Monday, June 12, 2006

Shame in the time of west indies........

This last week has been a sports buffet of sorts. Take a few slices of BeckHam and Rooney, add a few chopped Nadals, Federers and Henins, garnish with Clisters; a few slices of Roddick and Sharapova, stir and let cook. Serve with a side dish of Bravo Salad, and Dravidian Shrikhand........

Long haired chaps going ballistic over a ball in Berlin. The audience in a "vilambit alaap" with their lips mouthing an "O", waving their arms around as if to bless their own teams. Big grown up chaps in a frenzied game, sliding, kicking, pumping their fists and occasionally making a goal. The way the players behave on field, one feels its not just adrenaline, but maybe a sparkling variety of it is cruising through their veins.

And then there is another set of chaps whipping rackets at each other as a ball just grazes the white line in Paris. If you dont have the strength, as it happens, sometimes, with the women, a grunt will do. And so you have endless amazing volleys, stretching the limbs as well as your imagination. Since the days of John Mcenroe, on field tantrums , though not absent today, have taken on a slightly civilized veneer, and are judged harshly. The seat Umpire is his/her own third umpire. Well, Federer just lost out on receiving another Cow. Last time he won a grand slam title, the Swiss canton from which he hails, presented him with a superior quality Swiss Cow. Merci Beaucoup. Wonder what Nadal will get now.

And then we have our chaps in the West Indies. Doing very well one might say. And then you have Brian Lara; if I were him . I'd be ashamed of myself; if I were BCCI, I would be even more ashamed of myself.

Dhoni is at the crease. He hits. Some guy messes up, or appears to mess up/not mess up a catch at the boundary line. So the 3rd umpire is called in. He watches the television replay, and he watches.... and he watches ... and he watches. Cannot make up his mind. So what happens ?

Brian Lara. Goes up to Dhoni and tries his Dadagiri. (Even our ex-team Dada, who is NOT one of my favourite people, never did Dadagiri of this type.) Larabhai, (and it hurts to call you bhai), ITS JUST NOT CRICKET.

Dhoni refuses to budge till an official result is declaredby the umpires. 13 people on the field, and 3 guys cannot make up their mind about what happened. Failure of technology, followed by failure of common sense.. Fifteen minutes of something that should have never happened. Fifteen mintes that evoked very strong reactions, except from people directly associated with the game, in a broader sense. The captain CANNOT suddenly be the judge; worse still, declare so himself. The smartest thing to do under the circumstances would be for the 3 umpires to declare that ball null and void and pretend it never happened and play it again, thus allowing both teams to vent their angers and insecurities in the way they should be vented: on the field, in the spirit of the game.

Dravid takes the decent way out. He declares, thinking he was going to do so anyway. A diplomats way out, in a world full of Dada's.

And what happens? Sehwag is fined for appealing too loudly.(Apparently 15 degree bent arms are ONLY seen on the subcontinent. Simlarly, ICC should now define the pitch and decibel level and continent, of objectionable appeals) The ICC treats Brian Lara like you treat a small child who accidently spilled hot milk (and doesnt matter who got scalded). . And the BCCI, the high Oracle of all things cricket in India, who should have protested the intimidation of Dhoni at the crease, is as quiet as a cat; a cat that is licking its lips in anticipation of more matches , and more earnings; and to the hell with the players. Its like DROP ONE, GET ONE FREE.

Brian Lara, who is often held in the same esteem in the world as Sachin Tendulkar has just fallen several notches, andthat too, badly. Think of all the times Sachin was given what is called "Khota out" (False out). Amazingly fake LBW's that had the knowledgeable man on the Indian roads seething. He walked. Did not talk. Either to his partner at the crease, or the umpires , or the bowler or whoever. Then he came back in the next innings , and played to show how cricket is actually played.

When we were children, whenever we did something wrong, the elders used to say that God will punish us. We believed it then. I still think it holds true. Look at Brian Lara's score in the West Indies innings.

Makes you think. Hope it makes Brian Lara think; (when he gets the time from thinking of Trinidad and Tobago in the World Cup , while getting messages about it from players in the pavillion); no wonder he is behaving like the football types).....
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