Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Holding the truth aloft

Thaat maan Michael Holding may be well into his 50's but he can still send down some serious singing stuff. Whichever side of the fence you are on, his take on a divided cricket world on the Hair controversy will take some digesting. he does not mention the much-discussed racism issue, or even the regal air that some older nations surround themselves in while dealing with the newer entrants to international cricket.

Holding says:

There is a double standard at work in cricket and this episode has only highlighted it.

Mikey's statement opens up a different perspective when he points to a first-world-third-world factor in the equation of power. In other words, he says that the unwritten rule of traditional Indian marriages also dictates polarisation in the realms of ICC: spouses bond well when their families have similar economic backgrounds.

You start thinking, "Is there a chance in a hundred that South Africa might have reacted any differently than Australia did (by staying on) if they had been playing a series in England last year when the London blasts happened?" Back in 1996 the cricket administrators of Australia thought nothing of even forfeiting their World Cup match in Sri Lanka but when the 'action' shifted to England everyone in Cricket Australia showed a big heart.

Till the recent South Africa incident I found nothing partisan about that bravado. The 1996 reaction of Australia and Mikey's own West Indies always looked more of a panicky reaction, independent of the 'status' of Sri Lanka in the world of firsts and thirds. After the brilliant Ashes last year I could only thank heavens that the intervening nine years of terrrorism around the world had so drastically changed perspectives of even the 'safer' nations. [Not that I am a great supporter of terrorism, in case I selected a few wrong words there...] Had Australia pulled out after the London blasts we would have been denied cricket of quality rarely seen in the past decade.

The South African reaction to the Sri Lanka blasts and a telling silence from the 'first world' in response to that backout said things that no cricket lover in these parts wants to hear: we are considered below par in protecting our guests from local distractions. Sadder still, that message may just be the header text of a rather long paragraph. After these incidents from the recent past even the most neutral of Asian cricket supporters will hope to be forgiven for nodding in agreement when Holding says "That is first-world hypocrisy and we have to live with it."

I am yet to come across recordings of the exact events that took place on "Hair Day" but even so I am pretty sure that Hair would have gone about the matter just as Mikey says if the fielding team at Oval had been Australia, England, West Indies or even New Zealand (who are about as old, or new, in Test cricket as Pakistan).

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