Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monkey Business

The verdict is out and Harbhajan has been cleared of the racism charge. After the extreme drama where Mike Procter handed out the initial judgement to the constant pressures applied by the BCCI, this has been the ugliest story of the cricketing season. While the suspension was pushed away until this hearing so that the tests could proceed as planned, BCCI took to extraordinary tactics to put pressure on ICC and CA (Cricket Australia). They threatened to cancel the tour, kept their players in Adelaide etc.

Predictably, the Aussie media retaliated with criticism of the reversal of the charge against Harbhajan. They all talk about how CA & ICC bent over to accomodate BCCI. However, the Australians are missing the point. There issue snowballed because (a) Ricky Ponting decided to escalate the issue despite Kumble's suggestion not to (b) the obviously biased Mike Procter gave a horrendous decision where he took one man's word over another's. That the trusted party was white does not help matter.

Australians need to understand that this isn't the first time Indians and Asians have been at the receiving end of such treatment. The Mike Deniss incident was another case in point. It is the pent up frustration of this treatment at the hands of non-Asian teams and match referrees that has led to this.

If BCCI put on pressure, its only because ICC and CA would understand only that language. The fact is that the first judgement was wrong that the only right thing was its reversal. Is it so difficult for anyone to see? In what court of law would you proceed on one man's word over the other? If it can't be proved that Harbhajan uttered the racist comments, then obviously the charge against him is without basis. I am not a big fan of BCCI. It is a powerful yet greedy organization which has never cared for the betterment of cricket. But on this issue, I support their actions. It is a matter of national pride, an assertion of identity. Non-Asian teams have rolled over the Asians for years now with the consent of the ICC. Now, there's no need to take that kind of nonsense anymore. I can clearly see how only BCCI could have achieved this. Imagine if this would have happened with a less influential cricketing board like Sri Lanka. Do you think the player would have had a second trial and be exonerated? That being said, players like Harbhajan and Sreesanth need to be told by the BCCI to conduct themselves better on the field. For all the drama, Harbhajan had a very ordinary series and I would definitely rather pick Murali Karthik for the upcoming series against the South Africans. Put your performances where your mouth is. There is a reason no one sledges Tendulkar.

7 comments:

Abhishek Dhasmana said...

Right On, Bro!

sd said...

to your (a) and (b), I would like to add (c) Symond's behavior.... almost always Harbhajan has reacted.... and I do not see why Symonds walks away scott free.... and no one talks about him.

Having said that I do not completely agree with you on BCCI's conduct. I agree that having a correct decision made was important; but once the judge etc were selected there has no reason to hire a charterd plane and all the big guns of BCCI making politically incorrect and sometime down right stupid statements....

Radha said...

At the cost of sounding unpatriotic :)....

I believe that if Harbhajan did call Symonds a monkey, thats rasict & disciplinary action is in order. In that case, Ponting was right in escalating the matter. Sachin only said that he did not hear Bhajji call Symonds a monkey; he never said that Bhajji had not called Symonds a monkey.

Although I also agree that calling a black man monkey is as offensive as calling an Indian a bastard. We're culturally-sensitive to differnt things than the Aussies are & the Aussies shd be disciplined as well the next time they utter a gaali.

Parth said...

@SD: BCCI was never expected to behave in a balanced way. In some sense, the support it had from back home gave it leeway to go to all extremes.

@Radha: I am not debating the racism aspect of the issue. Certainly the behavior of the Indian crowds was deplorable, but there's sufficient doubt whether Harbhajan said what he did. Also, it is worth noting that he was provoked by Symonds, something that the Aussies are good at. They introduced sledging and have tried to justify it through the years. Symonds comment that 'a test match is no place to get friendly with yoru opponents' is ridiculous. You are effectively saying you can't play the game in the right spirit.

Extempore said...

So what, my dear, did you make of yesterday's wonderful 20-20 performance? :-)

p.s. We put our TV off after a bit.

Parth said...

@Extempore: My views on the 20-20 format have been well publicized. I don't care much for it. I read the scores and they seem embarassing enough but I didn't stay up to watch those three hours. However, I did catch almost all the days in all the three test matches.

Shreemoyee said...

well put.