India Downed Under

16th straight test victory for the Aussies at the SCG as they equal the record set by Steve Waugh. If I were Steve Waugh I would be hanging my head in shame at this moment. The current Australian team has blighted the game like no other has. It may have won matches and trophies galore but it has failed to win any hearts. I liked watching the Aussies play, they were quite good to watch at the 96 world cup. Under Taylor and then Waugh, they were a competitive side, tough to beat but gracious in defeat. However, during the past three years or so they have degenerated in a bunch of rowdy school boys who only care about winning. They are a bunch of school bullies who abuse, sledge and play hard but when someone gives it back to them they have no stomach to digest it. All went well at the Melbourne test – and why was that? Because Australia was winning comfortably, they had no reason to complain. Cut to the Sydney test. India have Australia on the mat, 6 wickets down for 134. And they have a chance to make it 7 when Symonds nicks one from Ishant Sharma and Dhoni takes it comfortably behind the stumps. The nick might have been easily heard in the Australian dressing room, but the umpire did not hear it. And of course Symonds did not walk, the Aussies only walk when they are not in trouble, he would not have walked and left his team in tatters. And then there is Micheal Clarke, he did earn my respect when he played in India in the test series in 2004. Seemed a very promising player. Nicks (or rather hits) one from Kumble to first slip. The deflection was probably wider than the Amazon, and he waits for the umpire to give him out. Can’t blame him, with the standard of umpiring that was on display he might have had the chance to survive. But if this is the man that is being groomed to be Ponting’s successor then there is something wrong with the Australian selectors. Or is there something wrong with the current Australian team which teaches its members to cheat? For while not walking might not be cheating, hoping to carry on through an umpiring mistake is surely cheating. Or something that school boys would do.The last day was not different, was it? Hoping to equal to Steve Waugh’s record, the Aussies played with an intensity that was expected of them. And they had an unexpected ally in Bucknor who seems to have developed a panache of ruining India’s chances in every game. He might have been a brilliant umpire once but he is surely past his prime. If the events in the world cup final of 2007 were not enough, Steve Bucknor had more in offer for us. Dravid is given out while the ball clearly hits his pad, and Ricky Ponting’s word is taken on two controversial catches when there was clearly the option of referring to the third umpire. And yes, I am openly questioning Ponting’s integrity here. As for Clarke, the mere fact that his word can be trusted for a catch is joke, he had already shown what he was capable of on the fourth day. And when it comes to close catching calls, the Australians do not have a great history, do they? Remember Slater and Dravid?

As for Harbhajan Singh, I highly doubt that words of racial nature were uttered by him. And even if they were, the fact that there must have been enough provocation for it, can not be denied. The Australians are afraid of him, because he has got their number. His partnership with Tendulkar was frustrating them, and it is now a common site to see the Aussies muttering insults out of the corner of their mouths. Heis a hot headed guy, Harbhajan is, and he just gave some back to Symonds. The first question that arises is why was there no censure on Symonds for provoking him. Or is there a category of insults – you can insult someone personally, but as soon as you fire a racial slur you are in trouble. That, in my opinion, is pure nonsense. Even if Harbhajan abused Symonds racially, the lack of evidence ( the on filed umpires nothing, and it was again the word of the Australian team that was taken for it) and the presence of several mitigating factors should have ensured a better handling of the case.

As for the Indian team, they must surely be gutted. They at least deserved to draw the Sydney match and had the umpiring decisions gone their way, or had the Aussies played in the spirit of the game, they might have even won it. If the supporters can not swallow this defeat it must surely be impossible for the team to swallow it. I personally no reason for the team to stay in Australia, there is no respect for them there. Kumble, Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly are some of the most respected and talented cricketers to have graced the game of cricket in the past two decades and to play against a team which has neither respect for the game, nor for the opposition must surely pain them. 2.3 million, that is the price that they have to pay to bunk the tour. The Indian board is more than capable of paying that price. No reason for the team to stay and endure more contempt, for the current Australian team does not deserve to share the same space with the Indian team.

Come back, Team India!

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