Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Things beyond the game of cricket

A lot has happened in the international cricket scenario, especially with relevance to India, since I lasted posted on this blog. First the Indo-Pak series in India and then 2 test matches in the current Indian tour of Australia.

After the second test match at Sydney fans of this gentleman's game witnessed happenings that many would have wished never happened. Something that did no good for the great game. At one stage the turn of events indicated that the Indian team might abandon the Australia tour in between and return home. Fortunately, that did not happen. Management of both teams were quick to dismiss all such speculation as rumour.

Sydney Test Match was marred by controversy over the quality of umpiring and the suspension of Harbhajan Singh without conclusive evidence over racial abuse charges. Television clearly played and replayed several times the occasions where bad umpiring was evidently evident.

For once, the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) showed some spine put its foot down over the controversy and insisted that Harbhajan's suspension be revoked, at least until ICC takes the final decision is taken. It also protested over the quality of umpiring. To show its seriousness over the matter BCCI had instructed its team to stay put in Sydney until the matter was resolved.

I found Sachin Tendulkar's stand in the matter very impressive. He had communicated to BCCI chief Sharad Pawar that Harbhajan was not guilty and that the Board should support Harbhajan in the matter. It is believed that it was his suggestion to stay put in Sydney until the suspension is revoked.

Also noteworthy was the support the Indians received from the international media in the matter. Even the media in Australia spoke strongly over the sportsmanship displayed by the Australian side. Some went to the extent of demanding Captain Ricky Ponting's resignation.

The tour was resumed only after ICC suspended the suspension order until it passed a final order in the matter. The controversial umpire too has been replaced for the 3rd test match at Perth.

One can only wish that such events do not repeat.