Sunday, January 06, 2008


That’s my answer to the 'sms poll' question for today on a local news channel: “Did Australia deserve to win the Sydney Test?”

That also happens to be the answer to a lot of other questions clouding my mind. Here are some of them:

“Did Australia deserve to get 450+ in the first innings?”

“Did Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting deserve to go scot-free (which I know they will) for lying to an umpire’s query just because they belong to Group ‘A’ and not Group ‘B’ where a Rashid Latif got banned for some matches for a similar offence?”

“Is it a mere coincidence that the wrong decisions from umpires tend to go up in crunch ‘Group A team – vs – Group B team’ matches and that far more of them go against the Group B team?”

“Is the Australian team confident of beating India fair & square – even in Perth?”

“Am I sure that the Aussie players genuinely have a grievance against Harbhajan and they are not trying to get the ‘monkey’ off the embarrassed skipper’s back?”

“Should India have left Akash Chopra out of the touring side?”

[Group ‘A’ : Australia / South Africa / England
Group ‘B’ : Bangladesh / Sri Lanka / India / Pakistan]

You may be wondering what happened to the burning issue of standard of umpiring. Even I, a very ordinary blogger, consider it below my dignity to even discuss about the unprofessional, even partisan attitude shown by Benson and Bucknor. That was more obnoxious than the deluge of bad decisions against the visitors. The latter followed from the former.

I sensed something more. It sounds genuinely outrageous but I have to say it. The umpires appeared to have been instructed by their ‘bosses’ / ‘patrons’ to help the hosts win their record 16th consecutive Test. Right from the bad decisions going in the hosts’ favour in both Australian innings at touch-and-go situations to the decisions going (and made to go) against the Indians in both of their outings the decision making had the look of an ugly ‘set up’.

I will try to leave this comment with a consoling thought. Australian cricket lovers are blokes that deserve none of this. And from whatever I have learnt about them, they may be as upset as Indians with their New Year Test win coming in that fashion. But if they aren’t, I’m afraid I am prepared to lose some more admiration. [There goes the consoling thought. It is one of those days…]

Update: Peter English & Peter Roebuck have a few things to say about the Sydney Test.

Peter English:

"Australians see catching differently to appealing and walking. They say it's up to the umpire to decide on edges and lbws, but when it comes to knowing whether a ball has carried, the fielder is the best person to judge. What they miss is that both arguments are about telling the truth. Why should Clarke be trusted to rule on a potentially match-turning catch when he stayed at the crease on day four after edging a ball to first slip?"

Here's the the part that was sadder than all others for me as a cricket fan and worshipper of that incredible package called Adam Gilchrist:


"Then came the moment that compromised all subsequent events, rendering meaningless the continuation of Australia's run of victories. Dravid thrust his pad forwards at a wide delivery and wisely took the precaution of tucking his bat out of harm's way. The ball brushed the front pad and was taken by the local gloveman, a man with a high reputation for sportsmanship. Adam Gilchrist and his
comrades around the bat immediately roared a raucous appeal. Gilchrist was especially animated. To think there was a time when teammates chided him for holding back."


Arindam said...

I think ICC has to give rights to the opposition team captain to use 3rd umpire decisions in case of any close decisions going against complainant. Ofcourse, a biased 3rd umpire can still tilt the verdict the other way!

angshu said...

..Which is exactly what happened, Arindam. Symonds was once given not out off a stumping appeal by the 3rd umpire when no doubt was there; the next time Bucknor did even better and refused to call the 3rd umpire.