Dignity in Loss

Back in 2001, when Steve Waugh’s men toured India, they were in a similar position as Ponting’s men now. The team was on a roll and had created a record of sorts with their consecutive test wins. It took an epic test match and a monumental innings to put an end to something which had been nothing less of a supreme, majestic run.

Ponting’s men have showed, time and again, an insatiable appetite for winning but what differentiates them from Steve Waugh’s team is that these bunch of players don’t seem to have a taste for dignity and fair play. It is an ominous sign, when a sportsman starts to think of himself greater than the game. Its worse when eleven of them do that, while the captain leads them from the front.

Bad umpiring is one thing and playing with integrity is another. He may not like it, but it does raise a question on Ponting’s integrity. It does not matter if, in the past, he has walked off without looking at the umpire after he knew he was gone or if he admitted of an unclean catch. It usually seems a matter of his convenience. Its evident that the Australian captain has started to think of himself as larger than the Game.

Bad umpiring did sink India but what has come as a rude shock is the attitude of the opponents, who, almost ironically, pride themselves for the spirit they carry for the game. They look like a teenager with a gun.

If Steve Waugh were at the helm of affairs, would things be the same? Perhaps not. Not only do The Australians lack a batsman of his class, they will always be deprived of the golden legacy that Waugh left behind. Michael Clarke, the guy often pitted to be next in line for captaincy is no Mr.Clean, his babyface looks notwithstanding.

I have always maintained that ICC could well be the weakest sports body in the world. There is laid back attitude that has always been a trademark of the council. This is not the first time that umpires, single-handedly, have been instrumental in changing the course of a game of cricket at the highest level. But the test match could well be important for the simple reason that it is indeed the first time when so many wrong decisions have collectively defeated a team that was well placed on 3 out of the 5 days of a test match and at one stage sniffed a real chance of victory. Why then, do we persist with umpires that are responsible for undoing of this magnitude? Why, do we not hear cricket umpires being warned, let alone be penalized. Why, at the end of each season, can’t the ICC show videos of their crimes to these umpires and seek an explanation? Would that be technology put to use or would the cricket traditionalists call it yet another tech-abuse?

Either way, we’ll only know the answers if the supreme body of Cricket may seek them.

While it was on, it was a horror show. Now that its over, The Sydney test was nothing less than a crying shame. It was a mockery, an abuse of the Game.

For now, it certainly sounds better to loose with dignity intact than to win with soiled, dirty hands in the mire. I have no doubt, a certain Anil Kumble will agree.

3 thoughts on “Dignity in Loss

  1. More than anything else, what annoyed me the most was that India missed an opportunity to become the worthy spoilsport/party-pooper to Ponting & Co.

    The fact that they won even after murdering the game and raping the dignity of a sportsman, gives me a feeling that there was something that wasn’t just right. No matter what happened there, what the scribes wrote in the aftermath, the history-books strewn with the villainous faces of these folks; the record books would still read 16 straight in a row and counting. Now that’s not done, Steven deserved a far far better successor for sure. This number would become a farce, alas, not in the record-books where it matters the most.

    Another scary thing as a windfall for the Indian batsmen came in the form of the-benefit-of-doubt, no one’s questioning SRT for why he repeatedly gets out ‘played-on’ to Stuart Clarke, why YS fishes one time too many and invariably finishes in the Slip… or why seven magnificent men couldn’t save what was just two sessions of blush.

    LeChaim! and to Cricket, anyway…


  2. More to it: (I have written this same piece as an alias Tevye Greene on an SMH blog response) blog)==============================

    Amid all this chaos, nobody is reading the fine print, everyone’s harping their respective national pride that they so shamelessly wear up their sorry faces.

    First thing, why do we need to have a good Samaritan (read Roy) to come up for the bride’s (read Binga) honour? If Lee had gone ahead and snapped at Singh regarding the so called fondling & bottom caress – and how he felt about him after that – it was perfectly alright and may be we might have seen some mild flareups and sanity restored afterwards on the ground itself.

    Roy, Punter, Pup and Haydos got it all messed up dusted by being so sinfully childish in reporting it to the field umpires who themselves were not having a terribly great day at the office. More so, their coming together suddenly in a highly charged up match also raises few suspicions regarding the real motive. It would be safe to surmise that there was a definite plan running underneath, which is evident in the outpouring of almost all the blokes with a sane mental faculties regarding the r**e of the spirit of the game by the beloved Aussie team.

    Indians didn’t help their high moral ground (letting off Hoggy) by reckless utterances of tour pull out. They still have some semblance of chance to restore their so-called battered ‘pride’ by rubbing the two teams to the ground and showing the world that they have substance in their claims that says “we lost to 14 players and not 11 at Sydney.” I think they have brought some honour back to their camp by not letting the Aussies (although I hate to see) complete their 17th in a row, they still have some job left to be done on-field. Outside the field (read BCCI, ICC & CA), well, they have not been any better than Ponting & Co., and none of them can take the credit of restoring sanity to the game that has been so bruised by the Aussie indifference, arrogance and callousness towards cultural interchange; and Indian’s whining and crying foul over something that’s not under their control, and playing to the Aussie’s game plan of sledge-trap.

    Long live the game… We could of course do without the Harbhajans, Symonds, Clarkes and Pontings doing whatever they were up to on the field that dreaded day.


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