Making a monkey of the game

I’ve finally got over my shock (though not surprise) to comment on the drama in the Australia-India test series being played out over the ditch. To recap events from the 2nd test:

  1. Oz win test 2 using dubious umpiring decisions, claiming dubious catches, and generally pysching the Indians out, not least by charging Harbhajan Singh with racism for allegedly calling Andrew Symonds a ‘monkey’.
  2. BCCI (Indian cricket board) spit the dummy, suspend the tour, demand removal of West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor and that an appeal against Singh’s 3 match ban must find him innocent.
  3. ICC (international cricket board) boss Malcolm Speed drops Bucknor from the Perth test, appoints an appeal judge (literally – a Kiwi high court judge) and generally prostrates himself before the dollar signs. Then claims new-found courage … see how long that lasts!

To this punter, the ICC board must fire CEO Malcolm Speed immediately, censure the BCCI, and run a proper appeal for Singh. The BCCI have brought the game into disrepute (as has Ponting and team with their antics) by trying to blackmail an appeal outcome, and engineer the removal of a neutral umpire.

Far worse though, is the gutless, craven cowardly actions of Speed in giving in to the BCCI bullying. He has actually broken his own organisation’s rules (which prohibit countries demanding removal of neutral umpires), and exposed the ICC to legal action by Bucknor (similar to that of axed umpire Darryl Hair).

None of this is to say Bucknor (or Hair) should not have been axed – just that the ICC should have rapidly followed their employment agreement with the umpires to do a performance review, and sack if they failed to be up to scratch.

As for Ponting – don’t sack him, but Cricket Australia should make it clear to them they don’t want a repeat of silly and crude efforts to pressure opponents, and they expect a higher standard of honesty in claiming catches!

If the BCCI don’t like it, cancel the tour. They cannot be allowed to hold sway over all other cricket countries, even if the Oz team behave badly. 

A humorous montage and quotes are at Tumeke, while Cactus Kate offers an insight after the last NZ-Oz ODI:

The good news is that we avoided the follow on. The bad news is that it was a one day match.

But the best article about the whole messsy business is this Indian correspondent’s view. Suresh Menon correctly highlights the danger Speed has put the ICC in; cricket may truly suffer if this is not sorted carefully.

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