!) called the Aussies out on being dirty bastards while his team rolled their eyes the fifth time the umpires made a stupid and unfair decision.

The most blatant was an appeal that would have put Symonds out after just 30 runs in the first innings.
Symonds has freely admitted he should have been out. He went on to score 162 runs not out and was later named man of the match. [IHT]

We’re not alone in our hot tub of displeasure:

Several Australian newspapers agreed Monday that India should have won the second test, and criticized the behavior of Australian players during the test. [IHT]

I think what is pissing so many people off is the double-standard which is so evident in this unfortunate situation, the hypocrisy.

The problem is that Australia’s dividing line is not a reliable division between the morally upstanding and the indefensible. Australia’s dividing line is repugnant, enabling the condemnation of the likes of Harbhajan whilst legitimising obnoxious behaviour that cricket should have had the bravery to root out a generation ago.
Racism cannot be countenanced. But it is a rum old world that bans a man for three Tests for calling someone a monkey, yet allows the sort of boorish behaviour that allows first slip to drone to a batsman that he is shagging his wife, or that convinces any fast bowler with half a brain that personal insults every time a batsman plays and misses are essential for any cricketer of spirit. As long as you are careful not to refer to the colour of his skin.
It needs to be remembered that Harbhajan’s assault did not come without provocation. Before he was abused as a monkey, Symonds had been indulging in a phrase or two out of the corner of his mouth. Australia and Harbhajan have been at each other for years. But Australia have been obsessed with “reverse racism” ever since Darren Lehmann, their batsman, became the first international player to be banned for the racial abuse of Sri Lankan players five years ago. They have been intent upon revenge and now they have gained it. [Guardian]

What I found interesting is how Harbhajan Singh’s outburst might have been overlooked (vs. becoming the subject of 5,000 blog posts and news articles) had Aussie captain Ponting not whined about it to the umpires, thus drawing attention to it. That’s classy.

Well, Ponting may have won this pathetic, wee, jeer-worthy (no! sledging-worthy) battle but after everything I’ve read online, he has lost far more, most notably respect and credibility because of it. Well-played. Idiot (note: must be pronounced the way Naseeruddin Shah did in Monsoon Wedding, kthx bai).

556 thoughts on “Cricket: Ponting tells on Singh, is now that annoying kid we all hate for being lame.

  1. I think I might be on to something here, let’s see. I just hope Brett Lee’s next bouncer doesn’t miss Dhoni and knock Gilchrist out cold. I also hope that after seeing all the blood pouring out of Gilchrist, Hayden doesn’t faint on top of Ponting and injure them both.

  2. This is amaz…um, Tendulkar must have been awe-….er -

    You’re going to be all out before 450. Pathetic.

  3. You’re going to be all out before 450. Pathetic.

    they may still deduct past runs you know.. :)

  4. they may still deduct past runs you know.. :)

    Exactly! You never know what might go wrong now.

    So you reached 450. So what? Australia would make it past 500 for sure. [begins deep breathing exercises]

  5. There is nothing nothing more pleasing than watching frustrated Australians getting roasted under the sun. :) Did anyone notice Lee’s bodyline attempt at Ishant ? Pathetic.

    @flygirl

    So you reached 450. So what? Australia would make it past 500 for sure.

    Please! keep it up :)

  6. Bhajji is hilarious. This was what he had to say about accidentally running into Stuart Clark: The last time I touched someone, I was in trouble. But luckily nobody came and said ,’Why you’re touching our bowlers’.”

    Maybe the Indians are indeed taking sledging to a whole new level.

  7. i’ve caught the cricket bugg thanks to y’all. An interesting development in my opinion is the quality of sports-writing I’m seeing from desifolks. I am surely it’s technically accurate. It’s just the sheer joy of the game that comes through in some of the articles I have read. There’s a gentleman from NY (I believe) who also blogs on cricket for rediff who is a master of the craft. [his name slips me. anyone?] I particularly enjoyed this piece and loved this little gem below.

    Some batting pairs alter the bowlers’ rhythm, others mess with their peace.

    In many respects this is a market development. The game is so large and so glamorous now that the pool of enthusiasts is wide and varied. their paths to sport-writing may be different from your conventional artsy-fartsy-liveinattic-on-diet-of-watery-mungdal-and-onion-bohemian-fringe, but the quality is sublime. No henna and pottus here. it’s desi without pandering and i like it.

  8. “ok:) . although i’d like to think all my childish jinxes on ponting helped sharma:)

    Please elaborate:)”

    too embarrassing:) and if i say it, it might not work against ponting. right now trying to refine the hoodoo against hayden – didn’t work last night :(

    hope harbhajan/kumble bowl as well as they batted (oops forgot, hope they don’t). what a change from the recent years when the indian tail looked like deer scared by the headlights.

    anyone watch the federer-djokovich match?

  9. Hey Guys, Too drunk to comment properly; the Qatar Masters and all that, but, I just wanted to make sure that I put in something here today as it has become my latest ritual when India is playing. WGIIA: If it’s embaressing it’s worth narrating. (Hopefully, Rahul will come up with a better rhyme:)) SM Intern: This thread is special; don’t you dare kill it, ever;)

  10. !!! indeed Shodan.. And thank you!! I was going bananas trying to trace the name.

    It’s so refreshing to read the new reporters. I used to feel the traditional opinion pieces in indian-english newspapers styled themselves after PG Wodehouse’s circuitous prose for humor or used really clunky language if expressing complex thought. I am sure the content was rock solid, but there was no rythm, no melody.

    On the other hand, some of these new desi cricket writers have this beautiful freewheeling style which is delightful to read just for the craft. So well done guys!! keep it coming Prem and Siddharth and others.

  11. as it has become my latest ritual when India is playing.

    People, we need our own forum.

    Can I put a word in for Rahul Bhattacharya? and the bloggers at Cricinfo aren’thalf bad either. Thanks for the tip on Prem Panicker and Guha.

    So, Bhajji, give us a wicket, yeah?

  12. it will be a day of torture, i am telling you… our turn to groan with frustration.

    rp singh is a kaamchor.

  13. Welcome to the club and I think you’re referring to Prem Panicker.

    Prem Panicker is alright, although he’s worn out his welcome as far as I’m concerned. I think that he strings together indiscriminate lifts from his bedside handbook of metaphors while he writes, much like I am sure Shastri hugs his clichesaurus, and Sidhu his folktionary.

    Rahul Bhattacharya certainly has some gems. I remember a tiny paragraph he wrote about a Tendulkar straight drive a long time ago – five lines of the most evocative verbal photography ever, I will link to it if I can find it.

  14. I hate Hayden. Just like Boon before him, he always plays well against India. Sure Laxman does the same to Aussies, but he’s lot more likable. Hayden just looks like a prick. I don’t have any evidence, I just hate the #$%@.

    Oh, and my presence on this thread has completely ruined India’s chances. I am such a panvati, my friends had to throw me out of my own house at ’83 WC.

  15. Pretty focused playing by the Aussies so far. Have to give it to them!

    Hayden just looks like a prick. I don’t have any evidence, I just hate the #$%@.

    Me too :)

  16. What’s a panvati? :) Slang for some who acts as a jinx

    Then, I’m Super-Panvati; I jinxed Gilchrist so much at #503, that he’s just announced his retirement from Test Cricket.

  17. “hope harbhajan/kumble bowl as well as they batted (oops forgot, hope they don’t).”

    take that back! i hope they bowl superbly tonight. hayden’s a bully, but ishant shouldn’t try to outdo him in the ugly stares dept. hayden’s got that market cornered. sharma is too young and innocent looking to pull it off. in the end, he bullied Hayden in the right way.

  18. What, khoofia? Not drinking chai?

    Another aspect of stories from that era that also makes me cringe are descriptions like this: Constantine, he continued, “bore himself with modesty and dignity, dealt with all questions with intelligence and truce truth, and was not concerned with being malicious or vindictive.”

    The need for people to go out of their way to note whenever a black man was “noble”, “dignified”, “intelligent” is itself unfortunate and patronizing, at least in retrospect, even if it is done with the best of intentions.

  19. What, khoofia? Not drinking chai?

    :-) no man. only enough milk :-( to lighten my french press french roast, as we read of the french prez, while munching french toast. [really].

  20. kumble seems to have lost the plot. why does he persist with harbhajan and himself for too many overs when sehwag/sharma look more threatening?

  21. Perfect. One batsman short, and one bowler short! Although it is unlikely the 10 runs Jaffer or Yuvi would’ve made would be the difference in any case…

  22. For many years, this field was dominated by dry statisticians and assorted wankers.

    Speaking of cricket writing, Cricinfo has a timely review titled “Letting the facts spoil a good story” on a recently published anthology, that makes exactly this point.

    The Telegraph became the paper of choice for the cricketing village partly because it had EW Swanton, but more significantly because it had depth. Behind him in the line-up were some very good and very wise cricket reporters. But that’s not quite the same as having cricket writers.

  23. Rahul Bhattacharya certainly has some gems… I will link to it if I can find it.

    Finally found it! A little melodramatic now that I reread it, but well done nonetheless.

    He waits and waits and waits

    Steady now, absolutely still. His eyes glance about before settling on a man charging at him. The man stops abruptly and moves his arm all funny, as if throwing a round-house wallop from ten meters away. The steady man raises his arm as his eyes leave the charger. There is no time. Instinct takes less time than thought, so he gives in to it. What does he do? He responds to the thrown punch by stepping back slightly and curling his body as his arms pull back like a trigger. And then the self-created tension uncoils at the speed of instinct. Arms rush forward while he twists his waist balances on the toes of one leg with the digits of the other barely kissing the ground. Then he waits and waits and waits. Steadily, absolutely still, before granting himself a single nod of approval.

    Watching a Tendulkar six over midwicket was theatre.

  24. Seems to be headed for a Draw:( Anyways, overall, India’s performance in this tour has been much better than I thought it would be. Well played, to them.

  25. Mel D or any of the other desis in OZ,

    I don’t know if any of you are still reading, if you are, I have a question. There was a significant discussion about whether the Indian Team should have left Oz. After having seen them hold their own and better against the Aussies in Perth, does that change any of your minds. I’m not trying to stir the pot, I’m just curious as to how the OZ desis feel about the whole thing now with the recent results.

    cricket / field hockey at the district level. I still play cricket in the local leagues. Coming weekend is going to be a tough one for me with all the banter on the field.

    Mel D, I’m betting that you kicked some serious trash talking (sledging) tail with how well India did. Does that change your initial opinion in any way about the pullout? I’m not trying to get you to say yes or prove any point, I’m trying to find out whether the feeling that some desis might now have by seeing how well the team did in any way outweighs the feeling they may have have had or think they would feel if the team had left.

    Oh, And how is the fine against Bhajji playing out in OZ? I’ve read that it is being spinned as the Aussies caving to Indian threats of a pullout.

  26. I’ve read that it is being spinned as the Aussies caving to Indian threats of a pullout.

    That is true. Aussie media was in full force against Cricket Australia, BCCI and ICC. However after the judge’s statement came out there has been less hall-gulla.

    For some reason Aussie players were asked (by Cricket Australia) to sign a document that downgraded the charge to “use of offensive language”. I did not understand why this was done as the judge had ruled that the original charges could not be substentiated. It could be that Indians (BCCI) did not want this “charge” to go in the record books so they gently nudged their Aussie counterparts to do the right thing. ;)

    Someone correctly noted that in this case BCCI has spent a lot of its political capital on Harbhjan and I think Bhajji has received serious whooping. My guess is Bhajji will be good boy from now on.

  27. now that the whole issue is out of Cric Aus’s and ICC’s hands, BCCI should crack the whip on bhajji and others like him who think that frat boy behavior is somehow ok.

    it is one thing to back bhajji up against a traditionally rigged system—I concede that ICC is pretty much a bully, whose fangs are now gone thanks to money flowing into BCCI’s coffers—it is entirely different to let him go free. i would support steps—in fact i think it is imperative—to discipline him.

  28. We all still here? Lanka has arrived, people. Don’t have much use for 20/20 matches, though.

    JJ, am Lankan and have always opposed the pull-out which always seemed like a cop-out to me. So not sure if my opinion matters :-)

  29. 547 · flygirl said

    <

    blockquote JJ, am Lankan and have always opposed the pull-out which always seemed like a cop-out to me. So not sure if my opinion matters :-)

    Thanks Sulabh and flygirl. I was trying to get a feel for what it must be like in your neck of the woods right now. I’ve enjoyed lurking while the assorted cricket crew post comments in the late evening (EST) while the match is on. And Flygirl, of course it matters, good luck to Lanka against Australia. See you when South Africa plays India.

  30. JJ, am Lankan and have always opposed the pull-out which always seemed like a cop-out to me.

    Beg to disagree fg, I don’t think it was a cop-out, IMO it had an opposite effect – it raised the stakes for everyone including BCCI. I think it was pretty bold move. Indian’s had no option other than to sit quietly and wait for appeal process to get over. The pullout bluff not only got everybody’s attention it just might have expedited the process.

    It seems that Aussie media and Aussies live in a completely different make believe world. At some level it reminds me of the days before Iraq war when “conservative” Americans were convinced of the presence of WMDs in Iraq.

    There was no deal and there was no buyout – the judge rendered a verdict based on the evidence that he was presented. Moreover if Aussies are such proud people then why did the players agreed to downgrade the charge. I have no sympathy for Aussies – ( not much for Harbhajan either for that matter)

    I am thinking that in future such issues will be handled in a better way – especially by ICC and its officers. This is good news for all the Asian Bloc teams.

    Flygirl – “herald sun” reported that even Ranatunga said that his team would not have played (pulled out of tri-nation ODI) if this appeal was not handled properly – is it true? Or this is Ranatunga being Ranatunga ;) ? (BTW: he also said sledging should be banned ;) . He must have a Phd in the art of getting under Aussie skin.

  31. Sulabh, perhaps you are more attuned to the nature and strategies of brinkmanship, which is something I’m not a fan of :-D . You may be right that it expedited the process. While I was happy for appeals and a degree of fuss to be made – let’s face it, the Aussies need their comeuppance, as I’ve said before – I prefer to answer detractors on the field. It still doesn’t take away the fact that India could not hold its second innings in the second Test. I’m not keen on the idea of a BCCI bully in addition to the ICC and ACB, since bullies really only take care of themselves. Maybe the BCCI could also focus on producing the best cricket team in the world, which you would expect India to be capable of creating with its population, talent pool and money.

    Having bitched and whined, I have to say this Test series has been enthralling – from the first innings of Test 2 when it looked like Australia had a challenger at last, and India looked like it actually would pull it together (at last! at last!) into a great performance. I feel rather bereft now that it’s over, it’s more fun than a one-dayer triangular series which always gets me through a summer. Almost.

    I agree that the Aussie media and a large section of Aussie society lives in a make-believe world when it comes to their sports stars (the Iraq analogy is ever so slightly excessive?). Delusional, perhaps, is the best word for it. I think the Kiwi judge did a good job and I am happy to see that the process brought about a better outcome. The next step (in addition to disciplining Singh who clearly need to be reined in) is to tackle sledging more formally and fully.

    You’re quoting the Hun – sorry, Herald-Sun? ;-) I wouldn’t put it past Ranatunga. When he came in 95-96 there was the same level of acrimony. He has honorary doctorates in getting under Aussie skin for sure! But with all of the acrimony he did’nt’ pull out – and remember that our top bowlers right to play the game itself was under constant attack – so I think it’s Ranatunga being himself, as usual.

    Oh, and the fourth test: shame it was a draw, but that’s Adelaide, I guess. It’s always high scoring batter’s pitch and England lost there last year after scoring 551.