Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

When Mr Gandhi sent a message to Ms Gillard?

18 October 2012

The Australian prime minister Jullia Gillard tripped and fell at Mahatma Gandhi‘s memorial, Rajghat, in Delhi on Wednesday after she had placed a wreath and was walking towards the television and newspaper personnel waiting for her.

Gillard, who has a long history of footwear malfunctions, brushed it all off:

“For men who get to wear flat shoes all day every day, if you wear a heel it can get embedded in soft grass and when you pull your foot out the shoes doesn’t come,” she said.

But not everybody is seeing the incident in such a matter-of-fact way. The protestors at the Koodankulam nuclear plant certainly do not; they see it as some sort of an inter-gallactic message being sent by the Mahatma to Gillard of what lies in store if her country co-operates with the Indian government.

In a press release, the protestors say:

“The People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) as well as our sympathizers all over India would like to apologize to Julia Gillard, the honorable Prime Minister of Australia, for the dangerous fall she suffered at the Raj Ghat. If we ask the local authorities in Delhi why they had not taken enough precautions to avoid such a dangerous fall and why none of the security officers could prevent an important international leader from falling on her face or for not coming to her rescue on time, we may attract more sedition charges.

“Madam Prime Minister, this whole Raj Ghat episode reflects the authorities’ utter lack of safety precautions and emergency preparedness. And your government is seriously considering selling Uranium to these folks. Maybe, Madam Prime Minister, Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of Our Nation, is trying to say something to you and please listen to him.”

Don’t blame the boys for lack of preparation

29 September 2009

If Australia beats Pakistan, India is out of the Champions Trophy. If Pakistan beats Australia by a slender margin, India has to beat West Indies by a huge margin. If Pakistan beats Australia by a huge margin, India has to beat West Indies albeit by a lesser huge margin.

All very confusing? Not if you drink Pepsi—as Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ishant Sharma, Virender Sehwag, Praveen Kumar and Robin Uthappa do. Not even this advance, under-water preparation was enough to prepare them for the ravages of a rained-out match against the Aussies last night.

Bookmark Uthappa’s classic line at the end.

You should remember this even bees saal baad

1 November 2008

On the third day of the third cricket Test match between India and Australia at the Ferozshah Kotla grounds in Delhi, a swarm of bees invaded the playing arena in the post-lunch session. The Indian fielders and the Australian batsmen hit the ground, but the maverick New Zealand umpire Billy Bowden was quick to get up and even quicker to hit the ground once again.

‘Nationalism has replaced cricket journalism’

9 March 2008

India’s best-known sports writer, now a happy resident of Australia, has torn into the output of cricket correspondents covering the ill-tempered series down under. Rohit Brijnath, formerly of Sportsworld and India Today, writes on the BBC website:

“Cricket is crying out for independent voices (and certainly for the well-crafted cricket piece).

“Commentators who romance clichés seem not to have heard the one about “without fear or favour” and some writers seem to be crafting nationalistic speeches rather than objective match reports.

“Hostility bounds out of sentences and bias drips from paragraphs. The job of the journalist is not to mend fences or cool emotions, but neither is it to incite.

“At the end of the second final, an Indian television reporter more or less told Harbhajan Singh, now you can say whatever you want. Next he will be handing players a flag.

“Some of the Indian writing was unworthy, unabashed, chest-beating jingoism; some of the Australian writing was worse, a one-eyed, arrogant, player-baiting, character-bashing orgy.”

Read the full article: Caution amid India’s cricket euphoria

Also read: Debate: who killed (good) cricket writing?

Cross-posted on sans serif

When the kettle calls the pot black and blue

28 February 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Although the verbiage is getting shriller and shriller, and should largely be ignored, the kind of words Mathew Hayden & Co are using, and getting away with, needs to be seen and studied in perspective.

This is where a little help from one of the greatest cricketers of the modern era, Sir Ian Terence Botham, will be useful to our team. As soon as the man who walked all over England to raise money for charity landed in Australia for the 1992 World Cup, Botham said: “I am happy to come here and want to know how my ancestors are doing in Australia!”

This led to wide condemnation of Botham, but why?

Google shows how right Botham was. If Harbhjan Singh is an ‘obnoxious little weed’ in Hayden’s estimation, historical documents show what Hayden and his countrymen and women have been down the ages. Australia was to England what Andamans was to India till 1947. Stealing sheep or wool or cloth in 18th- and 19th-century England could land you a minimum seven-year sentence at an Australian penal colony.

As the New Zealanders say, the only difference between us and the Aussies is, we chose to live to in New Zealand!

“The British government deemed transportation, as the practice was known, just punishment for a mixed bag of crimes from marrying secretly to burning clothes. Although “felony,” “larceny” and “burglary” described the overwhelming majority of crimes, a few records include juicy details, such as, “obtaining money by false pretences,” “stealing heifers” and “privately stealing in a shop.” The convict records typically contain convict’s name, date and place of sentencing, length of sentence—usually 7 years, 14 years or life—and, sometimes, the crime committed,” one document reads.

Such being the case, expecting civilized behaviour from the offspring of ‘burglars’, ‘heifer stealers’,’ felons’, etc is a little too demanding. If 165,000 convicts were sent to Australia betwen 1788 to 1868, if not all, at least most of them should know where they come from. At least 22 per cent of Australians are descended from exiles. Their sentences served, many convicts remained Down Under, becoming Australia’s first western settlers.

“By today’s standards, many of these crimes are minor misdemeanors or are no longer illegal, and the severity of punishments seem ludicrous,” said Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian for Ancestry.com. “No wonder Australians consider a convict in their family tree a badge of honor and seek to uncover the amusing, quirky and outrageous details in their family’s ‘criminal’ past.”

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ishant Sharma should call up Botham and get specific details. Sunny Gavaskar, Harsha Bhogle and Ravi Shastri could also help in this regard.

As for Andrew Symonds, the Indians should not get into any argument or fight, because ICC match referees will hold Indians guilty as a matter of rule. They should just casually ask him: “We know you did not come from England. But won’t your legs ache when you walk continuously?”

How Kumble & Co are different from you and me

19 January 2008

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: India’s win in Perth will prove many things to many people—the experience of our middle order, the effervescence of our youth, and the power of lip service. But after listening to Anil Kumble‘s tough-as-nails post-match comments, what it chiefly proves is how different our sportsmen are from the rest of their countrymen.

Barely a week ago, all India was shaking its head in mock disbelief that one of their own could have been labelled a racist. From the people on the street to the representatives of the people on the street (Navjot Sidhu, Lalu Yadav, Farooq Abdullah), there seemed to be just one “heroic” response to the disgrace in Sydney: call off the tour and recall the team.

It seemed such a typical, classical, karmic Indian response: jo hua so hua. We did what we could. The stars were aligned against us.

“Don’t take the shit. Come back.”

Contrast that “heroism” with the heroism of the team which: a) manfully suffered the ignominy and the scrutiny in the glare of the cameras, b) pulled up its socks in alien conditions in an alien country, c) looked the aggressor in the eye and did not wince, and d) showed that the series is being played between two teams, not just by one team.

It could still go wrong in Adelaide; it could to you and me.

What the victory in Perth shows, after you have peeled away the cliches of “backing your instincts”, is the true essence of sport and sportsmen. As Simon Hughes, the sports writer of The Times, London, put it so well long ago: Sport is the only profession where the practitioner exposes every cell and every inch of himself in his every act and action, in his pursuit of success and victory.

Politicians, doctors, engineers, carpenters, painters, auditors, journalists, prostitutes, software engineers… you name it, all of us build our lives away from the limelight, away from the public glare. We reveal, yes, but we hide, conceal, twist a lot more in our careers in our pursuit of success and victory.

Contrast that with Kumble & Co today in Perth, after what happened in Sydney.

In their response, Kumble & Co have shown what they are made of.

In our response, all the rest of us showed what we are made of.

Been there, done that, and got my tongue tied

8 January 2008

Most sane cricketing heads—Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Bishen Singh Bedi, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Ayaz Memon, Prem Panicker—say India should not cut short the Australian tour and return because of the long-term ramifications of such a move. Those in favour are career-politicians like Farooq Abdullah or cricketers-politicians like Navjot Sidhu, who say the country’s pride is above that of a lost match, lousy umpiring or a Test match ban on a bowler.

On Times Now last night, India’s best cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar, who too believes Anil Kumble & Co India should not advance their return journey, launched full-scale into his former colleague, Sidhu alias “Sherry“.  First, Manjrekar, tongue firmly in both cheeks, said the BJP MP had probably seen all the “opinion polls” and then decided to what popular position to take on television.

But when Sidhu wouldn’t relent, and kept repeatedly saying India should walk away, the Mangalore-born Manjrekar delivered a pure gem:

“Sherry, you are a past master at walking away, aren’t you? You have some experience in that area. You walked away from the 1996 England series, leaving us to face the new ball in the first part of the season. So, obviously you would want the team to walk away from Australia.”

The usually garrulous Sidhu was tongue-tied.

PETER ROEBUCK: PONTING MUST BE SACKED

7 January 2008

The eminent cricketer turned cricket writer Peter Roebuck in tomorrow’s Melbourne Age:

Ricky Ponting must be sacked as captain of the Australian cricket team.

“If Cricket Australia cares a fig for the tattered reputation of our national team in our national sport, it will not for a moment longer tolerate the sort of arrogant and abrasive conduct seen from the captain and his senior players in the past few days. It was the ugliest performance by an Australian side for 20 years.

“The only surprising part of it is that the Indians have not already packed and gone home.

“Ponting has shown not the slightest interest in the wellbeing of the game, not the slightest sign of diplomatic skill, not a single mark of respect for his accomplished and widely admired opponents. In the past few days, the Australian captain has presided over a performance that dragged the game into the pits. He turned a group of professional cricketers into a pack of wild dogs. As much can be told from the conduct of his closest allies in the team.

“He has not provided the leadership expected from an Australian cricket captain and must be sacked.”

Read the full column: Ponting must be sacked

***

WHAT THE POLLS ARE SAYING

Melbourne Age: 77% say Australians are bad sports.

Sydney Morning Herald:  41% say Aussies can dish it out, but can’t take it.

The Australian: 46% say all contentious decisions must be made by third umpires.

New Zealand Herald: 67% say Australians’ win-at-all-costs’ approach irritates them immensely.

Prem Panicker: How India should play Perth Test

7 January 2008

India’s foremost cricket writer Prem Panicker writes that India should not walk out of the Australia tour at this juncture.

“Rather, they should play in Perth under protest. I’m not suggesting black armbands; they should play with one self-imposed rule: Never appeal.

“Not for caught-behind, not for field or slip catches, and not at all for LBWs.

“Never once look at the umpire.

“If the batsman walks after edging to the slips, fine. But if he stands his ground like Michael Clarke did (and later told a reporter that he stood because he is not a walker and was waiting for the umpire’s decision), just carry on with the next delivery. If a fielder completes a catch, just throw it back to the bowler and continue bowling. As for run-outs and stumpings, don’t even bother.”

Read the Prem Panicker blog: Smoke Signals

CHURUMURI POLL: Should India end Aussie tour?

6 January 2008

India’s much-hyped cricket tour of Australia has run into an air pocket. Rank mediocre umpiring by Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson has cost India the second Test in Sydney and robbed the series of all the excitement it promised in the remaining two Tests. The relationship between the players is at a nadir—Andrew Symonds says Harbhajan Singh called him a “monkey”, and now India says Brad Hogg called a player a “bastard”.

The integrity of the Australian players to play the game fair and square is under severe question after Andrew Symonds refused to walk; Ricky Ponting claimed a grounded catch off Mahendra Singh Dhoni; and Michael Clarke claimed Saurav Ganguly‘s catch was fair. Anil Kumble has said only one side played the game honestly. And the Indian media’s has complained to the BCCI about Ricky Ponting’s behaviour at a post-match press conference.

Question: Since the rest of the series can only go downhill or be completed in a cloud of mutual suspicion, mistrust, rancour and animosity, should India call off the tour and return to drive home the point to the Australians and the ICC that enough is enough, even at the risk of very heavy financial damages? Or should India stomach the insults and go through the remainder of the series in the “spirit of the game” and try to make the best of a bad situation?

Rack off, you bloody Aussie crybaby bonzers

5 January 2008

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: The Australians are a great side. They are No. 1 in the world and there cannot be even one-and-a-half opinions about this. They have the power, the strength, mental makeup, and training to steamroll any side. And they usually do this in style—inside four days or less.

But they do have an ugly side which never comes out in the open till they start losing or till things stop going their way. And when that happens, as seems to be happening in Sydney, they have a brain explosion, start bullying, throw tantrums, and start appearing poor losers. And all this even before losing.

Consider this:

# When they couldn’t read Muthiah Muralidharan and he bamboozled them time and again, they started this talk of Murali chucking the ball, even though he had played in all other countries; even when he bowled leg spin! Then their crowd got into the act, giving him hell on the field. Even their Prime Minister John Howard, in a most churlish act for a prime minister, joined in the chorus asking for a life ban on Muralidharan.

# When Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan started hammering Glen McGrath, the “pigeon” lost his cool and let loose his verbal ‘droppings’, which the West Indians paid back in kind. On their last tour, McGrath misbehaved with Sachin Tendulkar repeatedly, but no umpire dare warn an Aussie.

The saga now continues. It started when India beat them in the Twenty20 World Cup and the champions later sank them in the “revenge” match at the Brabourne Stadium. The Sreesanth-Andrew Symonds fracas on top of the losses clearly shows that they could never quite come to grips with the reality of being beaten.

Even before India had landed in Australia for the current tour, various members of the team led by Michael Clarke were predicting a 4-0 whitewash. Melbourne was the first step in the direction of that prophecy. Australians walloped India by 337 runs. No complaints from India; no complaints from Australia either!

But look how quickly the mood changes.

In Sydney after being 134- 6, with decisions a blind umpire would have given without hesitation, they score 462. No complaints from Australia. The Indians are clearly feeling done in, but decide not to complain.

When V.V.S. Laxman kills them with silken touch, they look ragged. And when Sachin with the tailenders helps India take the lead (after how many matches has any side dared to take first innings lead?), the ugly Australian is surfacing.

Even their crowds know their team was lucky with the decisions. Thoughts of the 16th straight win are quickly evaporating; 4-0 whitewash may not happen.

Therefore, now, the squealing and kicking and screaming is at its loudest, with Andrew Symonds pointing the finger at Harbhajan Singh. ICC will find Bhajji guilty and slap a fine/ban which BCCI will appeal and get reduced. But Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who appears sensible, should ask CA/ Ricky Ponting/ Symonds to get on with it.

***

Years back, John McEnroe, with all his greatness, could not stomach that somebody like Bjorn Borg or Jimmy Connors could be better than him on a given day. If he was not doing well, he would throw tantrums like a spoilt brat, delay his service, fight with the umpire, and do all he could to throw his opponent off-mood.

The Aussies, given a glimpse of what other teams usually get, are doing the same thing.

First, they couldn’t stomach the thought that the ‘Great’ Don Bradman chose not an Australian (not Ian Chappell, not Greg Chappell, not Ponting) but (my! my!) an Indian as the batsman who plays like him! They have yet to recover from that shock and no Australian commentator ever talks of that.

Without Shane Warne, McGrath and Adam Gilchrist after a season or two, Australia will face the reality. They will lose more matches than they have done in the last couple of decades. But it is their behaviour the crowds will watch. Luckily, the West Indians, despite clobbering the opposition into total silence in the 1970s and ’80s, played and lived like true champions. They were true sportsmen both in victory and defeat. They are the true role models.

One thought the Australians would have learnt the essence of sportmanship from Frank Worrell, rightly a West Indian, when he presented the specially mounted ball used for the first ever tied match to his counterpart Richie Benaud, after polishing it with his tie.

The better side did not win the series that year and even Australians knew it. From their recent conduct, it is obvious they haven’t that lesson. And probably won’t with their monopoly over boorishness.

Also read: From us to them: rack off you bloody bonzers

TREVOR CHESTERFIELD: Media lessons from down under


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