It happens rarely that the vanquished is applauded and the winners get jeered. But this did happen at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday. The Indian team would have lost the Test match but can still keep their head high.
It was a day that any cricket fan would love to forget but the repercussions of the day would continue to haunt us in the days to come. Harbhajan Singh’s ban for three tests is the first ever ban for Racial Abuse in this so called, ‘Gentleman’s Sport’. Racism has always been prevalent in the Western countries where the Asians and Africans were subjected to racial abuse. But now, countries have started reporting incidents of Reverse Racism.
Harbhajan Singh’s offence falls under 3.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct which refers to players or team officials “using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, gender, colour, descent, or national or ethic origin”.
It is alleged that Bhajji has been convicted by the Match Referee for racial abuse for the usage of the word. ‘Monkey’. There had been similar chants at the Wankhede stadium when a few Indians had been convicted of making monkey chants and gestures. Now which country doesn’t get to face racial abuse. Ask the Subcontinent players when they tour Down under what all they get to hear from the players as well as the crowds. Ponting has made a mountain out of a mole hill and blown the issue out of proportions. And it isn’t a proven fact yet because there is absolutely no video or audio evidence to substantiate this allegation.
Ponting’s men Clarke and Hayden have testified against Bhajji saying that they heard this word being said. On the other hand Tendulkar who was present at the pitch when the incident occurred has categorically denied such a word being said. Without any evidence if someone’s word can be taken seriously then this game would become a breeding ground for false claims being the norm in all matches. The battle on the field would transcend into a battle in the Courts. Ponting would very well know what the real motive of getting Bhajji banned was. He would not want to be humiliated again by getting out to the Indian Turbanator.
Whose word are we taking. Oh yes. Michael Clarke. The same man that stood his ground when he was clearly caught at first slip of the bowling of Kumble hoping that another blooper from the perennially erring umpires be on their way and the same man who appealed for Ganguly’s catch when after turning from the dive had clearly touched the Ball to the ground. Ponting, it seems in his hunger for the sixteenth win forgot all the Sportsmanship that he used to possess when he appealed vociferously for a catch that was not clean by any means.
Ponting had gestured to Sharad Pawar after winning the ICC Champions trophy in India. Such is the arrogance in this man or you could call it lack of respect which he possesses. There had been a large hue and cry against this incident in India. Pawar has a strong political following and all of that was upset with Ponting’s gestures. But the Aussie captain was indifferent to it all. Even Gilchrist’s spirit of playing the game would come under the scanner when he appealed against Dravid. He had the best angle and would have known that the bat was far behind the pad and not close to the ball what so ever.
The game has taken a very murky turn. With the Indians claiming that Hogg had abused them during this test match, the hearing of the Aussie spinner is scheduled today and the Indian players will testify against him. Will Hogg face a similar ban? Maybe not, because he is an Aussie. Australians are World Champs and may get away with things they do on or off the field. Even the Aussie media is on the Indian side as they applauded Kumble when he said, “Only one team played the match in the right spirit”
Whenever Indians are hard done in this sport, there are protests all over. But after a few days everyone gets on with it. But this time BCCI will have its muscle to ensure that Justice prevails. The Australian tour Down Under has already become Down Blunder because of the shocking decisions made by the umpires. Even our Bunty and Babli could have fared better than Bucknor and Benson. Bucknor has already been taken off the Perth test. It waits to be seen whether Benson will officiate in that test or not.
The Indians should stay put and not even think of returning home. They can be proud of themselves even for they way they played the match. We are proud of them. They should give it back to the Aussies in the test matches to come. Australians on the other hand may have won the Test match but have not won the hearts of millions of viewers watching the Match.