Monday, 7 January 2008

My fellow Australians disgust me (well, some of...)

Sorry to write about "sport" in what was meant to be a political blog, but sport is getting more and more like Politics.

Winner take all!

As that 1936 Punch cartoon illustrates, this is not new in Cricket.

But what is new (for me) is that the Australian Cricket team lacks honour, and certainly they all lack dignity.

Australia did not deserve to win the Second Test, in Sydney, against India. Our team cheated. It is as simple as that.

Thousands of words have been written, but few have come out and called it for what it is. Peter Roebuck has come closest.

People say that it was the Umpires making bad decisions, but the reality is that our players tried to claim that they were not out.
  • "Bucknor (Umpire) was humiliated in the first innings when Symonds said he should have been out on 30 and went on to make 162, and the players have clearly lost confidence in him."
Hang on - it was Symonds who clearly nicked the ball, but stood there, pretending he had not hit it. Then, apparently he admitted the next day that he should have been out. He should not have pretended that he did not hit it. He has no right to blame the Umpire for a wrong decision.

Symonds scored 132 runs illegally. We beat the Indians by 122 runs. On that basis alone, we cheated our way to the win!

And Rahul Dravid was given out on a ball he clearly did not hit. OK - bad Umpiring decision. But let us not forget that the rules of cricket require an "appeal" - the legendary "How's that?" before the Umpire makes his decision. And in the Dravid case the appeal was led by Gilchrist, the wicket-keeper, who was in the very best position to see that Dravid's bat was nowhere near the ball. A calculated false appeal, designed to influence a weak and demoralised Umpire. It worked. One of India's best batsmen was given out (falsely) at a crucial stage of the game. Without that bad decision, based upon a dishonest appeal, India would almost certainly have managed to draw the game.

In the words of Peter Roebuck: "Once justice and fair play have been ejected there is no point in playing the game."

Perhaps you can now see the similarity between "sport" and Politics?

These issues are just some of those relating to this awful test.

There is the issue of alleged racial taunts against Symonds, which has now resulted in Harbhajan Singh being suspended for 3 tests. But what about what Symonds said to him, just prior to his alleged comment? Symonds "said something" to Harbhajan after he allegedly touched Brett Lee "on the bottom" as he walked past him. We can all guess what that comment might have been about, can't we? The Indians are too polite (or sexually repressed) to repeat what was presumably the use of a favourite Australian term of homosexual abuse "poof*ter". The Australian cricket writers are loathe to report that part of the story. No wonder the Indians are coyly claiming their man was provoked!

This match might yet have true "political ramifications" as well as sporting politics.

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