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The Controversial Australian Summers!

‘AUSTRALIAN SUMMERS’ is coming to an end. This summer, we have witnessed a fierce competition between bat and ball. Indian Cricket team has challenged the supremacy of Australia and has been reasonably successful as well. The test series started with Australia on a winning streak that continued till Sydney Cricket Test match. Then India came back strongly and defeated Aussies in Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA) ground, which is considered to be the graveyard for teams from subcontinent.

This win shattered there dream making world record of consecutive wins’ in test matches. The test series ended and then began the last edition of CB series. The very young Indian side under Mahendra Singh Dhoni has done well so far and will be roaring to perform in the finals starting this Sunday. But this summer we have witnessed some of the most bitter and  ‘obnoxious’ controversies. I doubt whether this series will be remembered as one of the toughest challenge that Australia faced after long time or the  ‘bad blood’ that has crept between the two sides.

Symonds and HarbhajanIt all started in Sydney when Australia stabbed the ‘gentleman’s game’ and racism allegations from Australian team along with the dumb umpires in the match lead to series of controversies. BCCI and Indian team under the tough captain, Anil Kumble forced International Cricket Committee to remove honourable Steve Bucknor from Perth test match. Australian media too criticised their team and demanded sacking of Australian captain, Ricky Ponting.

Australian media reported that team selection in India is based on casteism citing some very stupid figures of caste break up in India and representation of the same caste group in the team. They went a step ahead of saying that Indian team players are the ‘worst behaved’ on field. They collected the figures, which said that in last 10 years, 43 Indian players have been found guilty by ICC. Little did they realise that it brought the ‘ racist’ face of ICC in front. ICC does not hesitate to take action against players of Asian origin but is also not willing to take action against so called ‘white’ players. The history is full of such bias decisions. Latest being the fine on Ishant Sharma while letting off Andrew Symonds. India maintained Sharma was provoked by Symonds, and that Australia had been harassing them throughout their tour. Matthew Hayden called Harbhajan an ‘obnoxious weed,’ but was not even reprimanded by ICC.

After the end of test series, Harbhajan was cleared by special judge citing there were no evidences to prove that Harbhajan said something racist to Symonds. This perhaps left Aussies bit disappointed. They criticised BCCI of flexing money power. The sledging took a new dimension when it went off field. Matthew Hayden called Harbhajan ‘obnoxious weed’ in an interview to Brisbane radio. While it was meant to be a light-hearted radio interview, Hayden’s lack of diplomacy acted like petrol on a bushfire.

So what are the reasons that we have seen so many controversies and particularly the sledging. There are different views regarding this but the views that many hold is, “What India has shown this summer is that it is not afraid to expose any so-called on-field secrets. Many touring teams have come and left with their tails between their legs. India certainly hasn’t, and, in some ways, Australia is not used to this.” They just cannot digest the fact that India is posing a threat to their crown and are perplexed by the fact that they have continually been made to look like the guilty party during verbal confrontations with the Indians.

Whatever one may say but this series has raised few questions. A sport is intend to bridge the cultural gap, promote friendship, understanding of customs and cultures. But this series has just created hatred. The people have become more nationalist leaving the ‘sport’ far behind. They are treating this series as never ending war. If we expect that by dividing the people or creating differences we can do any good to the reasons of playing international sport, then we must stop playing. ICC cannot remain a mute spectator and let things go off from the hands. They must design a blue print towards ‘zero tolerance’ on sledging. As Harsha Bhogle said, “Cricket is on the path to hatred and the ICC needs to pull it back now. No sledging, no personal abuse, no crude gesturing, no innuendo. We have lost that option and deservedly so.”

There have been times during this series when I considered unplugging the TV, turning off the radio, and disconnecting the Internet. My love for cricket has been overshadowed by series of controversies. The present generation of India does not follow Gandhian principles and believes in  ‘tit for tat’. If they cannot take it ‘back’ they must refrain from ‘throwing’ it towards opposition. They have always used sledging as part of mind games but were not ready for the same game being played on them. Both the teams must share the blame but I think that Australians must do some serious soul searching and behave on field. Cricket has lost its innocence somewhere this summer and the ‘credit’ goes to the sissy Australian cricket team.


One thought on “The Controversial Australian Summers!

  1. It’s well known that the Aussies are the most racist people in the world and Asians face the most racism. To them, sledging is just a ‘sporting tradition’ but hey, that’s not on for the Indian team. Big money rewards are good but again, that’s not on for the Indian team. Swearing and cursing at the bowler who gets your wicket is OK for the Aussies but that’s not on for the Indian team to even turn around. Recall the numerous times Azharuddin has been fined for turning around. How is that showing contempt or disrespect compared to the foul-mouthed abuse pouring from Australian players when they are dismissed?

    It’s my view that the Aussies are jealous that even after being the so called best team in the world for so long (obviously their manners have nothing to do with it)they aren’t getting the monetary rewards and adulation the often mediocre performing Indians get back home. This must infuriate them. ‘They’re treated like rock stars and princes’ – Symonds). The allegations of racial abuse coming from Australians was shrewdly planned to disturb the Indians’ equilibrium, gain mileage for Symonds’ pet peeve and vent their jealousy all in one. (It backfired terribly though). It seems that Andrew Symonds is a bit over sensitive regarding his Aboriginal roots, something that Harbhajan wasn’t even likely to be aware of before Monkeygate. Very likely this is Symonds’ way of showing the Australian media that he won’t tolerate racism. Again, protection from openly racist comments is not on for the Indians. Witness the derogatory remarks made about Indian climate,food and culture in his notorious column.

    Every Australian knows that racism is a big issue in their country. Even Casey Affleck has just reported that it’s amazing to see how rampant it is even now against indigenous populations that the white immigrants (British convicts)pushed onto the fringes of society, much like the native Americans in the US. Was it a coincidence that Kevin Rudd (Australian PM) made a public apology to the Aborigines during this whole ugly controversy between the 2 teams? If the Australians are so fond of playing ‘hard and fair’ why does being called a monkey precipitate a diplomatic crisis?


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