Politics January 8, 2008

ICC's giant stride towards irrelevance

The process of South Asian, and especially Indian rule, in international cricket has taken some time to reach a conclusion, but it has today with the removal of Steve Bucknor
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If historians ever want to mark the period when power in cricket shifted to South Asia then this is it. Just over a year ago Pakistan clashed with Darrell Hair, now India have done battle with umpire and match referee. Both Test matches might have been lost by the complainant but they recorded landmark off-field victories.

Any Pakistan fan will have considerable empathy with the plight of Indians. They believe their team to be victims of fundamental injustices and they are unwilling to tolerate a slur on their reputation. Pride matters more than the result.

Yet there are two issues we must not forget in the mayhem.

First, while it might be almost impossible to judge the veracity of the charge against Harbhajan Singh--is one man's word better than the other's?--calling a fellow cricketer a "monkey" goes way beyond sledging. It is a racist term and cannot be excused. I'm afraid that South Asians are as likely to be as racist as any another population group. It is a sad fact and we must accept it and condemn it. My sincere hope is that Harbhajan was misheard. An appeal seems a fair resolution at this stage.

Second, removing Steve Bucknor from the Perth Test is a crushing defeat for the ICC. Umpires make mistakes. If we strive for perfection then all decisions should be deferred to and made in consultation with the third umpire. If we value the unpredictability of human error in cricket then we must point out but tolerate Bucknor's errors. Either way, Bucknor did not force a Test match to be abandoned--Hair's failing--he is the latest in a long line of umpires to have inadvertently encouraged a result. Either way, ICC has set a worrying precedent by bowing to Indian pressure.

The process of South Asian, and especially Indian, rule in international cricket has taken some time to reach a conclusion but it has today. Just as the days of English and Australian governance of cricket called out for some balancing power, the dominance of the South Asians requires a similar counterweight.

This week's events are lamentable for any overtones of racism, just as they are lamentable for any overtones of corporate bullying. My greatest regret, however, is that the ICC has failed to develop systems of governance that prevent the hegemonic rule of one or two powers. In this the ICC is replicating the failings of almost every known international organisation. It is a giant stride towards irrelevance.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • faisal on January 14, 2008, 16:41 GMT

    i want to include one more thing . The umpires job is made difficult by making him look at the bowlers crease for over stepping and then quickly he has to look at the bats mens end for LB's and catches.This pressure makes him commit mistakes.Bring in technology to call the no balls. Ease thier load.

  • Brad Dlima on January 14, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    Much as my heart is happy to see Bucknor removed from the series I think the ICC got it wrong.Fair enough there were mistakes made by both umpires yet Benson has got away scot free.If India had a problem with Bucknor prior to the series they should have raised the objection.What this now sets is that if an umpire has a bad game sides will be calling for his head.The only way is to maximise use of technology even though it will slow the game down.As far as annuling tests go would you annul the game in which Maradona used the "hand of god",we just have to accept mistakes made as part of sport what the ICC needs to do is to reduce the percentage of the same.This will ensure that sides don,t have a bone to pick at the end of every match

  • Rahul on January 14, 2008, 0:20 GMT

    Post 3 ---- so just try to remember that these are aussie players. They couldnt take it. and if ever bhajji has said something racial, do you think symonds was going to go away quietly. he is going to say something back as well. look at the videos of past matches, symonds will always reply back to whatever abuse or words said to him. in this match, he walked away. so I believe that bhajji never said something to abuse symonds racially. in hindi we would say " CHOR KE GHAR CHORI HUYI " .. symonds and aussie players are going to get back what they have dished out to each and every country. no ifs and buts in this. I used to like the way they play, I used to like clarke and gilchrist, but not anymore. simply because they cannot accept defeats. I remember in ashes 2005, when kasprowiz was out, and aus lost the game by 2 runs or something. fredie went to him and patted on his back. thats game. they played it hard,but fair.How about aussie behaviour?

  • Rahul on January 14, 2008, 0:15 GMT

    Post2--- if that is not wrong, then what is wrong? please explain to me. The whole incident took place because ponting complained. Please go ahead and interview BC lara, chanderpaul, sarwan, murli, sachin, saurav, matter of fact any world class player. They had their ears full while playing against aussies. Whenever they complained, or atleast we assume that some people would have, referee would have "REQUESTED" aussie guys to behave. because the ICC data book suggest very few aussie players have been charged till now. Does that make them fair players? so my point is, if aussie are used to dish out stuff to people, they have to receive it back. in india or subcontinent culture, if you abuse someone about their mothers, and sisters, they would try to kill you. but if you say to them that they are black or indian or something like racial slur, they would reply back. but will not overreact. I will write in post 3

  • Rahul on January 14, 2008, 0:10 GMT

    Someone please get some clues about aussie cricket first. The whole world is crying out "foul" because BCCI appealed and tried to remove bucknor and getting bhajji's ban lifted. Please take a look at the whole clip of the incident. Bhajji was "interacting" with Lee, not symonds. Whatever happened between them, is their matter. NOT symond's. Then in the video, you can see, that, symonds roped in, said something to bhajji first, then bhajji replied. For the moment forget what he said. And at that moment, sachin was near bhajji. no one else. then hayden comes in, clarke, and ponting. memorise this whole incident. If the whole incident was so serious, then you wouldnt see sachin smiling. anyways, then ponting goes to umpires and umpires have a word with bhajji.. at that moment, india was doing good in the match. if you watch the historical test matches of aussie, then you would realize that they were trying to sledge bhajji anyhow, because of frustration. i will continue in the post2

  • faisal on January 13, 2008, 20:16 GMT

    After the test match, new rules need to be incorporated by ICC to give the other teams a perfect clarification (1) Ricky Ponting - (THE TRULY GENUINE CRICKETER OF THE CRICKET ERA AND WHOSE INTEGRITY SHOULD NOT BE DOUBTED ) should be considered as the FOURTH UMPIRE. As per the new rules, FOURTH UMPIRE decision is final and will over ride any decisions taken by any other umpires. ON-FIELD umpires can seek the assistance of RICKY PONTING even if he is not on the field. This rule is to be made, so that every team should understand the importance of the FOURTH UMPIRE . (2) While AUSTRALIAN TEAM is bowling, If the ball flies anywhere close to the AUSTRALIAN FIELDER(WITHIN 5 metre distance), the batsman is to be considered OUT irrelevant of whether the catch was taken cleanly or grassed. Any decision for further clarification should be seeked from the FOURTH UMPIRE . This is made to ensure that the cricket is played with SPORTIVE SPIRIT by all the teams...hey man BRING the TECHNOLOGY in

  • sri on January 13, 2008, 14:22 GMT

    Its a constant pattern with steve bucknor. Cannot be ignored at all. Hes done it in the past and it has hurt India really hard this time. Even a monkey could ve done better!

  • Rahul on January 13, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    Hey Markkk...your comments are surely off the Mark just like the indian team at SCG on the 5th day..when the famous line up could not save a test..3 wickets in 5 balls..wow how did the indians manage that? And as for the BCCI, well they generate revenues only from international matches and if there is no Aus/Eng/SA/WI touring india, there will be no revenues and no BCCI...So dont get carried away by the BCCI money power..its all due to the other cricketing nations..nobody in india watches domestic matches and if BCCI gets boycotted, they would be a defunct organisation like the ICL..And by the way have you got some excuses ready for the loss that india is going to face at Perth? What are they going to be? Not enough practise? Or that the team could not forget sydney? Or will it be the umpires again? And with regards to cheating, i vividly remember the delhi test v pakistan wherein captain Kumble was appealing for every catch (even if it was a mile away from the bat) or LBW (even if there were thick inside edges on to the pad) and the umpire upholding all those appeals. I wonder which team was playing within the spirit of the game that day? Atleast it was not India. I guess Indians should ask for that record to be anulled as well, as Indians are saints and dont appeal wrongly or cheat for a win.

  • arun on January 13, 2008, 7:01 GMT

    Yes I agree, However it is felt that it does not hold good for steve who is on panel of elite umpires (one of the best ten) looking at the standards of umpiring at sedney test even ICC had acknowledged that the umpiring at sedney test was not upto the mark, I therefore feel that he is 61 yrs old and his time is up he should retire rather than thrusting on ICC upto 2011

  • HSH on January 13, 2008, 3:37 GMT

    Whereas poor umpiring standard at Sydney is a fact, India's demand to remove Steve Bucknor - and reportedly threatening to withdraw from the tour- should've been sternly dealt with by the ICC. In the end, the ICC is made to look like a fool, once again, and India the villain. I believe the next step would be to let the Indian players choose an umpire of their liking before a test match. And can the Indian fans tell me, in this entire episode of 1) poor umpiring by a neutral umpire and 2) Singh being banned by the ICC, what are the Australians being blamed for? Wake up India, you were never good outside the subcontinent. And your batsmen are traditionally afraid of fast bowlers. Frustrating as it may seem to you but you will have to swallow this fact sooner or later. Just because the BCCI is the financial powerhouse at the moment doesn't make you the team you wish to be. See you at the WACA.

  • faisal on January 14, 2008, 16:41 GMT

    i want to include one more thing . The umpires job is made difficult by making him look at the bowlers crease for over stepping and then quickly he has to look at the bats mens end for LB's and catches.This pressure makes him commit mistakes.Bring in technology to call the no balls. Ease thier load.

  • Brad Dlima on January 14, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    Much as my heart is happy to see Bucknor removed from the series I think the ICC got it wrong.Fair enough there were mistakes made by both umpires yet Benson has got away scot free.If India had a problem with Bucknor prior to the series they should have raised the objection.What this now sets is that if an umpire has a bad game sides will be calling for his head.The only way is to maximise use of technology even though it will slow the game down.As far as annuling tests go would you annul the game in which Maradona used the "hand of god",we just have to accept mistakes made as part of sport what the ICC needs to do is to reduce the percentage of the same.This will ensure that sides don,t have a bone to pick at the end of every match

  • Rahul on January 14, 2008, 0:20 GMT

    Post 3 ---- so just try to remember that these are aussie players. They couldnt take it. and if ever bhajji has said something racial, do you think symonds was going to go away quietly. he is going to say something back as well. look at the videos of past matches, symonds will always reply back to whatever abuse or words said to him. in this match, he walked away. so I believe that bhajji never said something to abuse symonds racially. in hindi we would say " CHOR KE GHAR CHORI HUYI " .. symonds and aussie players are going to get back what they have dished out to each and every country. no ifs and buts in this. I used to like the way they play, I used to like clarke and gilchrist, but not anymore. simply because they cannot accept defeats. I remember in ashes 2005, when kasprowiz was out, and aus lost the game by 2 runs or something. fredie went to him and patted on his back. thats game. they played it hard,but fair.How about aussie behaviour?

  • Rahul on January 14, 2008, 0:15 GMT

    Post2--- if that is not wrong, then what is wrong? please explain to me. The whole incident took place because ponting complained. Please go ahead and interview BC lara, chanderpaul, sarwan, murli, sachin, saurav, matter of fact any world class player. They had their ears full while playing against aussies. Whenever they complained, or atleast we assume that some people would have, referee would have "REQUESTED" aussie guys to behave. because the ICC data book suggest very few aussie players have been charged till now. Does that make them fair players? so my point is, if aussie are used to dish out stuff to people, they have to receive it back. in india or subcontinent culture, if you abuse someone about their mothers, and sisters, they would try to kill you. but if you say to them that they are black or indian or something like racial slur, they would reply back. but will not overreact. I will write in post 3

  • Rahul on January 14, 2008, 0:10 GMT

    Someone please get some clues about aussie cricket first. The whole world is crying out "foul" because BCCI appealed and tried to remove bucknor and getting bhajji's ban lifted. Please take a look at the whole clip of the incident. Bhajji was "interacting" with Lee, not symonds. Whatever happened between them, is their matter. NOT symond's. Then in the video, you can see, that, symonds roped in, said something to bhajji first, then bhajji replied. For the moment forget what he said. And at that moment, sachin was near bhajji. no one else. then hayden comes in, clarke, and ponting. memorise this whole incident. If the whole incident was so serious, then you wouldnt see sachin smiling. anyways, then ponting goes to umpires and umpires have a word with bhajji.. at that moment, india was doing good in the match. if you watch the historical test matches of aussie, then you would realize that they were trying to sledge bhajji anyhow, because of frustration. i will continue in the post2

  • faisal on January 13, 2008, 20:16 GMT

    After the test match, new rules need to be incorporated by ICC to give the other teams a perfect clarification (1) Ricky Ponting - (THE TRULY GENUINE CRICKETER OF THE CRICKET ERA AND WHOSE INTEGRITY SHOULD NOT BE DOUBTED ) should be considered as the FOURTH UMPIRE. As per the new rules, FOURTH UMPIRE decision is final and will over ride any decisions taken by any other umpires. ON-FIELD umpires can seek the assistance of RICKY PONTING even if he is not on the field. This rule is to be made, so that every team should understand the importance of the FOURTH UMPIRE . (2) While AUSTRALIAN TEAM is bowling, If the ball flies anywhere close to the AUSTRALIAN FIELDER(WITHIN 5 metre distance), the batsman is to be considered OUT irrelevant of whether the catch was taken cleanly or grassed. Any decision for further clarification should be seeked from the FOURTH UMPIRE . This is made to ensure that the cricket is played with SPORTIVE SPIRIT by all the teams...hey man BRING the TECHNOLOGY in

  • sri on January 13, 2008, 14:22 GMT

    Its a constant pattern with steve bucknor. Cannot be ignored at all. Hes done it in the past and it has hurt India really hard this time. Even a monkey could ve done better!

  • Rahul on January 13, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    Hey Markkk...your comments are surely off the Mark just like the indian team at SCG on the 5th day..when the famous line up could not save a test..3 wickets in 5 balls..wow how did the indians manage that? And as for the BCCI, well they generate revenues only from international matches and if there is no Aus/Eng/SA/WI touring india, there will be no revenues and no BCCI...So dont get carried away by the BCCI money power..its all due to the other cricketing nations..nobody in india watches domestic matches and if BCCI gets boycotted, they would be a defunct organisation like the ICL..And by the way have you got some excuses ready for the loss that india is going to face at Perth? What are they going to be? Not enough practise? Or that the team could not forget sydney? Or will it be the umpires again? And with regards to cheating, i vividly remember the delhi test v pakistan wherein captain Kumble was appealing for every catch (even if it was a mile away from the bat) or LBW (even if there were thick inside edges on to the pad) and the umpire upholding all those appeals. I wonder which team was playing within the spirit of the game that day? Atleast it was not India. I guess Indians should ask for that record to be anulled as well, as Indians are saints and dont appeal wrongly or cheat for a win.

  • arun on January 13, 2008, 7:01 GMT

    Yes I agree, However it is felt that it does not hold good for steve who is on panel of elite umpires (one of the best ten) looking at the standards of umpiring at sedney test even ICC had acknowledged that the umpiring at sedney test was not upto the mark, I therefore feel that he is 61 yrs old and his time is up he should retire rather than thrusting on ICC upto 2011

  • HSH on January 13, 2008, 3:37 GMT

    Whereas poor umpiring standard at Sydney is a fact, India's demand to remove Steve Bucknor - and reportedly threatening to withdraw from the tour- should've been sternly dealt with by the ICC. In the end, the ICC is made to look like a fool, once again, and India the villain. I believe the next step would be to let the Indian players choose an umpire of their liking before a test match. And can the Indian fans tell me, in this entire episode of 1) poor umpiring by a neutral umpire and 2) Singh being banned by the ICC, what are the Australians being blamed for? Wake up India, you were never good outside the subcontinent. And your batsmen are traditionally afraid of fast bowlers. Frustrating as it may seem to you but you will have to swallow this fact sooner or later. Just because the BCCI is the financial powerhouse at the moment doesn't make you the team you wish to be. See you at the WACA.

  • chuckingmuralimakesmesick on January 13, 2008, 3:36 GMT

    The ICC have no-one to blame but themselves when it comes to the low esteem, some might say contempt, they held in worldwide. Their function is to be the custodians of cricket, yet their main activity is milking the cashcow. Any effective organisation has processess, checks and balances in place so that things run efficiently. ie umpires should be assessed after each test and if found wanting do a spell in first class cricket until they regain form - just like the players. Secondly, is a match referee the right person to oversee a hearing that has a legalistic facet as well? Justice must be seen to be done and the rationale behind its decisions made clear in the public domain. The ICC has no structures in place and so when Bucknor was sacked (and rightly so) it could not justify the decision. If the ICC had a process in place he would have been sacked after the world cup. If Proctor had legal advice in the hearing, would his verdict have been the same - I don't think so?

  • Mark C. (BNE, Australia) on January 13, 2008, 3:01 GMT

    Since India and the BCCI have successfully removed Bucknor from the umpiring duties due to poor decisions, will they be seeking to remove Michael D’Ascenzo (Commissioner for the Australian Taxation Office) for taxing the team's earnings while in Australia? Taxing the team of their earnings seemed to upset the BCCI, so this could only be the logical course of action, given what's transpired over the past week.

  • Nimal on January 13, 2008, 2:00 GMT

    Never mind counting the number of decisions in the ozies favour in their run of 16 straight victories - if anyone can look at early Indian cricket - they got the best decisions, especially in India - Gavaskar will have a dozen less centuries and as for Kumble's 10 wickets ??? you tell me brother or Sardar or whatever can you say that all were spot on ?? Look in your cupboard first - As for Markk he is a voice from the garbage bin - I can tell him where to put that extra 'K' in in name.

  • HSH on January 12, 2008, 19:58 GMT

    It's amazing how the ICC manages to mess up every single time and yet survive. The issue at Sydney was poor umpiring standards which needed to be addressed but not in the manner that the ICC chose. Teams have to accept and respect umpires decisions no matter what, otherwise there will be anarchy. The right thing to do will be to analyze every umpires performance at the end of every series and then decide on his future as a test umpire. I can recall a number of bad decisions given by Mr.Hair during Pakistan's home series against England and yet the ICC continued rating him as the "best".There has to be some criteria for rating of umpires and any umpire who makes obvious mistakes repeatedly cannot be considered a"good umpire". True that umpires are humans and are subject to judgment failures every now and then but an umpires rating should depend on the frequency of 'obvious mistakes' they make. At present the ICC criteria doesn't seem to take into account this.

  • Markk on January 12, 2008, 18:38 GMT

    For Slip51: Ponting was called on to resign by his own people... and that is the truth. You labeling these guys (and other sporting greats) as "poor excuse for a journalist" is your interpretation - and few would agree. The same guys would call you "rabid nationalist" - and many would agree. And no... he ain't gonna drown in any harbour. That is your wishful thinking.

  • Markk on January 12, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    Why are people even comparing or mixing this issue with the Oval fiasco? With or without Oval, the BCCI / Indian team needs to be very clear about what it wants in addition to 1) Bucknor's head 2) Harbhajan being cleared off and 3) Speed's stick for Ponting. The fourth demand should be to declare the SCG test as draw - if you can fire Bucknor over his incompetence, you can as well do this for the same reasons!! Never mind what Aussies or rest of the Cricketing world thinks. Nobody is going to give anyone justice on a platter - you got to TAKE it, man!! And a word for Pakistani readers who are speaking for Australia on this - guys... you wouldn't exist without BCCI. So get your priorities right. Given the state of affairs in your country, you would be lucky if Bangladesh traveled to your place to play Cricket. And a word for ICC - trust me mates... Pawar is your best bet. You don't want Lalit Modi as BCCI head, do you?

  • MM on January 12, 2008, 15:26 GMT

    I have read all the remarks with a lot of curiousity. I am an Indian and very fond of the Australian cricketers. Gilchrisit, Brett Lee, Hussey. But have been pretty disillusioned by the way the Australians led by Ponting, upset the rejuvnated Indian team except by foul means and that also by a charge of racism agianst whom; the guy who's got Pontings goat almost 8 times! Grow up Ponting, you dont need to do all this, you are a great player and have a great team. The least we accept from you is an apology. From a lesser mortal we might have accepted this attitude. Not you. And you and your team have looked petty and small. I dont think Steve Waugh would be feeling uneasy at his record being equalled. He might just be smirking.

  • ruchit on January 12, 2008, 15:22 GMT

    Some people are questioning how a colored player can racially abuse another colored player. Well in India it is possible. North Indians who are more pale skinned than South Indians do it all the time and vice versa also happens at times. Castesim is another form of Racism only. Indians have coined a derogatory term Kaliya for dark skinned people. It is akin to N*****r word. Indians have generally remained racist all their history and we don't even accept that. In India fair skin is always preffered over dark skin. If that is not racism then tell me what it is.

    Also kudos to Rahul (at January 12, 2008 8:56 AM) for writing a sensible post.

    Regards. Ruchit

  • N. V. Srinivasan from Chennai on January 12, 2008, 14:01 GMT

    Prakash its easy for you to say that India should sever the ties with Australia forever, like Rahul says the BCCI makes money when they play against International teams and not from domestic cricket. Therefore as an Indian I must say that we do not have the balls to take any action against CA or the ICC. The umpire to whom Ricky Ponting said you are a disgrace is none other than Mark Benson and the reason Ricky was not fined is because Benson did not report the incident. When the umpire does not report the incident there is no action against anyone. Such is white brotherhood which cannot be termed as racism. And it is extremely wrong of you to say that Alim Dar used to give Lara out before the Aussies appealed. In fact Benson gave Ganguly out without raising his finger, he came to him and asked him to walk. An umpire must always raise his finger no matter how crooked it may be like that in case of Billy Bowden, who is now Bucknor's replacement as if India will win now! Dream on.

  • Rahul on January 12, 2008, 8:56 GMT

    For all Indian fans who keep harping about the money BCCI makes,they need to note that the money is made only out of international cricket. BCCI hardly makes any money out of the domestic structure. And if countries like england, SAF, Aus, WI refuse to play or boycott India, then BCCI will stand to lose as well, as TV broadcast company will not dish out millions of dollars to buy domestic rights as there is hardly an audience for it. This was very much eveident from the TRP ratings of the ICL - the TRP ratings were less than 1.0. So, rather than being foolhardy it will make better sense to understand the dynamics post bucknor's removal as well as the economics if the Aus/SAF/Eng/WI boycott the BCCI.

  • Prakash on January 12, 2008, 2:15 GMT

    I suppose some sort of 'congratulations' are in order for the Aussies for this run of 16 consecutive victories. But I have to wonder, after seeing the Sidney test, how many of these victories are really fair. Each team which tours Australia complains bitterly about umpiring errors going mostly in favor of Aussies. Bob Woolmer complained about them after the Aussie Pak series of 2004-05. When Windies toured Australia in 2005, umpire Aleem Dar used to declare Brian Lara out sometimes even before Aussies appealed. Andrew Strauss's career has almost been ruined by bad umpiring during ashes. Aussies actually terrorize the umpires psychologically. When Warne's appeal was turned down once, he asked Umpire Dar 'Do you know the LBW rules?'. During Malaysia ODI series against India, Ponting told one of the umpires 'You are a disgrace'. Therefore, I don't see how India gains/loses anything by playing against these cheating bullies. India should sever its cricketing ties with the Aussies forever.

  • Sudhakar Reddy on January 11, 2008, 23:24 GMT

    Prakash

    Pakistan filed that application immediately after the Oval match was forfeited now they have only asked the ICC to take a decision and not keep that case in pending for long. There is a difference between that match and the Sydney match. Over there Darrell Hair called the Pakistanis cheat and he on his own forfeited the match. Whereas, Steve Bucknor did not forfeit the match and neither he called any of the players "racist" it is Ricky Ponting and Andy Symonds who did that, therefore don't even think that these two cases are alike.

    I agree with the above poster Nadeem aren't rules made for all or does Ben Davis enjoys exceptional and preferential treatment from Mr. Abbassi? And what happened to the regular bloggers of Pak Spin? Are they refraining from commenting on the subject which is related to India and Indian players or they simply like to comment when Pakistan is playing or only when something is written about Pakistan? Mr Abbassi always does that except for this time.

  • Nadeem on January 11, 2008, 19:28 GMT

    Abbassi:

    Your new 1000 character rule, are Aussie's exempt from it,check out the post of Ben Davis why did you allowed more than 2000 characters is Ben related to you?

  • faisal on January 11, 2008, 18:03 GMT

    Kamran u made some good points but First,How in the world a colored person can racially abuse another colored person? It simply beats the logic of racism. Second, It wasn't the Sydney test only. Bucknor was making a lot of wrong decision in recent past. He is above 60 years old. he should retire bcoz science has proved that mind can not work as it works in younger age, so umpire should retire at 60 Third they appointed umpire Billy but i think he wouldn't make a big difference bcoz i remember few years back when pakistan & WI were playing a triangular series in Aus Billy and co. were umpiring and at that time they gave 29 wrong decisions against visitors not one time, all the time thats not a coincident. i dont know wats wrong in Aus whoever goes their start making wrong decision. I think thir is one solution and that is what the heck is wrong with ICC why don't they allow to use technology . Technolgy is being used in games all over the world and producing good result so why dont cric

  • TonyP on January 11, 2008, 17:20 GMT

    And now Pakistan want the result of the Oval test overturned. Great idea. Then India can appeal to have the result of the SCG test overturned. And Australia can appeal that decision by Darrell Hair when McDermott was given caught against the Windies when the ball hit his helmet. Oh, and SA can appeal that tied semi-final back in the 1999 WC when Cronje was given caught off his shoe off Warne. Won't it be exciting to re-live all those great games and then have the decisions appealed? And we can have the lawyers given playing strip and baggy green caps & what not. I'm going to go pay the TV subscription fee now before I'm too late.

  • Andy on January 11, 2008, 15:59 GMT

    First up, how can the post from the Aussie "No Name" even be allowed? He calls all Indian Supporters "Idiots". This shows how he thinks Aussies to be superior. Secondly banning India and Pakistan. Ofcourse he knows well that India and Pakistan are the teams which can challenge the so called fair playing Aussie Suprememacy. Boycott India and Pakistan? ICC will become the poorest sporting body if that were to happen. Where does the money come from for the game? Why are the Aussie cricketers going to India to sign up endorsements? All cricket loving people and countries should boycott Australia for the bringing the game into disrepute with their dubious claims. As many comments in the blogs have pointed out, the Asian countries have suffered the wrath of all umpiring errors and Match Refree decisions and have done so silently. When they decide to protest, it is seen as bringing the game into disrepute. ICC without India, Pakistan and Srilanka will be doomed. The game will be lost.

  • Hassan Farooqi on January 11, 2008, 15:12 GMT

    Calling Bucknor a cheat is in bad taste. If there was a cheat, it was Ponting who was desperate to create a world record as his legacy.

    Bucknor might have relied on the traditional sportsmanship of Australians that is not seen anymore. I remember Greg Chappel hurridly waving his hand towards umpire after taking a catching, indicating that the ball did not carry. Everyone thought it carried and only slow motion proved Greg right. Cricket was holy for Australia those days, and there was no room for cheating.

    But then Bucknor might not have realized that Ponting is no Greg Chappel.

  • Prakash on January 11, 2008, 13:40 GMT

    While Pakistani posters are denouncing India and BCCI for their bad bahaviour in the aftermath of the Sidney test, PCB is trying to overturn the forfeited Oval test (see the news on Cricinfo). And would you believe it, ICC is going to consider this request of PCB in a meeting! So perhaps BCCI should take inspiration from this, and one year later they should try to get the Sidney test declared into a draw! Needless to say Pakistani posters will have sufficient justifications for PCBs request to nullify the Oval test, and as usual will have strong opposition to any such request by BCCI regarding the Sidney test :-).

  • Shawry on January 11, 2008, 12:48 GMT

    Quote from Dutts: Lets do onething .. Get Billy to make the approx same mistakes in favour of India in the Perth test and lets watch Aussie reaction !!

    You can but the DVD of exactly this through the England Cricket Board - it's called the 2005 Ashes Series. Australia were on the receiving end of inumerable umpiring errors - some of which directly cost test matches. Sorry if you don't get much pleasure out of their reaction - they accepted the decisions, on the basis that mistakes happen, and went on to make sure they got the Ashes back at the next available opportunity.

    If only India show this kind of heart, commitment, and spirit. Instead of complaining that they are conspired against to ensure they never win, get out there and win! The excuses are starting to sound petty...as are you Dutts!

  • Slip51 on January 11, 2008, 12:20 GMT

    As an Australian fan I do not condone Glenn McGrath for one minute but to those claiming double standards may I just point out that HE had not just been councilled on this very subject and did not repeat the offence. I would also remind you that Harbhajan was not charged the first time either. With regard to banning sledging, the reason there is no law is that everyone does it. If 7 of the other 9 boards voted for a ban it would not matter whether Ponting wanted to or not. Markk Ponting was not called on to resign by his own people but by one poor excuse for a journalist whose reports have been as far over the top as any of those eminateing from India and he is currently backpedalling so fast he is in danger of drowning in Sydney harbour.

  • anand on January 11, 2008, 11:54 GMT

    I can not disagree more with you Mr Abbasi. What kind of "power balance" are you talking about. This is not persian gulf or Korean Peninsula, where power needs to be balanced. It is a mere sport, but every game has its rules. Our players, specially Indian and Pakistani players, face the brunt of public if they commit mistakes. If they have fought hard and have been forced to loose because of umpiring errors, even measures should also be taken against the umpires under question. "human error" factor is over-hyped, as it is limited to 2-3 wrong decisions. But if a team is on the receiving end of 11 wrong monumental mistakes, then expecting peace and magnanimity from them and their fans is foolish. Why bucknor should not be punished? And what is the evidence that south asians are equal on racist behaviour. I had a good opinion of the brand of journalism you did, but Mr Kamran, you are wrong this time! Cricket is only a sport, not a war, but it should be run professionally, nevertheless.

  • Dave on January 11, 2008, 9:11 GMT

    Me? I can't wait for Perth and the utter humiliation of these whining, unmanly Indians. Ponting and the boys will make their point in the only place it matters - on the field and will expose these Indian frauds for what they really are - second rate cricketers who are just looking to use Sydney as an excuse to hide the fact that they were humilated at Meblourne and heavily beaten ,whatever their complaints, in T2. And that their ugly racist core was exposed, tried and convicted.

    When Brett Lee and Shaun Tait thud that ball into them at Perth they are going to wish they had sulked home with their tails between thier legs.

    Say what you will about Pakistan, but at least their players have some pride and courage and dignity. They would have been much better opposition than India.

  • Markk on January 11, 2008, 7:54 GMT

    In my being "hard and fair"... I may have forgotten to thank the Aussie media. Its unfortunate that sometimes you have to feel thankful towards people just because they are doing what they are supposed to do. So... here is my half-hearted thanks to them. On another note... this 16th straight win is happening for the second time... the first captain was hailed as a champion and a great leader and the next one as a cheat and was called on to resign by his own people. Fetch that!

  • Markk on January 11, 2008, 7:49 GMT

    The Australian "No Name" doesn't even have the guts to write his name while posting his comments... at least his team has that. And of course... you are welcome to boycott India and Pakistan. Let's see how far you go. There won't be much of Cricket (and Cricketing money) left to manage anyway. And looking at things right now... three out of four demands (official or unofficial) have already been met... 1) Bucknor got fired 2) Harbhajan will be let off 3) Ponting and his team got a stick straight from Speed. So the only one that is left is 4) declare the test match as draw. Well... as I said in my earlier comment... if only I was the President of the BCCI. And of course... the offer to boycott India stays. C'mon guys... show that you got some guts!! Well... I might sound like one hard-nosed... but hey... I am being only being "hard and fair".

  • Pauline Mitchell on January 11, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    To all the Indian supporters who claim that tailenders are not expected to make runs as they are 'after all only bowlers', I say that it is attitudes like this that is the reason you can't win a Test series against Australia. While noone expects them to score a century every time they bat, it is expected that they are able to hold their wicket as the state of the game demands. Australia's tail end has been the difference between winning and losing countless tests.

  • Namal on January 11, 2008, 2:13 GMT

    Power Pawar is saying that Tendulkar has said that Baji did not say anything racial - Can the hallowed batsman just answer the question (or write it on a blackboard with his bat dipped in chalk) Did Baji say Monkey or not - simple yes or no - it is dubious to say the least becos of his answer and the Indian management saying that Monkey is not degradatory in India - However Baji's expression on the field makes him guilty as hell.

  • Barath on January 10, 2008, 20:31 GMT

    Where did your rightful indignation at the 'bowing down' of ICC hide when BCCI forced ICC to act on the Hair incident? 'Asian Bloc' was the term used then, but we all know who made it matter. But then, the issue was not ICC setting a bad precedent, was it? It was the honor of Pakistan, of course! Silly of me to forget!

  • Sinahguru on January 10, 2008, 20:00 GMT

    I, sorry Dutts - are you actually calling Bucknor and Benson CHEATS when you say they are partial umpires?

    Is that what you are saying. Is this moving form the realm of umpiring competence to flat out accusing them of cheating?

    How should we "get" Billy to make some favourable mistakes then? Perhaps he could have a conversation with one of those Indian bookmakers?

  • GSF on January 10, 2008, 20:00 GMT

    Good article. Finally an Asian journo who can write a piece that is balanced. One out of twenty aint so great though. Keep up the good work.

  • N (the first N on all of Kamran's blogs) on January 10, 2008, 18:51 GMT

    Abbasi sahib, why don't you stick to something that really needs your input. For example the current Zimbabwe tour to Pakistan, spin bowling problems, openers problems, fielding woes as well the upcoming tour of Australia which seems to be in jeopardy. On the India-Australia crisis, everybody and their uncle have written about this and your voice will not break out of this chorus.

  • Hassan Farooqi on January 10, 2008, 18:25 GMT

    There are two sad things in this whole affair. First the fact is that both Harbhajan and Symonds are visible minorities of their countries. Sreesanth vs Pointing would have been different.

    Second sad thing was that the umpire in question was a colored person from a third world country. Not the same as Hair or Taufel.

    I hope Bucknor is allowed to continue after the rest and Symond-Singh will be friends.

  • dutts on January 10, 2008, 17:09 GMT

    Let us analyze mistakes made by the umpires in the Sydney test. Approx 10 decisions have gone wrong out of 37 wickets + approx 50 more appeals meaning 10 out of approx 100 equivalent to 10%. Considering probability - 5% should be in favour of both teams .. What is the actual %age ? 9% loaded against India . Do you mean that this is natural ? Phew !

    Bucknor / Benson are partial umpires . If they have problems of concentration , eyesight , hearing - then they ought to be with ENT specialist - not cricket field . Bucknor could not hear Symonds nick but could hear Dravids nick when there was none. Probably the sound of Symonds nick reached Bucknors ears when Dravid was batting :-)

    Lets do onething .. Get Billy to make the approx same mistakes in favour of India in the Perth test and lets watch Aussie reaction !!

  • No Name on January 10, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    To me as an australian this is the fairest article ive read on this issue. but i have got to argue with these idiot indian supporters they've got no idea how stupid they look and sound ...i mean what supporters of any sport (except indian cricket fans) burn effergies of opposing players when they're team loses? I dont even football fans in europe are this crazy? You could compare the 2 sports and see how the umpire can effect the outcome of the game in both however even in football the fans dont behave so ..STRANGELY i mean fair enough India got some bad decisions and ponting wasn't very sportsmen-like but its just a game GROW UP i doubt that India would have acheieved the exact same score if symonds have of been given out you're all guessing the outcome could have been better for india perhaps worse you can't say what would have happened i believe the rest of the world should boycott India and Pakistan till their fans express themselves "in the spirit of the game".

  • Kunal M. on January 10, 2008, 15:24 GMT

    It seems that people like Faraz The First find this blog a convinient place to vent out their anti-India sentiments. Grow up guys.

  • prashanth on January 10, 2008, 15:14 GMT

    It is very hard to believe no one is turning towards the solution of the crisis.It is high time to use technology in whichever form it is available.We are ediots at best when everything is ready and waiting to be served we are hesitant to eat it.let me tell you if there were no option to detect the truth I would have seen many creative ideas coming out in these comments.One sentence again USE ALL RESOURSES SO THAT WE CAN WATCH CRICKETING SKILLS AND THERE IS NO OTHER WAY FORWARD FROM THESE RUBBISH....

  • Ben Davis on January 10, 2008, 13:42 GMT

    I have never written on this or any other forum before in my whole life. But the Harbajhan - Symonds affair has compelled me to write in. The whole of the cricket world, media and general public seem to have missed the point.

    1. The racist comment incident.

    2. Bad Umpiring

    There are not in any way shape or form related and I find it unbelievable and depressing that they seem to be treated as such. Are the egeneral public, cricket offciials and media that stupid? Have they missed the point completely, it seems so.

    Singh has been accused of racism towards Symonds. He was found guilty. Three match ban. Ok the Indians were unhappy and appealed, as there are entitled too. Hold the appeal andf make the decsiion one way or the other case closed. Hold the appeal before the next test and get it sorted so he play/or not play.

    Steve Bucknor made some awful decisons. All umpires bad decisons. When David Sheppered gave out five english batsmen gave out off Saqlain Mushtaq no balls, was he dropped? No, this sets a precedent, a dangerous precdent. What will umpires around the world be thinking now, one make a couple of ricks and there out. There job is hard enough as it is without this in the back of their minds.

    But ok has been dropped and Harbajhan banned for his comments. What ahve they got to do with each other? Absolutely nothing! If Bucknor had had the best match of his life Harbajhan would still have been banned.

    Other arguments are that the aussies claimed catches which turned out to be grounded. Somehow this isn related to the Hardbajhan incident also, how exactly? It is ludicrous!!!

    Boycott, Roebuck and too many others to mention are coming out with statements along the line of "oh the aussies are complaining about sledging, thats a bit rich". The Aussies arent complaining about sledging, one of their players has been racially abused! Unbelievable! Its not as if Singh was just like "ooh your average isnt great mate, or your bowling rubbish". This is racist abuse!

    Ponting and the aussie team, and what seems like the sportmanship of the entire aussie nation is being called into question. For a couple of appeals for catches, which goes on in every test match and one dayer from every nation, this is silly?

    If someone could please answer me it would be very much appreciated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Amit on January 10, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    Going back,It was Dalmiya who brought ICC(was a mere a body for existence and for sake of its name then) out of bankruptcy in his time and today all the money is generated from ASIA.It’s hypocritical that today non Asian ICC members like Malcolm speed pretend and try to show us that they are ruling and governing the world cricket. All know one fact; all will be mere farce if Asia pulls out today out of cricket. All is there to see how much cricket is followed today in West Indies and New Zealand,for that matter in England itself. So what’s wrong if we pull our weight out now? It’s like a promoter’s stake in ICC and what’s wrong if we control?I think its forthright move and we must support. Bloggers terms it landmark victory for two Asian countries(in two different incidents)in first paragraph and at the same time he has the problem about the same in conclusion.For far too long Asian countries have been on a receiving end. Seems everybody likes to get diplomatic and philosophical.

  • Therese on January 10, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    Bucknor has made too many mistakes for the last few years. He has had one too many test matches. Time to retire. As for Harbhajan Singh. If he did say Symonds is a monkey, then he must have the guts to say so and take his punishment like a man. If Symonds is lying, why would he be so malicious? If he is lying, he must be banned himself. But technically speaking,proof is needed. I would be agrieved if somebody else's word over is taken over mine and they don't know it for sure.

  • cricket_lover on January 10, 2008, 13:06 GMT

    If you are the best team in the world, does it mean you have to win at all costs. Try to bully opposition as well as the umpires. I think Cricket in general has lost sportsmanship. I miss players like Courtney Walsh who would play in the siprit of the game. There is something called sportsmanship, I thought Gilchrist knew it well too. India lost the Test. Australia lost the meaning of play. We lost Bucknor. I hope Cricket will not lose credibility. It is just a game afterall.

    Indian team - concentrate on the cricket. Australian team - PLAY the game.

    Fans forget about Sydney, let us look forward to other two Tests and cricket in general.

  • Dutts on January 10, 2008, 12:58 GMT

    One of the most inherent problems in us is that we do not accept at first that technology can do a better job than a human being - history has repeatedly confirmed that this notion is wrong. Then 3rd Umpires would not have happened . Bucknor/Benson has accepted that mistakes were made, technology proved that. Everybody accepts that mistakes made, changed the outcome of the game? What do we do when a mistake is committed by an employee that brings disrepute to the organization - Sack him . So what is the problem if Bucknor / Benson team is sacked and somebody new is appointed ?

    Today cricket is a multi billion dollar industry -and for an industry to survive such decisions ought to be taken. Australia is ruthless and that is why they are successful.

    As for the racism - That humans have eveloved from monkeys is well established - be it an Aussie or an Indian. But that an Aussie monkeys word carries more weight than an Indian monkeys word - this is called racism.

  • Naveed on January 10, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    If the Kiwi judge finds Baji guilty as charged by Proctor he must double the charge to six tests - It now seems that there was enough evidence to put this obnoxious sardar through his punishment - let this be an example to root out racism from all forms of sport - Your board can appeal but if it is not upheld the punishment must be doubled - as for having lawyers attend meetings between the Match Referee and players during or after a test match - this is pure unadulterated dung - we will next have lawyers running around the playing field representing the players even against umpiring decisions - My sympathies are for Bowden and Rauf - they both have made mistakes recently but standing after all this nonsense will only put them under more pressure - I suggest they both wear heart monitors and have an ambulance standing by ???

  • Geoff Foley on January 10, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    Almost everyone on this blog seems to be forgetting the main concern regarding Bucknor's removal from the Third Test. The fact that he was removed by the ICC is not the major problem- a concern, yes, but not the main problem.

    It is that the fact that the BCCI demanded it of the ICC that is. To hold the governing body of cricket to ransom like this smacks of arrogance and immaturity from the Indian board. Poor umpiring is nothing new in this sport, and that is solely what happened in the Sydney Test. Comments made by persons on this blog regarding bias against sub-continental teams need to have a good hard look at themselves.

    Also it is a known fact that home teams regardless of the sport get more favourable 50/50 decisions awarded to them, regardless of origin of the officiator.

  • irfan on January 10, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    One quote that summarizes Indian fans approach to the problem

    Sachin Fan : "PAK SPIN BLOGGERS ARE ALWAYS SEEM TO BE JEALOUS OF INDIA'S DOMINANCE IN ICC . Get used to fact that BCCI contributes 80% of ICC revenue and they will dictate terms"

  • Robert on January 10, 2008, 10:52 GMT

    The umpire should have been removed... he was useless! Much like any other player that under performs.

    As for the racist remarks... get over it. I think that far too often people just jump on the racist bandwagon. It was an insult... and like all sledging should have been left at that. Or could it be that perhaps sledging has gotten out of hand? In that case... tell all players in all teams to simply "shut it!"

    Australia have hardly been the fairest playing team. Then again folk will pick on them more often than not as they are simply still the best side in the world.

  • Suren on January 10, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    "If we value the unpredictability of human error in cricket then we must point out but tolerate Bucknor's errors." Do u expect a team to tolerate human erors on every second decision made and that too on only on team?

  • Usman on January 10, 2008, 9:15 GMT

    your article is totally baseless about 10 bad decision is not a professional approach at all .. so better do math and make ur mind a bit fresh ..

  • Dave on January 10, 2008, 8:55 GMT

    The balance of power moves to Asia.

    Money rules the game.

    Racism is condoned.

    The gangster thugs of the BCCI bully at will and know no rule of law

    The greatest cheat the game has ever known, Murilithiran, is allowed to proser and go on his way befouling the game.

    And the greatest side which has ever played the game this mighty Australian team which has done nothing wrong is punished by the jealous and incapable for their excellence.

    If this is the "Asian" era of cricket, I despair for it.

  • shankar on January 10, 2008, 8:23 GMT

    Phillidoc, thanks for the encouraging words.

  • Sanjeev on January 10, 2008, 7:37 GMT

    For all the people who are supporting Harbhajan, If you see his expression after Symonds apparently asks him- 'Did you call me a monkey". it is indded of a guilty person who has been caught in the deed. As far as Bucknor is concerned ICC should have had the guts to remove Bucknor before BCCI could even protest. On the other hand Bucknor should have removed himself. He has shown that he still suffers from the colonised mentality that 'Boss'(whites) is always right. (I must say that the same hold true for Kamran and Suresh). If this is not the case Bucknor should have at least shown some public remorse on such a public display of his Bias/incompetence. This is not the first time Bucknor has made 'mistakes' against Indian team.

    Thise who are bemoaning the BCCI powers, please tell me that is it OK for Indian team to be discriminated against, just because they have the most powerful board.

    Guys please grow up and accept the realities without bias.

  • Sreecharan on January 10, 2008, 7:30 GMT

    I think this is not a balanced article at all what Kamran misses to see here is that all the Indian supporters are seeking is some kind of justice for what happened. Only polarized people who are downright hypocrisy personified and people who are plagiarized would say that those errors committed by Steve are simple human errors, to me they are not human but systematised errors planned and executed only to see one of the teams gets maximum disadvantaged. None of the Indian supporters are at any point pointing towards any of the decisions that can be considered as contentious, we are only protesting for the decisions that are downright appalling and which are brutal in thought and execution. So what do the people of the world expect India to do, just sit back and watch Bucknor do things in his own way. If this is what you expect from us excuse me you are frozen & your eyes are not open. There is no easy way to prove that Bucknor has something against India but we all are sure he has

  • Philip on January 10, 2008, 7:24 GMT

    The ICC has long been irrelevant. It has been turning a blind eye to sledging, cheating and poor umpiring for many a year. Australians have benefited most from ICC's incompetence and are even now pulling most of the strings.

    Glad to see a few people finally waking up.

    May God bless cricket and save it from incompetent fools.

    Philip

  • Steve on January 10, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    Excellent article.

    For better or worse, the Subcontinent generally and BCCI specifically rule world cricket.

    So be it.

    We all hope that they rule for the benefit of the game world wide and put the game of Cricket first. So far, I am not so certain that will be the case.

    I would suggest that talk about arrogance and poor sportsmanship is redundant.

    For the sake of an argument, let's assume it to be true.

    So what? T

    he Aussies don't win because they are arrogant or poor sports. They win because they play better cricket than their opposition.

    It seems to me that the accusations of arrogance and unsportsmanlike behaviour is bandied about by those who lose.

    The way to beat Australia has always been clear.

    You will beat them if you play better cricket. You have to do it consistently, and for long periods.

    Otherwise, stay home.

    England beat them in 2005, and there is no reason why the subcontinent with its vast army of talent cannot do the same thin

  • Sreecharan on January 10, 2008, 6:50 GMT

    I think this is not a balanced article at all what Kamran misses to see here is that all the Indian supporters are seeking is some kind of justice for what happened. Only polarized people who are downright hypocrisy personified and people who are plagiarized would say that those errors committed by Steve are simple human errors, to me they are not human but systematised errors planned and executed only to see one of the teams gets maximum disadvantaged. None of the Indian supporters are at any point pointing towards any of the decisions that can be considered as contentious, we are only protesting for the decisions that are downright appalling and which are brutal in thought and execution. So what do the people of the world expect India to do, just sit back and watch Bucknor do things in his own way. If this is what you expect from us excuse me you are frozen & your eyes are not open. There is no easy way to prove that Bucknor has something against India but we all are sure he has

  • Shawry on January 10, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    Unfortunately, the shift in bias towards Suth Asia has arrived in reporting on CricInfo as well.

    For some days now the headline "Ponting turned down request", complete with Quotation marks. Unfortunately the article never provided any such quote to back up the heading. Further, Pontings response to Kumble was to indicate that the incident had already been reported and that the process was already begun. It was therefore out of his, or anyone elses control. Please clarify, Siddhartha, at what point did Ponting "turn down" any request when he was unable to do any such thing when a request was made.

    Unfortunately, this is indicative of the inflamatory reporting this test match has been receiving.

  • Kunal M. on January 10, 2008, 6:14 GMT

    I strongly disagree with the views of the writer. You are saying that sacking Bucknor was the wrong thing to do as umpires are after all humans and it is human to make mistakes. But KA, only blind and deaf humans would make as many mistakes as Bucknor and Benson did. Umpires are always excused for making wrong decisions because 'they are only human and it's all a part of the game'. The umpiring in the Sydney test was downright pathetic. If two so-caled elite umpires make about 10 to 15 bad decisions in a game (including obvious caught-behind decisions and doubtful catches), they deserve to be sacked. Such incompetence is not expected at this level. If players can be sacked for performing badly, why can't umpires? The ICC should set guidelines for umpires and grade them to make sure that a match is not wrecked by bad umpiring. Instead of setting 'a wrong precedent' it would only make umpires pull up their socks. Can't agree more with Prakash and phillidoc.

  • ShankarNarayanan on January 10, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    Mr.Kamran Good to see you back after a month or so but bad because you have chosen a wrong topic and a wrong side. I am sure you appreciate that test matches turn dramatically in one session, a couple of wickets. Indians did not complain about Symonds or Ponting dismissals. They just stood up and put up one of the most gallant fights led by Laxman and Tendulkar and wiped away whatever score put up by Aussies. Neither did they complain about second innings let offs for Hussey. They came out and started the rearguard struggle. The crunch point here is Dravid dismissal..I feel that decision turned the match decisively. If the first innings dismissals had been India's way the Aussie juggernaut would have ground to a halt as India would have won handsomely. If Aussies had taunted Sachin, Saurav, Dravid, Laxman or other Asian greats like Imran, Javed, wasim, Aravind De Silva, Ranatunga,would have let their cricket do the talking.Poor Bhaji used words which is useless.

  • Shrikanth on January 10, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    I guess we subcontinent people are stuck up with the obsession of being fair and all. The world does not operate that way. It is pretty eveident that the Australians get away even with murder in the field. Many incidents to quote for that. But thats digging into the past. Let us just look at this series. Two incidents stand out. One is Yuvaraj reprimanded for standing his ground, while Ponting and Clarke got away for the same crime. Second is Bucknor's refusal to call for the third umpire. Rest all can be debatable.These two aren't. If this cliche of 'Umpires are Human only', is going to continuously employed, are the players not human? Why cant they be considered so and be excused of their mistakes. We are talking high stakes here. The competitions are played for huge prize money apart from pride. So, it is only natural to expect professionalism from the officials who run the game. Fact is that,Aussies are not up to it when it comes to someone giving back as good as they get.

  • Khan Pathan on January 10, 2008, 5:07 GMT

    Hey first of all since ICC is so bent on changing rules, lets get all the old fart out of the field and completely based decision on Technology. Comeon lets try something different we might just love the idea of not having to loose a game cause some old fart have a off day. joke aside let me ask you what is wrong in calling monkey a monkey?. come on we like to see some drama like in icehockey they beat the crap out of the opponents. lets enjoy and have some fun !!!..

  • Srinivas on January 10, 2008, 4:56 GMT

    I disagree with you Mr Abbasi. Steve Bucknor issue didn't start only after the Sydney test. It started way before that and Indians were always vary of the fact that he is prone to bad decisions. The Sydney test was the last nail in the coffin. Indians complaining about bad umpiring is fully justified. They have every right to complain about the injustice shown to them through bad umpiring decisions. Furthermore, Australian cricket team aggravated this by showing an amateurish behaviour on the field. The decision taken by ICC, in my opinion, is fully justified and cannot be judged as giving in to the BCCI pressure. To alleviate the current series tension and to prevent India from Boycotting a wonderful tour this was necessary. Most of the people agree with this and so too Mr Steve Bucknor. I also don't think that it will create a precedence because any future problems will be dealt according to its own merits.

  • Farhan Nawazish on January 10, 2008, 4:55 GMT

    I think if ICC had a press conference right after the match or just an official statement or what ever and told everyone that "Yes it was a test match with some very bad decisions and they are looking seriously to make it better", the whole scene would have been changed, i think its the ICC management which makes events like sydney test the worst. If i am playing a match with let say another college as a captain and i have something against the umpires and the management watching all the match is sitting quitely and waiting for my comments on the decision then seriously everything will be screwed in a matter of minutes, guys please change your focus to "Role of ICC in such incedents". Its not about BCCI or Australian Board. I bet everyone speaking here of BCCI influence on ICC would have done the same if he/she had given a chance. Its VERY NATURAL to think like this if you are giving a let say reveneu of 50% to a company and being pissed of by there umpires.

  • Blob on January 10, 2008, 4:23 GMT

    There is actual audio evidence of Bahji calling Symonds a monkey - its not admissible evidence, sure, but that is why Proctor knew Bahji & (I thought I would never see the day) Tendulkar were lying.

    This will come out at the appeal - when it does Bahji will be banned for 3 matches -- what will you say then India?

  • nur ud deen on January 10, 2008, 4:18 GMT

    As one poster rightly pointed out , the indo pak series was played without a single incident of this kind then what are the aussies complaining for? bucknor was removed not just because of this one match but because of the way he has been giving wrong decisions against india over last 8 years . procter hasnt explained on what basis and on what evidence did he ban harbhajan . procter always has an issue against asian teams . whenever an asian team tours australia the aussie players supported by their media go to any extent to pressurise the leading players from the opposition ie murli and akhtar . for once the aussies have been paid back in the same coin . and all this talk of bcci using its financial clout , well if it uses it for the right reasons then it will be supported like pakistanis like me too , as in this case. kamran abbasi is just another apologist trying hard to appear acceptable to the western media.

  • SydCrickter on January 10, 2008, 3:20 GMT

    I agree with phillidoc. Further i would like to add that Mr. Abbasi is carrying his baggage of indian-pakistani differences on this. i wouldn't give a rats back on who is sacked, as long as, i as a cricket fan can watch a fair game. If players have to peform and behave. Why shouldn't umpires??they are not standing in the middle for charity.For God sake they get paid for it. If they can't perform they must be kicked on the butt. Cricket fans like us will be happy when Mr. Mark Benson and Mr. Proctor are also held liable for their reckless and non proffesional decisions. All sledging should be banned!Ask Ranatunga, Gibbs, Pietersion and Murli they will say how is feels!Or for that matter Inzi!

    Grow up Abbasi!!!

  • Mick on January 10, 2008, 3:02 GMT

    'Aruna Silca' Darren Lehmann was found guilty and was banned for a number of ODIs. Before you wheel out this tired old argument that 'white' players are not punished please check your facts. For the most part though at least this blog seems to have a semblance of maturity in its discussion. Unlike the child-like flag/effigy burning behaviour seen on the streets of India and mirrored in certain other blogs.

  • srinvasanP on January 10, 2008, 2:30 GMT

    Shame shame! whom you are pleasing Kamran? and I am saddened and have reached to the conclusion because of people like you we are not hindustanis together.

  • ak47 on January 10, 2008, 2:18 GMT

    Great article - although I feel that the toothlessness of the ICC is as much a product of its own lack of professionalism, as it is a product of South Asian hegemony. The ICC has a history of reaction, not proaction - for example a decent performance management system, combined with some foresight into umpire recruitment and training, would have prevented the Bucknor incident. Onto one of your other points, there is already a counterweight to South Asian hegemony in cricket - it's name is Australia. Although Australia brings little money to the table, it cricket's flagship team. India, and the sport as a whole, cannot afford a world cricket scene without Australia. The ICC obviously doesn't realise how big Australia's indirect financial contribution to cricket is. If it did, it would have stopped playing these silly political games years ago, and instead would have gone about providing more professional support for the game.

  • Rahat on January 10, 2008, 1:32 GMT

    Media and public opinion has over-projected this incident. The same media has over the years ove-rated the Indian batting giants who are kings in their own backyard only, but who have over the last decade managed to win approximately one or two away series for the Indian team and have lost most of these overseas series.This incident would divert attention from this team's overall incompetence as I feel that they may be in the process of losing this series by a big margin.

    The only problem Indians see with the Australians is that they wanted to win by hook or by crook.Ganguly's dismissal clearly indicates the greed of victory that made the Australian captain lie as he was surely not out. While the umpire saw the point of view of the Australian captain only, which was not fair.Similarly in the case of Harbijan why is that the match refree also took the word of the Australians without any substantial evidence which has similarities with the Darrel Hair incident.

  • Bigad on January 10, 2008, 1:25 GMT

    I was fascinated by KGB's comments above, to the effect that Symonds should not be offended by racist remarks because of his physical size. Hmmmm....I didn't notice Nelson Mandela campaigning for the emancipation of 'black south Africans having a body mass of 80kg or less', for example.

    Since KGB mentions Shaq, I would request that he should sek out Shaq at the next opportunity and call HIM a monkey. Then he should explain to Shaq exactly why monkey ISN'T offensive, particulary since Shaq is so big.

    What would be great is if someone could film that encounter and post it on You Tube for us all to enjoy!

  • patto on January 10, 2008, 1:00 GMT

    Just like to quote sum indian fool (remember Indians arent racist!)

    "PAK SPIN BLOGGERS ARE ALWAYS SEEM TO BE JEALOUS OF INDIA'S DOMINANCE IN ICC . Get used to fact that BCCI contributes 80% of ICC revenue and they will dictate terms . Bucknor is now 61 yr OLD and can't function like young umpires. It would've been foolish to keep him any longer. Why should India even continue to play with 3rd grade umpires when so much is at stake ? All they asked for is neutral fair umpires . On second thought BCCI should just withdraw from ICC and setup its own Cricket council. I am sure you all and this Blog will soon become irrelevant then . LOL Peace Out !!"

    Well dont you take your bat and ball home and cry to your mother i mean talk about 1 eyed.. play against 3 teams then you can be best in the world!! INDIAN SUPPORTERS ARE DESTROYING CRICKET

  • Ibrahim on January 10, 2008, 0:42 GMT

    Incompetence cannot be tolerated. The paying public pays to watch a fair well competed game, and it really isnt appropriate for them to be robbed of a good game by an incompetent umpire. While it is human to err, the absolute quantity of errors made by Buckner is unacceptable. Buckner retired from a career as a minor international referee at age 45 as FIFA does not allow people over this age to officiate matches. ICC should rethink its decisions / rules regarding umpires past their prime. It should be mandatoryto pass a vision and hearing to continue on the ICC panel.

    The guilty verdict in Harbajan's racial slur case was based on the word of 2 Aussie players, which Proctor chose to canonize. . He felt that his status as a caucasian south african facilitated coming to this conclusion - belonging to an ethnic group that specialized in unfair victimization to africans and indians in South Africa certainly makes Proctor the most qualified to pass judgement at Kangaroo courts.

  • Faraz (the first Faraz on all of Kamran's blogs) on January 10, 2008, 0:30 GMT

    Somehow I cant stop laughing at what has transpired.

    Nonetheless I could not help noticing how shrewdly Sunil Gavaskar handed advice to Kumble by applauding and congratulating Anil for his apparent gentleman skills which in reality is his timidness and cowardice -- the gori chamri has em enslaved even now AND they cant speak up/out!!

    They are all "chamars" like her-bajan who has his bells "bajjing" now.

    the entire indian team sledges and very low quality ones at that -- they should learn something while their while in Australia

    Another funny occurrence was that "victim of bird fetish" indian commentator -- you all know who -- kept arguing why Ponting has to give Ganguly out-- well he should have known that thats what both the captains agreed to -- so by agreement Ponting's word had to be accepted regardless of the correctness!

    indians better focus on cricket because there is Lee monsoon that is about to engulph them in Perth

    Way to go Australia!! A class above..

  • Prakash on January 10, 2008, 0:25 GMT

    Although this is a Pakistani blog, and, therefore, no objectivity vis-a-vis India is expected. However, some truly wonderful claims have been made here:

    a) Bucknor is a superb umpire. That is truly a brave statement after all the visual evidence which has come out of Sidney (Symonds being declared not out N number of times when he was out, Dravid being declared out caught behind when bat was nowhere in sight).

    b) Another fabulous spin which is being put here by various Pak readers is that it is India which complained about sledging. That is total non-sense. When Symonds sledged Bhajji, Bhajji sledged him back. At that point Aussies couldn't take it and went running to the umpire and reported him. Never mind that in the past Aussies have used much worse racist language during sledging (McGrath calling Jaysurya a black monkey , for example).

    The umpiring was simply diabolical in this test match (this what Nasser Hussain has also written) and no sugar-coating can change that!

  • arindam2812 on January 10, 2008, 0:20 GMT

    1) If the balance of power has shifted to the sub-continent, so be it. It's nothing to be apologetic about. Nobody felt bad for us when the shoe was on the other foot.

    2) "Monkey" is racist when said to Symonds, but not when said to Jayasuriya. Logic 101 anyone?

    3) Sledging is good for the game - really? Who enjoys hearing or lip-reading swear words more than watching a drive or the ball beating the bat?

    4) Cricket has been trumpeted to be a gentleman's game - we need volunteers to identify them first. Anybody for the Aussie team?

  • Derrick on January 10, 2008, 0:07 GMT

    New words

    Bucknor: (n) (adj) 1. Temporary blindness leading to missing out on the obvious. 2. To be at the wrong place at the wrong time. 3. Situations leading to grave judgmental errors. Usage: I feel bucknored by my boss; Life often throws a bucknor at you.

    Benson: (n) (adj) 1. Something that legitimizes a severe bucknor. Usage: First they bucknored me and then they bensoned it! I am toast.

  • Troy on January 10, 2008, 0:03 GMT

    I completely disagree with this article. How many times has this happened previously - when an Aussie/S.African/English player uses rough language it is "sledging" and when an Indian/Pakistani/Sri lankan player uses rough language they are penalized for "showing dissent" etc. Let me make one point clear - India/BCCI do not have to be apologetic at all for being the biggest/richest cricket nation/board. Do you mean because we are the biggest/richest cricket playing country, we will have to tolerate repeated instances of discrimination/insult or gross umpiring incompetence. This was not the first time - Bucknor has shown a distinct trend of giving false decisions against India in the past. An even more important issue here is whether the word of an Aus player is more believable than that of an India player for that is at the heart of the Harbhajan episode. Mike Procter had no business giving this verdict - this should be his last match as a referee. I hope you read this Mr. Abbasi.

  • Ant on January 9, 2008, 23:42 GMT

    The removal of the umpire isn't the problem, it's the fact that the BCCI resorted to threats to do it which is at issue. Even worse, the ICC caved in. It's a nasty precedent which will echo down through cricket for some time. Bucknor was bad, but as soon as the BCCI demanded that he be sacked, the ICC should have stood firm and called their bluff. If the Indians had called off the tour, tough.

  • dram on January 9, 2008, 22:37 GMT

    to Nick from Melbourne: i am a black west indian and i take your point of "monkey" being racist against blacks for the given reasons; but how can it be racist against whites?

  • Raman Bansal on January 9, 2008, 22:37 GMT

    Look at the way how Harbhajan got Ponting out in Melbourne and Sydney Tests. And look at the way Ponting got Harbhajan out for the Perth Test. It becomes very obvious who plays the tough cricket and who plays mind games.

    Here is what I think for future: - All forms of sledging should be banned - Unlimited referrals to the Third Umpire, even if it means to reduce the number of daily overs of cricket from 90 to 85 - An umpire should be banned for 3 Tests if more than 3 of his decisions are proven wrong by third umpire. If the career of the players are dependent on performance, so should be those of umpires. - All disputes should be resolved between the 2 captains. if no solution is found, only then it should be escalated. Or, there should be well defined escalation process.

  • yogesh on January 9, 2008, 22:01 GMT

    Mr Abbasi it is total rubbish. Just see the Rules of Sydney Test :- for Aus- top 5 batsman will get one free life from Bucknor/Benson. If a stumping decision is referred to third umpire the batsman will be not out. M Clarke and R Ponting can caught a batman on one bounce, if in doubt umpire can ask ponting whether he caught the batsman one bounce or not. For India- batsman have to hit the ball if it goes behind the wickets, if he cant touch the ball with the bat he will be out caught without touching the ball. Batsman will be out on one bounce if catch taken by Ponting and M Clark. If any batsman open his mouth during batting, it will be subjected to racist remarks and will be put to Procter. By S Bucknor in consultation with Benson and Procter

  • MJ on January 9, 2008, 21:58 GMT

    Ali Raza, et. al: As a supporter of Indian cricket, I'm as embarrassed by Kumble's perfect 10 against Pakistan as I am by Harbhajan's hat-trick against Australia, both being ill-gotten plaudits. Judgement-impairing nationalism creeps into the highest offices of cricket in all countries, with India being perhaps the most susceptible to its allure. That was why a system of using neutral umpires was established. And the umpires officiating in Sydney were supposed to be neutral. I guess the BCCI should make a case of instituting neutral 3rd umpires, as well :-)!

  • Lalit on January 9, 2008, 21:49 GMT

    Everyone works under some pressure but only these umpires. Human error ? What kind of error is that ? You are not paid to make errors on this level. Technology were there to help but only if you had asked for the help ! You put yourself in the narrow thinking space, you figured out that BCCI is the mightiest in terms of money power, we didn't scared you with that threat. We just appealed for the decisions against some irresponsible behaviours by Umpires and referee.

    That many mistakes by umpires and you still blame team for not being able to save a test... Man, umpires took out close to an innings with their bad decisions. What drives Bucknor at this age to do this job... it can't be money (he already have earned lots of that) and It can't be his love for the game.. certainly not because had he been loving this job anymore, he might not be making so many mistakes...

  • Bert on January 9, 2008, 21:40 GMT

    What is so galling is that a team that invented, fine-tuned and perfected the art of yapping to distract their opponents now cry foul when it goes against them.

    Followed by the fact that the same team that has rolled over the opposition for so long obtains a majority of the wrongful decisions against their opponents.

    They should not get any help from the 1st, 2nd or 3rd umpire

  • MJ on January 9, 2008, 21:27 GMT

    [Sorry about having to post on a piecemeal basis but, to continue..] For those of you citing YouTube clips of "Harbhajan vs Pietersen" as evidence of the former's potty-mouthedness, I invite you to get real. Every team has its share of vituperative players--just as every team has its set of balanced players, who are above sledging of the more rabid strain. How many of you remember McGrath spitting at Lara? Can one go any lower? Do we really need to drag this discussion through the gutters? Bucknor's forced retirement, and it had to be forced, as he was clearly unwilling to admit to his declining judgement, was long overdue. I only question the manner in which it was wrought.

    It's pretty clear (notwithstanding dissenting and discordant factions) where culpability lies for the recent fracas. Ponting, arguably among the finest batsman and leader to set foot on a cricket field, has been stripped of the last vestiges of any reputation he may have had for being a sportsman of any note.

  • Sameer on January 9, 2008, 21:24 GMT

    Firstly it is not proven yet that Harbhanjan did call Symonds a monkey( Let us wait till the appeal is heard). Secondly if even 50% of the 6-7 (clear wrong decisions) went India's way India would have won the match forget trying to draw it Peter. Aussies cannot digest the fact that somebody actually had put them in pressure and were giving them back what they usually dish out to others- pathetic double standards- but then what can you expect out of them!!

  • rao on January 9, 2008, 21:19 GMT

    What rubbish! Last year when Taufel incorrectly gave Tendulkar out, he apologized next day. Bucknor could have done that, better still he could have stood down, may be he is unwell. He gave no hint that he knew he was losing the players' confidence. Do you really want to have a game in which players have lost confidence in umpiring? Glad someone, even if it is the (disliked by you) BCCI, told the emperor (ICC) to get some clothes on. I am sure CA is happy about this too, but they need say nothing, just enjoy the benefit of BCCI's work. If you seriously think blatant errors should have no bearing on whether some umpire should keep his job, you might consider a friendly Sunday afternoon game in the country. Or perhaps not even that!

  • MJ on January 9, 2008, 21:19 GMT

    It's possible that those of you who have already tried, and found Harbhajan guilty of racism (which he certainly would, had he indeed uttered that unspeakable--in the context of Australia's recently concluded tour of India--anathema) may have overlooked a couple of simple, yet undeniable facts: 1. Is Harbhajan capable of calling Symmonds a monkey? Sadly, the answer is in the affirmative. 2. Is it possible that Ponting--who, in his relentless pursuit of victory, has long since divested himself of even the most rudimentary moral code and sportsmansip--could be exploiting a volatile situation to effectively rid himself of his nemesis [Harbhajan] for the remainder of the series? It's certainly not that far-fetched. But the fact is that this case boils down to one man's word against another's, and the consequent verdict has to be "not guilty" on grounds of insufficient evidence.

  • jamil on January 9, 2008, 20:49 GMT

    one solution to all these problems is no on field umpires only umpires are tv cameras and snickometer and rest of technology and than nobody can blame anyone.there could be one person supervising.

  • Nasir Siddique on January 9, 2008, 20:24 GMT

    India is using the situation to detract attention from the fact that they now stand to get whitewashed in the series. Pakistan too narrowly avoided a whitewash against England in 2006. Yet suprisingly the poor performance of the team was over shadowed by hairgate.

    Unfortunately, the sub-continent cricket boards with their burgeoning pockets are aacting like rich spolit kids and need a good spanking. Our players are becoming used to hiding behind the board and covering their poor performances on the field with off the field antics.

    India is falling into the same trap set by themselves. They are already under pressure and have now put too much pressure on themselves because the Indian public will now expect the team to raost the Aussies on the field a la Lagaan. But we know Perth is where Sub-continent team really struggle and it is here now that India's tour of Australia will really begin.

  • raj on January 9, 2008, 20:18 GMT

    Decent article but not getting to the core issue though. Point is not if ICC cowed down to BCCI (History will tell you people with money have always had their way). Point is not if 'Monkey' is a racist term as I agree that all human beings are equally capable of being racist. Point is how long does one tolerate the self-righteousness attitude of players, media, and orgs from Oz, Eng, NZ, and SA. My biggest grivance in the whole episode is the fact that Mr. Ponting, living in a democratic society and holding a public position, had the gall to question the presence of an accredited journlist in response to a fair question regarding his 'Integrity' which was there for the whole World to see through the TV replays. Even George Bush is accountable to public. And what is the net result.... No censure for Ponting from Cricket Australia. Mr. Ponting needs reminding that his herd will never be termed invincibles because 'Don's team' won hearts as well as matches and his team doesn't get it.

  • t i on January 9, 2008, 20:09 GMT

    there is a distinction between racism and racist comments. racism is oppressing someone (usually systematic - denying jobs, LBW appeals etc) because of their race. racist comments is saying something bad to a person because of their race. it is fairly obvious that a victim of racism requires a thicker skin than a victim of racist comments. calling the whole issue racism is likely what added fuel to the harbhajan affair fire.

    secondly, it is western nations (australia, england, US) that are affected by racism - it is not so in India. if the west wants to stamp out its primary weed - racism, and wants india to help it do so, it should concede on india's cultural concerns (verbal abuse). verbal abuse is as much of a problem in india, as racism is in australia.

  • Madhav on January 9, 2008, 20:04 GMT

    If there is a proper policy in place of umpiring appraisals an extreme step is not required. While u say Indians must have been professional why not the ICC have a system that rewards and punishes an umpire for his performance. If everyone is confident about the system then there will be no demand. If the system is incompetent and does not provide confidence that there would be a system of punishing bad umpiring an extreme step is entailed. All the more so when Darryl Hair who discharged his duties perfectly was sacked and u cud empathize with that (and all Indians did too since it was against the spirit of the game) so is a dozen of lousy decisions that hardly does anything to lift the spirit. If Darryl prevented the game from reaching its logical conclusion so did Bucknor through his incompetent decisions. So both deserve the same fate. This is an unhappy posting, sorry did'nt expect this from u.

  • Ajay Kumar on January 9, 2008, 19:57 GMT

    Well said Mr. .Kamran. However, in all this mayhem, we forgot the main reason why these kind of events have happened and will keep happening maybe more regularly in future: 1. The game is not played in the right spirit. If racism has no place in our lives, how can we argue that sledging has? Unless this is stopped, no point in talking about playing in the right spirit. 2. Persistent Racism by ICC officials has to stop. Time and again sub-continent players are victimised for seemingly small errors, while Aussie & South African players have been let off so regularly for their bad behaviour and cheating that it renders the ICC code of conduct ridiculous. How can we forget that excessive appealing rule applies to only Asian teams? Claiming a wrong catch can cause a 5 match suspension to Rashid Latif and kudos for Ponting, Michael Clarke and company? The list goes on and on and on....

    I fail to understand that the respected reportes do not see anything wrong with this.

  • vikster on January 9, 2008, 19:56 GMT

    After reading many of the comments above. I agree with many people. First, on the symonds vs bhajji issue. I disagree with procters decision since when no substantial evidence was found against Harbhajan, since neither the umpires nor sachin tendulkar heard any racist remarks. Accepting that sachin tendulkar didnt hear any such remarks is the same thing as believing Hayden and Clarke and thus punishing a player who is innocent until proven guilty with substantial evidence was unjust. Second, umpires do make mistakes, and as a n Indian fan, i would say bucknor is one of the most fairest umpires. He made mistakes which one should say every umpire makes atleast one mistake on every test, but making 9 mistakes, some which mile clear is simply atrocious. By sacking Bucknor, ICC did wrong to not only itself but other cricketing nations by abiding to the BCCI power. A much better move would have been to remove Bucknor on their own decision for his failure to umpire a test correctly.

  • BadBowler on January 9, 2008, 19:34 GMT

    I think the larger issue is keeping your house in order.

    1. Bucknor should have been eased out slowly as his decisions became unreliable. There was a time when he was a pretty good umpire butover the past few years he has been in steady decline. That is fine, he is human after all.

    2. The ICC should have taken a strong stance against sledging a long time ago and forbid all personal attacks on the field.

    This is a case of bolting the wrong door after the horse has run.

    You article addresses a big issue - administration of cricket and where control really lies. What you shouldn't fail to ignore is that the money is spun out of Asia. So, naturally that is where control will eventually lie. Is there any way to get around that? Reality?

    If cricket wasn't popular in Asia, then it would have been doomed as a sport a long time ago. Have you seen how it has declined in appeal in England, WI, Zim, Ken? Cricket needs Asia. It doesn't matter where cricket is controlled - just get it right!

  • Gowri Shankar on January 9, 2008, 19:26 GMT

    People are either reacting too much on Harbhajan's alleged comments on Symonds or India's request to remove Bucknor. But its important to remember that at what stage did ask for Buknor's removal. If an Umpire fails to judge properly on more than half a dozen occassions, is it unfair to lodge a compaint against such an umpire and also keeping his track record, Bucknor is no good umpire. Coming to Australia's sportsman spirit, how can a team play against them when they claim wickets for on bump catches. It does happen now and then when a fielder is unable to decide whether he has taken a catch or grounded it, but what if that happens more than one time in a session. It's also sad that CA calls it as hard and fair act of game.

  • Fractal on January 9, 2008, 19:17 GMT

    How do we prevent such a (Harbhajan) fiasco from happening again? Before the start of each series, captains should make a list of words that are considered offensive to any of their players and give it to the rival captains (and distribute within the team). So, all players would know the words which would be considered off-limits by the rival teams). Now we know that Ponting would have `monkey' in his list of forbidden words and Kumble would have `B******' in his list of forbidden words. If any player utters forbidden words from the rival captain's list, then he should be punished (for violating the "agreement"). It's not that difficult to make up such lists (Just as the public through internet). Agreements based on such lists would prevent shelters under political correctness, cultural differences, racism etc. Now, will somebody please give this idea to the ICC and other sports organizations...

  • CricFan on January 9, 2008, 19:15 GMT

    Look at the outcome. Harbhajan, Bucknor punished. Harbhajan walked into the trap which was laid a couple of months ago. Symonds is non-white (He souldn't be smiling). Most disgusting acts were carried out by Benson, Oxenford, Proctor and the aussies team & management. This has been always happening. Good to see Asians awake. ICL take notice and IPL - it is disgusting.

  • Larry G on January 9, 2008, 19:12 GMT

    dudes - all chill out! This will blow over - all the persepctives here are tainted from who you are supporting. All teams stretch the rules, all teams sledge, all umpires stuff up, all teams sometimes benefit and sometimes loose. The key to character is what happens next - do you sook like a girl and ask your daddy to help you or get out on the pitch and let your performance do the talking - can't wait until Perth and look forward to Tait trying to knock a few batmen's heads off , plenty of hook shots and loads of sledgeing between both teams - this is great - BRING IT ON!

  • Macjoubert on January 9, 2008, 19:09 GMT

    Harbhajan says he didnt say it,why did Procter believe Hayden and Symonds? Its a stand of principle. The BCCI stood behind the PCB when Pakistans honor was dragged through dirt, worse without any proof. Extra ordinary circumstances will alwas exist, this was one of them. Procter is a fool, listen to Rashid Latif articulate that when he was summoned Procter had similarly made up his decision beforehand as if Latif couldnt be trusted inherently. Finally Bucknor the man is a disgrace, he makes a mockery of the cricket and yet should stand for more mock attempts. HE should have been cited for bringing the game to disrepute. Lastly where is the fairness when Ponting wasnt cited for anything when Asian players have been banned/fined/admonished for far lesser.

  • urvesh on January 9, 2008, 19:02 GMT

    I was appalled at reading your article to the point of calling you an nationalistic rabid imbecile fan who should not have a pen in his hand to write such idiotic opinion only to appease the white POWER. It was due to cowards like you that the asian cricketers do not matter in the same vein as aussies, english and the SA's. removing hair was ok but bucknor was not. ARE U BLIND SIR. Subcontinental teams have suffered biased and poor decisions in the time of neutral umps. which is an unforgivable sin. We are forced to accept those decisions as part of the human element of the game. CRAP. Howcome the brits and Ozs & SA's suffer once in a bluemoon while the asian teams seem to suffer every time they are about to challenge them. It is cheating when u hit the cover off the ball & not walk and appeal when the opposing batsman's pad hits the ball. But i guess until we have "impartial" journalists like u amongst us they can get away with such cheating under the disguise of FAIR & HARD CRICKET.

  • samir on January 9, 2008, 19:00 GMT

    Mr Abassi,

    You have got it ALL wrong, yet again!! India did not ask for Benson's removal though he made a few wrong decisions against India. But with Bucknor, it's been a different case altogether. He seems to have made his personal goal to make sure the Indian team does not win any match that he officiates. He has a long history and if you think that any team should take these continual incompetence, bordering on some kind of personal vendetta is bringing the game of cricket into disrepute and burying your head in the sand, which is what ICC is good at. Secondly, with Ponting still talking about the moral high ground even after watching videos of him clearly cheating, is ridiculous. How comes he gets away with nothing for the millionth time, while Latif for the exact same incident was banned for 5 matches, by none other than Mike Proctor?

  • BMaroo on January 9, 2008, 18:41 GMT

    Steve Bucknor removal was bad timing. Should have been done a couple years ago, but now was the worst time. Also amongst the solutions that had the best affect in the short term and worst impact in the long term.

    Also for all that is being said of South Asia becoming powerhouses - that is true, only to an extent. England & Australia boards have conceeded power, but individually officials do met out disproportionate sentences to South Asian cricketers. Virender Sehwag in South Africa, Pakistan's guilty verdict before the case was heard and now Harbhajan's verdict in a trail that is being *percieved* as unfair. So while the power centers are shifting, attitudes remain biased. Until these are fixed, muscles will flex. And money will never stop to talk - capitalism comes at a price.

  • qasem on January 9, 2008, 18:36 GMT

    there is no doubt in my mind that certain match referees have strong bias against South Asians (Mike proctor has a history of that). Therefore, some of the grievances are fair about double standards. If Aussies sledge or appeal aggressively, they say it's good for the game as it brings in excitement but when South Asians do it they get banned (the whole team gets banned). What a shame!

  • Harish on January 9, 2008, 17:46 GMT

    Cricket is sliding inexorably towards schism with the ICC presiding grandly over it. The ICC should have made it loud and clear that Bucknor was being sacked for incompetence. They could easily have said that he was given a second chance after the World Cup final fiasco and that the let everyone down. And that would have been completely true. Now in trying to be too clever by half and trying to walk an impossoble tightrope, the ICC looks the emasculated body that it clearly is. As far as the racism charge goes, they should have played it down stating that there was insufficient evidence. The ICC should also have stated that the behavious of BOTH teams violated the spirit of the game. My Indian countrymen will take serious umbrage, but during this very test didnt Captain Kumble make the most ludicrous LBW appeal of all-time even as Brad Hogg spaked him thru the covers for two!!! And as far as appealing on bump ball is concerned, Dhhoni is the original inventor of this deplorable tactic.

  • usman on January 9, 2008, 17:28 GMT

    Indians are sore losers, if only they could keep their last 3 wickets this would'nt be as bad.

  • Jamie Dowling on January 9, 2008, 17:25 GMT

    Mike Procter's extremely poor performance is a constant factor in this issue and the Ovalgate issue. His judgement is now rightly being questioned: he failed to intervene at the Oval, he failed to censure Yuvraj for dissent in the first test and now he appears to have taken Ponting's word over all others.

    The BCCI is greedy and the Australians are arrogant so I have no favourites here: both need and deserve bringing to earth with a hard bump.

    I have little time for the ICC either. This issue shows why the ICC needs to be replaced and revamped by a professional, independent organisation free from political wrangling. The ICC's processes for handling umpires haven't been clear and transparent. First Darrell Hair got shafted, now Steve Bucknor. No board should have the right to dictate who can and cannot umpire tests involving their side. Match referees have been poor as well.

    The ICC and officials need an overhaul too. Cricket doesn't win here.

  • phillidoc on January 9, 2008, 16:54 GMT

    Mr. Abbasi, it was a disgrace reading your article. I am a Pakistani fan and was expecting better from you. You are supporting the officials of Sydney test..... how in the world can you do that??? removing Hair was right, but removing Bucknor is not.... How????? And what to say of Proctor.... his bias against sub-continent teams are not hidden from anyone (many examples are listed in this and other blogs, should not be too difficult for anyone to find).... and above all Aussies talking of morality, please read comments by Aussies Hall of Fame president and others (its posted on this website for your convenience, no hardwork required)..... do some research before writing and if its too much to ask of you, then please.... Cricinfo will be better off without your opinions. Kudos Anil Kumble and your remarks of "only one team playing in the right spirit" sums it up. Note: Shankar, we Pakistani's fully support BCCI and Indian team (ya we do Abbasi, we do).

  • Rohit on January 9, 2008, 16:53 GMT

    Why is removing an incompetent umpire such a taboo in Cricket. Football world cup 2006. Austarlia vs Croatia. Referee Graham Poll had a very poor game. He was suspended from refreeing further in the WC and sent home soon aferwards. Everybody was sympathetic to Poll but nobody argued that it wasn't the right thing to do. Why can't the same happen in Cricket? Maybe because as far as the ICC is concerned, its not what you know but who you know. Bucknor certainly seems to know the right kind of people inside the ICC. I cannot think of any other sport where a referee/umpire would have been allowed to continue his career after causing the sport's showpiece event's final degrade into a farce( Cricket WC 2007)

  • elvis z ali on January 9, 2008, 16:52 GMT

    IT is clear to see that these sporting events has now become a dollar and cent business when you win at any cost more money comes into the bank.can anyone prove to me that during the years not one of those said players involve did not benifited from said bad call as it were,i can name quite a few and went on to win both test and series make record and break record also,to me the I.C.C has taken a thrend now where by i can boldly say they have now become a pawn and has now stem the flow where good sence. fair play etc etc can no longer prevaile.......what next? maby the country with the largest support-income should rule.what say ye...

  • Kunal on January 9, 2008, 16:27 GMT

    I dont quite agree that the power has shifted. The Australians still manage to get away with a lot of on field tactics, while the Asians tend to get banned even for showing their bat to indicate they hit the ball! Its only now that the Asian teams are objecting to such biased rules. I guess the ways used are not correct - but then there are no other ways. I think things can only improve if -a. The role of the 3rd umpire is made stronger and b. The match referees are less biased in their verdicts

  • atta rehman on January 9, 2008, 16:20 GMT

    I am very sorry to read your comments Kamran. I dont know what is the problem we Pakistani against India. We have seen the behavior of Australian before in the field and outside the field. Did you forget how Lillee kicked Miandad. Istill remember how Ponting put down BD and fight with onfield umpire to change the decision of third umpire in chittacong.Woolmer was constantly complaining against the tactics of Aussies on umpires to get decision in there favour. Did you forget how they get decision against Sanghakara in Hobart when he was close to win. there so many incidences of there behavior against teams visit there. this is not only Indian complaint but each team visit Australia complaint against there attitude toward umpiring decisions in favour of Australia because aggressive tactics. About Harbajan case, how come Mike Procter listen only Ponting but not Indian story from Sachin,who is much more respectable than Ponting. Dont forget it was Procter at Ovalwhogaveverdictagainstinzi

  • Dada on January 9, 2008, 16:17 GMT

    Ha ha the authors bias clearly shows despite the struggle to sound neutral and concerned about the precedence etc. If this is the type of dishonest journalism Pakistanis have to suffer then they shouldn't complain about the Hairs and tampering and all. Please do speak your mind more clearly and honestly instead of sitting on the fence. By the way it is BCCI that is exercising its power not "south asia".

  • Mike Rosario on January 9, 2008, 16:08 GMT

    Kamran : Good to see you come out of your sabbatical. ICC is now much like the UN with veto power of South Asia. It is indeed a crying shame . Much like the germanism of PCB. The german veto power of Pakistan cricket. Way to go!

    Let us not forget that , when it comes to racism , south asians might be the worst..without actually accepting it. Look at Pakistan , the PCB and the like of comments by Raja and Waqar ..they are inherently racist ..but no one dare say it or fear the german reprisals.

    Regards

    Mike

  • Shashank on January 9, 2008, 16:08 GMT

    don't tell me about "racist remarks are not on" because a simple google search of australia's sledging history will give you enough examples to fill up this comment box ten times over.so if you want to say something,grow some testicles and be ready to hear some too.if not shut it. 6.agreed the crowd in india during the one-dayers was boorish.but is it necessary for me to remind everyone of the murali, ntini, hall, nell etc incidents? 6.rashid latif gets banned for 5 games for claiming a grounded catch,by Mr. Procter.however,he turns a blind eye to ponting.again double standards.

    I can keep going on and on all day with this.India has lost a gajillion tests over the years, nothing new.i am not upset that they lost.neither am i upset for bad umpiring, fine.the guy is blind and deaf.what can we expect.the question is the hypocrisy,the double standards STILL being employed against the sub-continent teams, the lying and cheating.

  • Prakash on January 9, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    Oh this argument is fabulous! If PCB gets umpire Hair fired from his job, it is all very nice and wonderful. But if India dares to do something similar, ICC is being pushed into irrelevance! OK Mr. Abbasi, please tell us what is new!

  • Shashank on January 9, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    contd. That arrogant quack went up to the umpire and argued with him for a WIDE BALL! for which he was reprimanded for dissent.A WIDE BALL!so whatever he does should be considered true sportsmanship.please man, spare me. 4. Given Mr. Procter does not have a judicial background, but even a high school going child would know "Innocent until proven guilty". 5.Symonds said he saw bhajji hit lee on the backside,and he thinks it's not on and decides to stand up for his team mate.fine.but when the indian team stands up united for bhajji,they are overreacting.what's with this blatant hypocrisy?bhajji's gesture logically might have been what they call "friendly banter" which happens in many sports (the hitting the rear rend part), american football, basketball, baseball football. 5.also,what is up with all the cry babying?what happened to what happens on the field stays on the field?when they do it,they want it to stay on the field but when someone fights back they feel abused.and please CONTD.

  • Asian Brotherhood on January 9, 2008, 15:54 GMT

    I think white players will acknowlegde that they have got away with murder in the past. As Sri Lankan i remember Mcgrath calling Jayasuriya a Black Monkey in the 95/96 series in Australia...and yet McGrath didnt get fined or even get banned from any matches....funny now its the aussies who are suffering the good sledge...and i bet it hurts even more when a asian player does all the sledging......after years of (racial) abuse and injustice to asian players....we r givin it sum of the trash talk back to u convicts......javed miandad, arjuna rantunga and ganguly knew how to make their teams aggressive and through that asian teamns have been a force to reckon with....i hope the indians as well as the pakistanis and sri lankans give plenty of heat when the aussies tour asia again...

  • Jeff on January 9, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    "Brilliant post, Kamran. Just read Suresh Menon's feature on Cricinfo, and now this, and am glad some sanity and foresight is beginning to emerge in the coverage of this crisis, and you make an important point that needs to be heeded.

    It would be nice if the Australian journalists and the majority of the Indian coverage could match your and Menon's standards. "

    -could not agree more. thank you kamran

  • Shashank on January 9, 2008, 15:47 GMT

    Kamran, just a few things. 1. if BCCI wanted to "run" cricket, they have had plenty of opportunity over the years to exercise their muscle. ex: Simon Taufel giving Sachin and Saurav out when they were not against England during the recent tour. Sachin being repeated given out falsely by SB. ex: Against pakistan, the famour abdur razzak incident, the shoaib akhtar run out incident when sachin had made his grounds easily and shoaib knocked him out of the crease by running into him, the lbw on shoulder against australia. i can keep giving you such examples over and over again. 2. double standards. case: gilchrist Vs latif.gilchrist accused latif of calling him a white c**t.no evidence, latif exonerated.why was bhajji charged? 3. sportsmanship:ricky "fair play" ponting likes using big words on how people should play in the true spirit of the game. and i think according to him, what HE and the aussies do should be the benchmark of true sportsmanship.claiming grounded catches.cont

  • Nadeem shutarri on January 9, 2008, 15:47 GMT

    I think the monkey chant was misheard, may be Harbhajan was speaking Punjabi and saying Maan ki---- which was understood as monkey by Symonds. Kamran you were too lenient on the Aussies, May be you didnt even bothered to watch the game and just wrote this article. You intentionally took a leftist position on this article so that you can get more responses. How many more incidents like Hair do you want, why the error of judgement went always in Australia's favor and in England/Pak series it went in Englands favor, is it just a coincidence or it is a trend anybody with a bit of common sense can easily tell it is a trend. You made a deliberate attempt to focus on racism and India's new found influence in the game and left the main topic untouched which was exteremely biased umpiring which determined the fate of the match.I think not only the Indians but the cricket fans all over the world should feel agitated as they were robbed by ICC umpires of a thrilling match.

  • Raj M on January 9, 2008, 15:42 GMT

    "The umpires are human too" is one of the most common cliches used to defend umpiring errors. Well if so why not every human be eligible to umprire in test matches. Umpiring is a profession with special skills such as knowledge of rules of the game and keen senses and attention paid to the game in progress. We all know the extent of knowledge of rules of Bucknor (World cup final Fiasco), in addition, his senses seem to have deteriorated faster than Brett lee's yorker. I do not know who selects the elite-panel and what are their criteria, I am sure if ICC tried they can find competant umpires. Hopefully this incident will root out Steve Bucknoe, Rudi Koertzen, Billy Bowden, Mark Benson and some of the so called elite upmires who can seem to see or hear.

  • Chak De india on January 9, 2008, 15:38 GMT

    Your article is just stupid Mr Kamran. you wrote it on what ground? what about all the blogers who says its wrong to drop Bucknor and BCCI using its power. How can you take a word of a player(ponting) who stand his ground although he knows he was out and take his word over a third umpire,So what is the Third umpire is for? Ok i agree umpires do mistakes but what about making the same mistake against one team for like 4-5 times.how come he barely make a mistake agaisnt the Aus. Anyone who the match live they can feel what indians are feeling if they really love the game of cricket. most blame the last 3 batsman for not lasting for even 1 over.Tell me whats going on the mind of no 9,10,11 batsmen knowing that the umpires gave there best 2 batsmen out who were notout. you expect him to last for more that 1 delivery?How can he trsut the umpires You bring shame to SubContinent by writing this Crap

  • Amano on January 9, 2008, 15:35 GMT

    Why should Kumble appeal to Ponting to drop the charges against Baji if he did not actually say anything - Why is calling another fellow human a monkey not degratory now ?? something for the Kiwi Judge to think about during the hearing of the appeal.

  • Saman on January 9, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    Can understand very well why the West Indian Board is upset about the sacking of Bucknor - it is a kick up their backside - just picture if the the ozies wanted our Umpire Manuel taken off a test match becos of mistakes he made ?? all hell would have broken lose - Arjuna would have asked for the blood of Ponting for breakfast (he is now chairman of the Interim comittee). Different strokes for different folks - as for Baji he is the most obnoxious player in the Indian team and is rude to even his own mates on the field if they misfield or drop catches off his bowling - he must be corrected and not glorified - honour is one thing but blind honour is a sure sign of acute stupidity.

  • SAM on January 9, 2008, 15:26 GMT

    well said! As far as i know bhajji has got some serious attitude problem and Indian team is standing for him only because they have lost the test match and they want to avoid further humiliation by bringing non-cricketing issues in the game. As far as Australia goes they always have been same arrogant, they have done nothing extra-ordinary to spark this fire, its just that India couldn't bear the loss. And before criticizing the umpires India specially KUMBLE should have gone back to February 1999 http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/79492.html where Mr. Jayparakash helped India and Kumble a great deal to win that test match in Delhi by claiming 10 wickets. I am afraid why Pakistan didn't do anything like India are doing right now.

  • Kris on January 9, 2008, 15:23 GMT

    People seem to ignore or forget the fact that Bucknor had to go not only for the present match but for his cumulative past failures. it is better this happened this way than him being given extended retirement by the ICC due to lack of elite umpires. With regards to sledging may I draw attention to the fact that no one seems to mention about Hogg's use of 'Bastard'. Remember one man's raciscm maybe other man's sledgeing and vice-versa. I have a feeling that Perth is going to be a letdown in terms of cricket after all this.

  • Amma on January 9, 2008, 15:23 GMT

    Cannot understand why Symonds is insulted at being called a monkey - actually the one who looks more like a monkey is Baji himself he should take at look at himself in a mirror - In fact he is the only one out of all the players in both teams that looks like an old monkey and as it is not an insult in India he should state it on the back of his shirt !!!

  • Mustafa Moiz on January 9, 2008, 15:23 GMT

    Bucknor and Hair's cases are totally different. And India has even called Aleem Dar racist. What I don't understand - other than India's overreacting - is how is monkey a racist term? Bucknor is an excellent umpire, one of the best. It is sad he is axed.

  • Naveed on January 9, 2008, 15:06 GMT

    Dear kamran, I completely agree with you on your first part of the article (on Habajan Singh), but I don't on Steve Buckner. Let me bring into the notice of the readers and to Kamran himself that Steve has soft corner for Andrew Symonds, those who were watching the match closely, can make out it. First of all Steve gave Symonds twice not out and on the both occassions, he was clearly out, even a child could say after watching Symonds nick that he is out. It didn't stop there, he delebrately gave Dravid out and the bowler? Symonds again. And if someone watches the clips carefully, Symonds pats Steve on his shoulder after finishing an over as if saying 'thank you sir'. So, there's nothing wrong with BCCI in asking to drop Steve Buckner from umpiring in the remeining series atleast until the wounds of cheating heals. As an Indian, I know and I'm sure that we Indians will forget and forgive Steve Buckner later. Atleast he should feel the burn for his mistakes.

  • HARUN on January 9, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    EVEN lord hanuman is a monkey ! big deal he just called symonds a monkey whats so racist about it? get over it kids.... monkeys are just animals, totally different from the n-word.... we worship the animal monkey and he called symonds one , is he racist for calling the monkey symonds or calling symonds a monkey, can we clear that out first?

  • Andy on January 9, 2008, 14:44 GMT

    Sacking of Steve Bucknor was incorrect. If ICC truly believed that Bucknor had erred they should have just allowed him to continue for the Perth test and not considered Bucknor for any future tests. Regarding the Racist comments, the game has always been played that way. With Ponting now having opened the Pandora's box, Team Australia will now be under the scrutiny of every umpire and cricketing nation in the world. Ponting by preferring to complain has brought in the Aussie downfall. The Aussie domination in cricket has been a combination of Cricket and Mental disintegration of the opponents. This is a sure shot formula for domination. With the current complaint, the Aussie team has lost one of its main ingredients for Cricketing domination. From here on the world will see the Aussie cricket domination going downhill. Regarding the Dissent showed by some Aussie players and Mike Proctor's views on it the less said about it the better as Aussies are'nt Asians.

  • sachin fan on January 9, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    PAK SPIN BLOGGERS ARE ALWAYS SEEM TO BE JEALOUS OF INDIA'S DOMINANCE IN ICC . Get used to fact that BCCI contributes 80% of ICC revenue and they will dictate terms . Bucknor is now 61 yr OLD and can't function like young umpires. It would've been foolish to keep him any longer. Why should India even continue to play with 3rd grade umpires when so much is at stake ? All they asked for is neutral fair umpires . On second thought BCCI should just withdraw from ICC and setup its own Cricket council. I am sure you all and this Blog will soon become irrelevant then . LOL Peace Out !!

  • D Bhatt on January 9, 2008, 14:24 GMT

    The Point for raising the racism issue is to cover for the umpiring decisions and unfair practice of R Ponting and co. This was being organized by Oz only to divert public attention from the very fact that second test must be scrapped and no records to be entered in the record book.

  • Indhar on January 9, 2008, 14:16 GMT

    I strongly disagree with yours & Menon's view.This is totally not about Sub-continental Dominance at all.This should be taken in the right sense as "Justice for All".How can a Man of Bucknor's Stature err consistently towards one Team.If he would have given atleast 30% in favour of the Indian Team then with no doubt this Match would 've been won by the Indians.Would u disagree on that???Also,you 've to take the Aussie Team's reaction on the field esp. for Arrogance,False Appealing,Over Reaction,Sledging,etc into account.See the attitude of Clarke, he clearly nicks the ball to the first slip & he's waiting for the umpire to rule him out.Is tat real Sportsmanship 4m No-1 Team???This test is surely one of the BITTER-Test's i 've ever seen.It's high time some South Asian Board has to make an uproar on the constant injustice that has been thrusted upon them.U can take a examples like Muralitharan's,Rashid Latif's,Harbhajan's,etc...This is the right time to make hay while the Sun Shines!!!

  • KS on January 9, 2008, 14:08 GMT

    Firstly harbhjan is innocent until proven guilty. Punishing him just on the basis of a statement made by known dishonest people is horrifying.

    Secondly for god's sake insulting people in anyway is bad. That's not gamesmanship but its just plain bad. I just can't understand why its alright to insult people using every four letter word known to man but just not a few words considered racist by the white man or western sensibilities. A truly racist insult would be something like "All ---(fill in race) are monkeys". The media and people have built up a culture where its perfectly alright to cuss using words like f**k c**t (terms of endearment according to aussies) etc. but not anything else considered racist by western sensibilities.

    Thirdly its not about world domination. World domination is when australia and england dominated ICC until just a few years ago. This is a fight for fair practices in cricket no more no less. Reforming the system is not world domination!

  • Irfan on January 9, 2008, 14:04 GMT

    Good work Kamran, Its just a case of sour grapes, All indians who are yelling about the injustice just tell me few things, Why did Kumble sledged Yousuf in the last series which cost yousuf his wicket, why when gambhir and afridi had an exchange of abuses in the match and afterwards afridi appologized but gambhir didnt, why wasnt it a case of bad umpiring when kumble got 4 wrong decisions in his favour and went on to take 10 wickets against pakistan, why was Mike Dennis sacked on banning sehwag for a match,

    Please don't be a hypocrite.

  • Indhar on January 9, 2008, 14:02 GMT

    I strongly disagree with yours & Menon's view.This is totally not about Sub-continental Dominance at all.This should be taken in the right sense as "Justice for All".How can a Man of Bucknor's Stature err consistently towards one Team.If he would have given atleast 30% in favour of the Indian Team then with no doubt this Match would 've been won by the Indians.Would u disagree on that???Also,you 've to take the Aussie Team's reaction on the field esp. for Arrogance,False Appealing,Over Reaction,Sledging,etc into account.See the attitude of Clarke, he clearly nicks the ball to the first slip & he's waiting for the umpire to rule him out.Is tat real Sportsmanship 4m No-1 Team???This test is surely one of the BITTER-Test's i 've ever seen.It's high time some South Asian Board has to make an uproar on the constant injustice that has been thrusted upon them.U can take a examples like Muralitharan's,Rashid Latif's,Harbhajan's,etc...This is the right time to make hay while the Sun Shines!!!

  • ahsan tarique on January 9, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    who is the governing body of world cricket? Is it ICC or BCCI

  • Awais Kazi on January 9, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    Dude!...WOW!!! look comes out of hiding!..where were you all this time??? Its been a month almost and I pretty much ave up on the idea of you contributing to this blog ever again. :P

  • N. V. Srinivasan from Chennai on January 9, 2008, 13:25 GMT

    Mr. Kamran Abbassi you sound like a Pakistani Mukul. First your blog was stalled for over a month and now you come up with something you consider will attract the Indian supporters? You are writing just for the heck of it only to get praise from a few Indian supporters. I am Indian but, I don't like to be biased and one sided. In my opinion Suresh Menon has written a very unbiased article and he criticized the media, TV channels, especially Navajot Sidhu for being so immature and biased. Leave aside whether or not Harbhajan said anything to Symonds. I don't agree with you that calling someone a monkey is racism. You are also flowing with the flow or with the rising tide and saying,'it is a racist term and cannot be excused' from which dictionary or book that you have derived it as a racist comment? Is it Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution? I suggest you better do some homework on this subject before writing a blog on the subject of racism.

    Before you talk about

  • Michael on January 9, 2008, 13:19 GMT

    Well said Kamran. Your comments, along with Menons make for some sane discussion of some difficult issues. As an Australian, married to a South American,like my brother, regrettably but a reality of life, is that racist attitudes exist in all countries, as is demonstrated ironically by the many arrogant and ignorant and very insular comments made in postings here by persons from the subcontinent. I love the game of cricket first and foremost and want to see it grow, and I like many Aussies won't be burning effigies and carrying on like 'fruit cakes' if our team loses the next match, or the last test match in Adelaide. There were some bad umpiring decisions made, and yes many went against the Indians in this match, but that happpens in cricket at all levels, as I know as a Sydney district cricketer. It would have been good if Simmons, etc would walk when they know they are out, but as any objective cricket observer knows, this occurs with teams at all levels across all countries.

  • Ali Raza on January 9, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    I tend to agree with you Kamran, this is not the first time indians players and board have tried to benefit from their financial strength, stardom and media. There are many instances in past but to go overboard like that is very unusual and sign of things to come. I would loke to recall the one incident on the comments made by Indian Captain Anil Kumble that " Only one team was playing with the spirit of the game" and he went on quoting his example. The incident happened to be in Indo Pak matach in 1999 where Anil got 10 wicket haul. He persevered couple of session from the end where neutral umpire was officiating with no reward and justfully so. But once he switched end to his local umpire he got all the ten wickets. The first wicket he got in my opinion i have never seen as bad a decision given by umpire when he gave Afridi caught behind. The balls was miles away from the bat yet the indian went up in unisome and got the result. That clip in itself a big doubt on Kumbles integrity.

  • SG on January 9, 2008, 13:00 GMT

    "Peter" posted a comment here in this blog.

    "A team with true pride would not have crumbled so meekly in their moment of truth."

    Could you explain why/how team pride is related with the collapse of Indian tail-enders. Your immaturity is beyond senses. They are just bowlers and we don't expect they should do well in such pressure situation.

    "

  • Jonathan on January 9, 2008, 12:45 GMT

    The point about the term 'monkey' being non-racist is false. How come it is only used for black cricketers? This used to happen to the WI players too. But now, the ICC has made racism a serious offense. The crowd problems in Vadodara should have told Harbhajan that 'monkey' is now considered racist. He still allegedly used it. If proven, he should be punished. Racism has no place in cricket or any other walks of life.

    The term is like the N-word. If used by blacks on blacks it is not racist. But if a white were to use the N-word that is racism. It all depends on who says the word to whom, and the context.

  • Chris on January 9, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    Kamran this is the most sensible article you've written.

    Thank you and Sambit Bal, and Suresh Menon for showing perspective in these dark times.

    No one looks good after this. Ponting, Bucknor, ICC, BCCI but without doubt the ones coming out the worst are the Indian cricketing public and their media. On one hand they take Bhaji's suspension as a personal affront to their national psyche which is apparently based on racial tolerance and ghandi's principles. On the other hand they burn Australian flags and effiges of officals in violant displays. To rub salt into this wound which already bleeds of barbarity, they have the height to claim that Bhaji was singling Symonds out (Australia's one dark skinned player) as a monkey only to liken him to a Monkey God. Ignorance or arrogance? Probably a mixture.

    In any case fortunately Kumble is a class act. And class is spelt with a capital C in his case. If only some of his countrymen could follow suit.

  • RR on January 9, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    About Bhajji: Have Kamran or anyone else commenting here got any proof of Bhajji's remarks? I would like to see it please. Any more comments after that.

    About SB: What ICC did now it should have done more gracefully to this respected gentleman long back. Question is if ICC politely forced him to continue or did SB did not realize his time's up.

  • patto on January 9, 2008, 12:33 GMT

    Superbly written it's great to not every1 from the subcontinent is so 1 eyed, i cannot credibly say that bucknor's umpiring was superb , it was simply atrocious however this happens in cricket remember THIS IS JUST A GAME & as for this hysterical conspiracy about bucknor colluding with the australians is simply unbelievable why would bucknor at the end of his career risk it all so australia of all nations( remember he's west indian) to win a test match? As for harbhajan comment what & Indians sayin he meant nothin by it and that in India monkeys are a god is just so one-eyed its unbelievable..why we he call symonds something nice 2 him after symonds obviously insulted him? I dont think he should banned however dont condone his racist remark i mean cultural differences i couldn't slaughter a cow in India because it's sacred yet here in Australia beef is the most common meat..As for ponting he's not a true sportsmen and needs 2 look at himself & so does the entire australian team...END

  • Biso on January 9, 2008, 12:29 GMT

    Mr Abbassi , unfortunately you have got it all wrong. Dont insult the intelligence of millions. The real point is that the cricket world is still in the administrative hand of the whites and they cannot swallow the changes taking place. If you cannot see this I can only pity you and all those like you. You are not only being naive but giving a rooftop demonstration of you naivette. It is a well known fact that asians are at the receiving end of these white match referees. Procter shud have handed down bans on ponting and clarke and even Gilly for their incorrect / blatantly unfair appeals . An asian would have been in the docs by now. Dont fool yourself and others through your blog.Get kudos from guys like Andrew. You must be feeling high on them.Wow

  • Rajeev on January 9, 2008, 12:21 GMT

    It was totally biased article in favor of Australia or ICC.dont u see there is a simple unfairness in ICC governess. for claiming a fake catch if Rashid latif can be punished why not ponting and clark was punished by the same match referee proctor? I mean these arrogant aussies has right to say anything in the name of Hard and tough cricket but no other team should say anything in return...what the hell is this.another point whenever any bowler from asia bowl good he will be tagged with the name chucker whether it may be shoaib akhter, murli, malinga, bhajji, rajesh chauhan, sabbir ahamad, saqlan, shoaib malik and many more names,could you add any name from white ppl like brett lee, tait. I am sure u cant. and last point is If BCCI is providing almost 80% money to ICC then they should not show their muscle power when things are going wrong. I agree ppl overreacted to the whole matter but they spent their night to watch matches and if its not fair then they get understandably angree..

  • Cuen Lucas on January 9, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    Good points there, the ICC isn't too worried about the running of the game, just how much money they make. It seems that they will do almost anything to keep the BCCI happy and ensure their (The ICC's) cut of the Indian T.V. money.

  • Nick from Melbourne on January 9, 2008, 12:06 GMT

    To those people who have asked why the term "monkey" is a racist slur.

    Historically, it has been used against people of African descent to imply they are less evolved.

    In Europe soccer hooligans throw bananas and make monkey noises at the black players.

    Because of cultural differences it is quite possible that Harbhajan didn't know monkey was offensive to Symonds - the first time he used the term.

    That was back in October when Australia toured India. Following the disgraceful crowd scenes where the BCCI tried to deny that the crowd were making monkey noises until they had video evidence, Harbhajan agreed not to use the term monkey again, recognising that although he wasn't meaning it to be racist, Symonds found the term offensive for the reason stated above.

    Before Indian fans rush to claim that H is as pure as the driven snow, I ask them to type "Harbhajan Singh vs Kevin Pietersen" into You Tube. Marvel at both his sportsmanship and eloquent use of the F word.

  • SG on January 9, 2008, 12:02 GMT

    Very nice article.

    Regarding Steve Bucknor's removal, I don't think it's wrong

    Steve Bucknor's umpiring quality has been unacceptable for a long time and it touched its nadir in the Sydney test when he erred on at least 6 occasions leaving India with no fair chance to win. India's patience, simmering until the Sydney test, boiled over after this last test. Ganguly had already given his negative rating about Bucknor to ICC after the last series in Australia. What action did ICC take on this feedback ? ICC just sat on this report as a pregnant ostrich.What do you expect us to do, wait for ever till we die of old age, sustaining this overwhelming incompetence?

  • Prakash Kalanjeri on January 9, 2008, 11:57 GMT

    The game is definitely bigger than individuals.

    And I am very happy reading the views of Mr Abbasi and Mr Menon.

    As most South Asian fans, my initial reaction was that of shock, horror, conspiracy theories, colonism etc. I regret that now.

    The 2 umpires simply had a bad test match. The distractions were too many and were compounded by the wild-dog behavior of belligerent Aussies. The good news is that this rabid behavior has drawn severe criticism from all ranks and leaves the cricketers to do some soul searching.

    However, it is a matter of serious concern if Bucknor's performance as a test match umpire has remained south bound from the time the whispers became loud noises.

    Kumble's very recent statements indicate that the team has moved on and hopefully the SCG happenings would have fired them up for the perth battle.

  • Rajat on January 9, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    On the racist issue, the whole Bhajji issue was handled poorly. First Ponting should have kept the issue from going so far and shd have accepted Kumble's conciliatory gestures at the end of play and before the hearing. By going to the match referee, Ponting showed that the Aussie can dish it out but can't take a bit of rough talk themselves. There is a small line between sledging and racism. Procter cocked it up further by failing to reconcile the teams. He is an experienced player himself. Why did Procter accept an ICC lawyer to be present at the hearing. Other countries should fear the subcontinent's money less and the lawyers like Malcolm Speed more. If the appeal commissioner finds Bhajji innocent, then no one would come out looking clean. More importantly, when the Aussies go touring, other teams will not be able to know if they will get knocked out under false code 3.3 offences.

  • Markk on January 9, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    Errr... I think you got all wrong about Bucknor. He should not have been umpiring in this test in the first place. His sacking is too little too late for the game of Cricket. Remember... India has already been declared a losing side due his incompetence and favouritism. Forget his mistakes, he even refused to call in the third umpire for a stumping appeal - this not a mistake, this is bias. And imagine Benson asking Ponting about the catch... what a joke... as if Ponting is a shining beacon of honesty. And if you think BCCI's demands were mean - then you haven't seen nothin' yet. Luckily I am not in BCCI - else I would have strangled ICC until they declared this match as a draw and fired Benson as well. And who knows... Ponting too could have a stick or two. Got it?

  • tariq on January 9, 2008, 11:26 GMT

    I completely disagree with u Mr. Kamran. The umpiring was bad and i think indians have all the rights to ask for a change. But the biggest issue in my view is sledging and Ponting's behaviour. First of all the sledging should be banned, especially the way Aussies were using it. After all its a gentlemen's game and should be played the same way. I think Ponting should also be punished and so should Symonds, cuz they are the one who started all this and they always get away with this. If ICC wants the laws be implemented, they should be the same for every one. And if it doesn't happen soon, i m sure these sort of things will keep happenning.

  • joe on January 9, 2008, 11:00 GMT

    has any south asian team or indivijual been fairly treated by any white official. the answer is no.why o why are aussie words more powerful than indian?would you respect indians if you were persecuted in india just because you are not indian?

  • Sonny on January 9, 2008, 10:55 GMT

    Kamran In my opinion the BCCI did the right thing. The Indian Team were treated rather shabily by the match referee, umpires and "Ricky and his gang". You have to give the Indians credit for sticking together (unlike the Pakistanis) and hopefully will give back to the Aussies what they got from them, ten fold. Go Kumble and Team India.

  • shakil ahmed ansari on January 9, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    My question to Mr. Abbasi and all the respected supporters for retaining Mr. Bucknor by his employer: What then in the world does accountability, job competence, merit, justice account for. Should i be expecting to go on enjoing the rewards and perks of my job without standing upto its demands and requirements. The question becomes even graver if i am a judge or in a capacity where my incompetence has time and again robed hardworking individuals of their reward and brought sleepless nights on scores of people, to say the least. If a right decision is taken due to a (so called) wrong influence, it is probaly because this matter was not checked earlier objectively. People who are talking about the financial clout etc. etc.of BCCI are in fact trying to create a smoke screen for the whole wold to miss the sheer and obvious slackness, lethargy and indifference of all the officials involved. No one should be trumpeting for pious forgiveness on the suffering of someone else.

  • Aruna Silca on January 9, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    An aussue player ( Darren Lehman ) called SANATH JAJASURIYA a BLACK MONKEY but despite clear proof and evidence , no action was taken .There is a clear case of double standards by the aussies . So , where's the ' beef '!

  • KGB on January 9, 2008, 10:38 GMT

    Firstly, typecasting a "monkey" comment as racist is just plain rubbish. Let us, still, take Symonds' argument at face value. How, then, is it ok for a hulking giant to cry at a "monkey" taunt while it is juvenile for a grown man to lose his temper when his wife's and mother's integrities are questioned with alarming regularity?

    Second, Bucknor's problem is not isolated. In basketball, it is known that stars get star treatment. That doesn't mean it is right. Four years ago, teams employed 4 people to give 24 fouls on Shaquille O'Neal. Now, the guy often fouls out of games himself, because his own stature has fallen. We cannot have umpires who subconsciously get bullied by or are in awe of the team with the better record. Bucknor's sacking is correct because it sends the message to the rest of the umpires. Grow a spine or get out. Honestly, I would much rather have Simon Taufel, because you can see that he controls a game when he is standing. His are honest mistakes, not Bucknor's.

  • Mohan on January 9, 2008, 10:30 GMT

    It is not about India exercising its power because of its commercial power. One needs to understand the silly colonial rules of the game which require revamp. If calling Symonds is racial what about sledging? If players are accountable why not umpires. An umpire is to seek a clarification from the third umpire and not from a captain (like Benson did). If we are able to see clearly the goof-ups on TV why cant the umpire use it. Why cant the ICC draw up clear cut regulation and ensure they are applied consitently by Match Referees? It is time that someboby else leeds ICC and not SLOW SPEED.There is no point ICC trying to defend Buckner rather they apply their resources to find new talent that is readily available. If ICC does not change it is a matter of time that the sub continent countries pull out and form World Cricket Council.

  • M on January 9, 2008, 10:22 GMT

    Well, Darrell Hair did everything by the rulebook and got kicked out. Bucknor is out since he was simply incompetent. That he is still around after the World Cup fiasco is beyond comprehension.

  • gurps on January 9, 2008, 10:22 GMT

    This is directed at peter.

    Cricket is not always about winning or losing. Maybe you havent learnt anything from all this. More reading needs to be done by you.

  • Andrew on January 9, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    Kamran those are the sanest comments I have yet read on this issue. I am glad Pakistan and India are so incredibly enthusiastic about cricket, it ensures crickets continuing prominence. Yes Australia need to hold up a mirror to there general 'competitiveness' ie aggressive sledging. AN issue for some years now. But Harbajan's probable comment of monkey is reprehensible and if siad, should be dealt with appropriately. Ponting was right to report it. The dropping of Bucknor is a disgrace, even more so than that of Hair. Last year Pakistan team acting in a wounded pride/infantile manner. India unfortunately have done the same with quite hysterical reaction from some. It is time to grow up and in the sober light of day both teams (Australia and India) need to do some seriopus soul searching.

  • shakil ahmed ansari on January 9, 2008, 10:01 GMT

    My questions Mr. Abbasi: If a judge is biased, incompetent and indifferent, should he be left with impunity because of his elevated status. Mr. Bucknor was on an unchecked spree, robing indians and more importantly cricket lovers from true and fair competition. He must have his own personal reasons for doing that. But had ICC or BCC taken strong actions in 2003-2004, one of the saddest episode in Cricket history would have been avoided. I will say the same for Mr. Procter. I am a Pakistani and sadly finding that most of the Pkistanis are taking the samed biased view of these incidents like yourself. Pakistanis should not forget that it was BCCI's unbiased support towards them that let the cricket got rid of another tyrant.

  • IndiInDubai on January 9, 2008, 9:41 GMT

    I totally disagree with your views. It is about justice, not world domination.

  • Prashant on January 9, 2008, 9:32 GMT

    While I agree with you on the lamentable governance (in general) on the part of ICC, I differ on two counts. First - if Harbhajan Singh can be proven guilty, he should be banned for three tests and given lessons in effective communications. But the evidence against him is the same as the evidence for him. Word of a player. Umpires didn't hear what he said, and microphones didn't pick it up. He cannot be convicted in the face of such weak evidence as he is innocent until proven guilty.

    I differ on one more point - which incidentally is the central idea of you article. South Asia is a force in world cricket. It is a fact that should be accepted and not resented, because no othe region on the face of the earth can boast of such passion for the game, supported by such demographic and economic characteristics. While we all love the game, saying that everyone involved in the sport is there for the love is closing our eyes to the obvious. The truth is that ICC needs money to run the game.

  • poor old bowler on January 9, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    i think cricket has gone down a dangerous path, the precident has been set,what happens next time india dont get thier way can we expect the same thing to happen. india are ruining cricket and i think cricket at the moment would be better off without them playing if this is how they are going to react to a few bad decisions. i carnt believe the fuss put over the australian teams behavior they play cricket the same way as every team i have ever been involved in. playing sport is about two things having fun with your team mates and winning. i and every team i have ever played appeal excessivly,claim catches were uncertain of and sledge the opposition thiers nothing wrong with it. the object of bowling and fielding is to take 10 wickets for as little runs as possible, taking 1 or 2 wickets from bad decisions and sledging helps. i and my team mates have often sledged the opposition with hurtful remarks usually its the first thing that enters your head that you say,harbajahn did this

  • shankar on January 9, 2008, 9:20 GMT

    Mr Abbassi, I am surprised that you have tried to pose here as a fair minded guy which you really are not. You are same as the other south asians who you claim to be biased. You have drawn a comparison between Hair and Bucknor and had justified sacking of Hair while crying out against SB. But if you remember Hair held on to the letter of law when he declared the forfeiture. While SB refused to refer to the third umpire where he could and have been getting decisions wrong consistently. Of the two, Hair is more competent than SB. I know what your views would have been if the team involved was Pakistan instead of India. Now that there is nothing for you to lose, you have tried to gain some kudos from the Aussie and Indian Hate Brigade. Looking forward to the mails that are gonna flow from India Bashers with the holier than thou attitude.. Good work dude, Keep it up.

  • Rajesh on January 9, 2008, 9:16 GMT

    I completly disagree with the author .The ICC officials have always been unfair to Asians we have hordes of evidences when India Pakistan and Sri Lankan players have been penalised by ICC refrees for small offences whereas Australia England and other players rough behaviour has been overlooked how come mike procter is still in ICC panel of Refrees after the Oval Fiasco when w e talk of Fairness Impartiality and Neutral apporach the Officials Appointed By ICC should exhibit the same integrity and Impartaility why do match officials like Ranjan Madugalle or Aleem dar not been centres of contraversy because the people of the sub continent do not indulge in bias .Those people who are supporting Bucknor should understand that Bucknor officiated the sydney test as though he was a member of the Australian squad so whatever has happened is bad but defending Australia and Umpires like Bucknor is doing more harm to the gane

  • Vinnie on January 9, 2008, 9:13 GMT

    What the hell are you guys talking about? This guy is saying they set a dangerous precedent. ICC should have fired Bucknor/Benson even without any pressure from the BCCI. You are supporting two officials, a third umpire & a match referee who were clearly incompetent & seem to have abandoned all sense of fair-play. If this were to happen in any sport in the USA these umpires would have been hard-pressed to find another job. Shame you guys for sticking to the same old ways of sticking by the bad guys. What a joke!

  • Herman De Wael on January 9, 2008, 9:05 GMT

    Can someone please explain to me why "monkey" is a racist slur? If anything, it is an insult to our far away cousins in the animal kingdom. Come to think of it, is it allright to call someone an idiot, a clown, a giraffe? Racism is bad, indeed, but a personal comment can only be racist if the person also means that all people of that race are equally ... If Andrew Symonds had called Harbhajan a Sikh, what is the "racism" in that - it's simply true - or it's not, but it confers no sign of prejudice against people of that religion. I believe there is a bit too much of political correctness here.

  • Sonny Jacobs on January 9, 2008, 9:05 GMT

    Having been an umpire myself for 9 years I feel pressure from players also contributes to umpires mistakes especially in Oz. International ump once told me neutral umps are under just as much pressure in Oz as hair, Taufel etc. retired players (commentators) are quick to critisize but why don't they umpire? Well known ex SA bowler once told me it was a crappy job.

  • SK on January 9, 2008, 9:00 GMT

    Though i agree with you on the 'bad precedent being set up' i think there's still a lot of introspection needed to the 'racism' issue.I think the match refree just got to beileve australians and forgot Sachin's word which i think is undoubtedly best ambassador for circket in the current time. This i think was a bigger racism being shown by the refree himself. I must also add thet the onfield umpires B&B (Bucknor & Benson)are being very honest to say that they didn't hear what harbhajan said, in fact they must add that they didn't heard and saw anything properly in the entire match.

  • Arjun on January 9, 2008, 8:58 GMT

    Kamran, people like you are exactly why the sub-continent was colonized for 200 years. Tell me, what does it feel like to be Ponting's house pet? Also let me just say this: edging to first slip and then not walking is absurd. To then claim the moral high ground as these cheating scum bags are trying to do simply exacerbates that. And, I suggest you look at some of the pictures of the catch that Ponting claimed he had caught cleanly off Dhoni to see that the Australians have relinquished all right to be treated as members of the human race. "Monkey" would be a compliment for this lot.

  • Sanjay Sarkar on January 9, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    It's amazing that people like Suresh Memon, and now you, Mr. Abbassi, fail to address the most fundamental issue - when will the so called neutral umpires stop making prejudiced decisions against subcontinental teams?

    Why did Mike Proctor ban the Bangladeshi player for claiming a grounded catch, but blithely ignore Ponting claiming a grounded catch? Why did Proctor call in Yuvraj for standing his ground, but ignore Clarke doing the same? Why did Proctor ignore "a person is innocent until proven guilty" and ban Harbhajan based on the Aussie statements? Why did Benson ask Ponting if the catch had been taken while there was a square leg umpire around whose job is to make decisions on such things? Why is it that year after year, close decisions (line-balls, as Woolmer called them) go in favor of Australia and against the subcontinental teams?

    Rather than whining about India's attitude and BCCI's power, how about making sure that everyone gets treated equally first?

  • Chris B on January 9, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    As an Australian there is a lot about this article I can agree with but the simple fact is Steve Bucknors umpiring was and has been terrible for some time. I can't see how the ICC could've done anything else in the situation. How could any player taking the field in Perth (Australian or Indian) have confidence in his decisions.

  • Mahek on January 9, 2008, 8:49 GMT

    So it's okay for the Indian team to accept a guilty verdict on one of their own,on the basis of the statements from opposition players.The match referee has the cheek to say "Only one side was telling the truth".

    If India wanted full control of International Cricket it wouldn't have to threaten to do it. The Indian Team is only asking for a fair hearing, and it didn't get one in Procter's office.

  • Rishi on January 9, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    If I were Harbhajan Singh, I would not have said a monkey or something, that just doesnt seem to make sense..I would have probably used words starting with "Teri Maa ki.." and chances are, symonds could have heard MONKEY. Jokes aside, either ways, sledging can only make things worse both ways. Should be banned.

  • Afzaal Khan on January 9, 2008, 8:28 GMT

    Agree with the Peter, in the end don't matter how much Indian howled fact remain their batting line crumbled. It has now been revealed by Kumble that he has offered and apology to Ponting for any offense caused by the remarks. So the position is we called him monkey but it wasn't racially motivated? Gimme a break. All subcontinent people should condemn racism or stop crying abt racism. Double standard thy name is subcontinent.

  • Rey of Australia on January 9, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    You are entitled to your opinion just as the Indian and Australian fans are. However as you are a journalist and are paid to write pieces (I presume)you have a responsibility to at least back up your assertions with some evidence or evidentiary logic. You fail to do so. On what basis do you consider sledging to be different from racist remarks? In the cricket context a racist remark is merely one kind of sledging..that is ..a remark designed to unsettle distract etc someone. Tell me why a racist remark is any different to bespoiling someone's family lineage or besmirching someone's parents or female relatives? On the Bucknor point I would welcome a much more considerate let down than what has occured but Bucknor also had a responsibility to recognise (like every fading sporting star) when he could no longer make the grade. Asking Bucknor to umpire in Perth would have been the unkindest cut of all. As for Asian v "Western' dominance pshaw!

  • Paul G on January 9, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    Good article Kamram. The BCCI might be a cashed up monster with considerable clout right now but see how much TV will pay for broadcast rights if the only series are played against a declining Sri Lanka, an erratic Pakistan and a dreadful Bangladesh (I suppose the West Indies and Zim would be available). It is possible to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. There would be an impact on other cricket playing countries if an exclusive Asian bloc was formed but cricket is not the religious experience in these countries as it is in the sub continent and have plenty of other sports to fill the respective sporting lexicons.

  • Mahadevanv on January 9, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    Interestingly hefty punishments are given to sub-continent players only when they play white teams. Not in Ind-Pak or Pak-SL series. So do Asian players offend only whites and whites are too good? Is Proctor right when he said one party lied? Six yrs ago we had Denness incident in SA. Has ICC changed? Someone remarked when Latif claimed a grounded catch he was banned for 5 ODIs. What about Ponting now? The punishments must be equitable and ICC must look into these issues. Otherwise it will go into bigger mess.

  • Aspi - Sydney on January 9, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    Kamran, cant you see that Bucknor was sacked for incompetence. Would you keep an employee who is not performing? Bucknor is past his prime & the ICC must select competent umpires to officiate neutral or not. Also having only 9 umpires on the panel is ridiculous. There are many good umpires all over the world. Why is the ICC not having a program to train & develop them? Secondly, the term "monkey" is definitely not racist. Insulting -- yes, racist -- no. Stop being so politically correct.

  • Emad Abro on January 9, 2008, 8:03 GMT

    The entire premise of your article is incorrect. Since when is "Monkey" a racist slur? In India and Pakistan people tease each other daily using the word Monkey "Bandar / Bholo". The Indians worship a monkey god. The whole equating monkey with racism is media sensationalism and an easy way for the Australian's to create an issue out of nothing. You are a part of the "media" and this current article will get more attention simply because you yourself are calling Harbajan a racist if he said "monkey". Symonds simply hasn't been able to handle the sledging he himself frequently dishes out.

  • Amit Jain on January 9, 2008, 7:58 GMT

    Well, everyone forgets the fact that the last "batsmen" are really bowlers and only the "rabid nationalists" would expect them to fend off even a single ball. When Rahul Dravid was given out by mistake (SURE !!!), the slow death umpire was really fast in raising the finger. The Aussies wanted to win at any cost and did so by getting Bucknor on their side. Even if there is sense in what Kamran has said, more investigation has to be done into the umpiring fiascos. Players can be (rather are) punished for their mistakes so why can't the umpires be done the same? In any case, the balance of power does shift from one place to other and may be then some other country will wield power. It's very similar to what the US is doing to the UN - is it not? The Aussies should be happy that they won and get on with the sledging (remember McGrath vs. Sarwan which was in extremely bad taste but nothing happened to McGrath).

  • Mahadevanv on January 9, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    ICC may have overreacted in removing Steve Bucknor. It was more to placate BCCI than because of his mistakes especially after Harbhajan incident. But the real issue is overlooked. For long Ind,Pak and SL players feel they are imposed hefty punishments by referees compared to the white players. What has the ICC done for that? Have Aussie players behaved properly so that no charge is on them? Even you have accepted Harbhajan may not have said the word, "Monkey". Recently in the Indo - Pak series, Pak players had problems neither with the crowd nor with the players. Then why Aus players are complaining? It only says Aussies have problems. Unless ICC considers the greivances of all the parties, it will be forced to make unpleasant decisions due to auxiliary reasons like BCCI clout etc.

  • Ramesh on January 9, 2008, 7:36 GMT

    Hail Kamran the king - you got it just right - the ozies got sledged by the Indian team and crowds in India and this is where the Monkey term was born - Ponting must be feted for pointing out the racism by Baji and not decapitated as done by some washed out pommy writers who leave their counties and live in Australia but want to run down the ozies at every turn - The ozies are not saints but now a days most teams sledge and play the game hard like the ozies do - Walking away from a tour and having officials sacked is pure bullying and like you say guided by filty lucre. Enter Bollyline is absolutely correct too.

  • Vinod on January 9, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    Well, i think u guys have got it all wrong. Umpires do make mistakes, even bowlers and batsmen make mistakes by bowling bad deliveries and playing false stokes.The issue is regarding the number of decisions that went against the Indians. The total was a big 9. 1 bad decision went against Aussies and 9 against Indians. Ponting was given not out when on 3 in the 1st innings when he had clearly edged and was out, but no one said anything bcaz everyone knew that it happens(He went on to make a half century). Then the same Ponting was given out in the 1st innings when he just crossed his 50 whereas he was not out, again no one said bcaz everyone knew that it happens, lets carry on. But then it went on piling. Andrew Symonds was given not out twice and one of his stumping wasn't referred to third umpire when he was out(He went on to make 160+, the defining moment of the match). And finally by the end of the match a total of TEN DECISIONS were wrong. 1 for Aussie and 9 for the Indians.

  • RS on January 9, 2008, 7:19 GMT

    This is a balanced post. Disregarding the gratituous applause of some Aussies, it highlights major issues of governance in ICC :

    -how does ICC ensure that teams have a right to appeal umpire's decisions, specially when due process,eg referring to 3rd/square leg umpire, is not followed. ICC must have a defined policy of being able to drop an umpire, AT ITS OWN JUDGEMENT, on the basis of abysmal performance, one common point at the SCG that everyone agrees on

    -in matters as contentious as racism, the ICC must rethink its process so that folks are convinced on the skills of a match referee to adjudicate a quasi-legal issue that goes beyond cricketing ability or competence.

    -in issues where it is one group's word against another, with no clear evidence, the ICC should require the match referree to elucidate why such a judgement was arrived at instead of a blanket statement that one side was lying

    Trasparent communication would help in reducing the sense of blatant injustice

  • Parasuram on January 9, 2008, 6:47 GMT

    Your comments are appropriate only in a Utopian world. The replacement of Bucknor is not a question of dominance of one Board over another. Indeed it is only human to err. However wat really annoys the passionate fan is the farcical way in which the errors were generously sprinkled throughout the Test match and surprisingly in favor of only team. If you are talking about professionalism from Indians in taking the decisions in their stride, then going by the same professionalism Bucknor should also realise its high time bid adieu to the job. At this age, he would have retired from a govt job in India but for some inexplicable reason he is a part of the ICC elite panel. Only medieval dynasties and politicians stick to their jobs long after their time has goneby. It would be nothing but unfortunate to view this ongoing debate as a Subcontinent vs Rest of World slug fest. The feeling of injustice would have been same among the Caribbeans or the Black Caps if either of them would have got those atrocious decisions. The point is not whether crying foul over umpiring decisions is right or wrong. Neither is it abt whether subcontinent teams are eternal crybabies. The moot point is to recognise that people watch cricket because batters bat, bowlers bowl, fielders take spectacular catches not because some guy in white coat creates mayhem by getting things all wrong... consistently. And of course with all the talk about technology, it has to be said that even technology suffers in the hands of incompetent people and I say no more. Period. However to take away the right of appealing from the victims will be the ultimate fallacy of a judicial system. In the interest of cricket I hope that cricket is the only thing that gathers the headlines. I am looking forward to lot of cricket but somewhere down the line the SCG fiasci will always leave a bad taste and few heartburns for a cricket lover. Subcontinental or not !!!!!!

  • Peter on January 9, 2008, 6:36 GMT

    Thank God someone from the subcontinent is making sense. Good points made in tandem with Suresh Menon's article. This whole notion of "pride" between India and Pakistan is ridiculous. If they truly had any pride, then the last three batsmen would have steeled themselves against collapsing in the span of 5 balls when all they had to do was block out 2 overs. A team with true pride would not have crumbled so meekly in their moment of truth.

  • MJ on January 9, 2008, 6:16 GMT

    Kamran, I agree with you about the essentially nominal edifice that the ICC has become. I was certain, even as night brought blessed closure to that eventful final day of the 2nd test, that BCCI's demand to oust Bucknor would be supinely acceded to by the ICC. Bucknor the umpire has been on a steady decline for the past few years, and, while retirement was overdue, he deserved something better than the impersonal boot. Still, as an umpire, you _have_ to recognize signs of declining skills: Jumbotrons are implacably unforgiving, letting an umpire see the error of his ways even before he has finished congratulating himself on having made great call, under tough circs. People who weild the power to--even if unwittingly--wreck careers should have the humility to comprehend the enormity of their responsibility. The ICC should have given SB a ceremonial sendoff, replete with cuckoo clock, 4 years ago. All this unpleasantness might have been avoided if they had. I really enjoy your posts.

  • Afzaal Khan on January 9, 2008, 6:14 GMT

    AOA, Mr. Abbassi I rarely agree with you on almost all issues. But on this one I have to agree with you completly. It is an Indian triupmh but its has set up a bad precedent for the cricket. Dominated with concern of money more then the love of game, I am afraid the years to come will not be happy one. ' Here rest cricket.RIP

  • shashank on January 9, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    Very important point and very well said. Bucknor should not have been removed under indian pressure. Now all umpires will be under pressure when they officiate and this cannot b a good thing for the game. Our team and board should have shown more maturity and not fallen prey to absurd public opinions. "It is just a game" and this is something that our fans and media need to be reminded of. On the racist comment charge I can understand the team standing by one of their own but it is not a national tragedy. They have appealed against it and now they should wait for the appropriate processes to take place. Indian team should continue the tour. The australian people deserve to see the cricket they were promised. It is not their fault that umpires made errors or that playrs exchanged pleasentries. Infact crowd behaviour has been exemplary and we can learn something from the aussies in this regard. Hoping to see some good cricket....

  • Nuruddin Lakhani on January 9, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    You are absolutely right . . . What happened in India when Australia visited there was completely unacceptable crowd behavior and now if the allegations are true then Harbhajan must accept the outcome and try to avert such onfield comments in future. Few weeks ago, I was talking with my 12 year-old son about the ambassadors and I said that cricketers are also ambassadors - they represent their whole nation and bring the notion of peace, friendship and sportsmanship. I dont see that here at all in this series.

    Umpiring issue is sad - as much as we agree that the standards were poor and that might have cost India the game, Steve Bucknor should not have been removed. Although, I do believe that ICC must have evaluation system for umpires and must opt for younger Umpires with well tested eye sight and hearing abilities. Maybe Geoff 'Henry' Lawson can assist ICC in the role of consultant Optometrist to check the eye sights of the ICC umpires.

  • qasem on January 9, 2008, 5:05 GMT

    Too many incidents have confused the whole issue. Aussies being arrogant and un-sportsman-like is nothing new. Their sledging is nothing new. Their intimidating ways in appealing is not new and umpires making mistakes is not new either. Whats all the fuss about?

  • Pete on January 9, 2008, 4:35 GMT

    Brilliant post, Kamran. Just read Suresh Menon's feature on Cricinfo, and now this, and am glad some sanity and foresight is beginning to emerge in the coverage of this crisis, and you make an important point that needs to be heeded.

    It would be nice if the Australian journalists and the majority of the Indian coverage could match your and Menon's standards.

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  • Pete on January 9, 2008, 4:35 GMT

    Brilliant post, Kamran. Just read Suresh Menon's feature on Cricinfo, and now this, and am glad some sanity and foresight is beginning to emerge in the coverage of this crisis, and you make an important point that needs to be heeded.

    It would be nice if the Australian journalists and the majority of the Indian coverage could match your and Menon's standards.

  • qasem on January 9, 2008, 5:05 GMT

    Too many incidents have confused the whole issue. Aussies being arrogant and un-sportsman-like is nothing new. Their sledging is nothing new. Their intimidating ways in appealing is not new and umpires making mistakes is not new either. Whats all the fuss about?

  • Nuruddin Lakhani on January 9, 2008, 5:08 GMT

    You are absolutely right . . . What happened in India when Australia visited there was completely unacceptable crowd behavior and now if the allegations are true then Harbhajan must accept the outcome and try to avert such onfield comments in future. Few weeks ago, I was talking with my 12 year-old son about the ambassadors and I said that cricketers are also ambassadors - they represent their whole nation and bring the notion of peace, friendship and sportsmanship. I dont see that here at all in this series.

    Umpiring issue is sad - as much as we agree that the standards were poor and that might have cost India the game, Steve Bucknor should not have been removed. Although, I do believe that ICC must have evaluation system for umpires and must opt for younger Umpires with well tested eye sight and hearing abilities. Maybe Geoff 'Henry' Lawson can assist ICC in the role of consultant Optometrist to check the eye sights of the ICC umpires.

  • shashank on January 9, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    Very important point and very well said. Bucknor should not have been removed under indian pressure. Now all umpires will be under pressure when they officiate and this cannot b a good thing for the game. Our team and board should have shown more maturity and not fallen prey to absurd public opinions. "It is just a game" and this is something that our fans and media need to be reminded of. On the racist comment charge I can understand the team standing by one of their own but it is not a national tragedy. They have appealed against it and now they should wait for the appropriate processes to take place. Indian team should continue the tour. The australian people deserve to see the cricket they were promised. It is not their fault that umpires made errors or that playrs exchanged pleasentries. Infact crowd behaviour has been exemplary and we can learn something from the aussies in this regard. Hoping to see some good cricket....

  • Afzaal Khan on January 9, 2008, 6:14 GMT

    AOA, Mr. Abbassi I rarely agree with you on almost all issues. But on this one I have to agree with you completly. It is an Indian triupmh but its has set up a bad precedent for the cricket. Dominated with concern of money more then the love of game, I am afraid the years to come will not be happy one. ' Here rest cricket.RIP

  • MJ on January 9, 2008, 6:16 GMT

    Kamran, I agree with you about the essentially nominal edifice that the ICC has become. I was certain, even as night brought blessed closure to that eventful final day of the 2nd test, that BCCI's demand to oust Bucknor would be supinely acceded to by the ICC. Bucknor the umpire has been on a steady decline for the past few years, and, while retirement was overdue, he deserved something better than the impersonal boot. Still, as an umpire, you _have_ to recognize signs of declining skills: Jumbotrons are implacably unforgiving, letting an umpire see the error of his ways even before he has finished congratulating himself on having made great call, under tough circs. People who weild the power to--even if unwittingly--wreck careers should have the humility to comprehend the enormity of their responsibility. The ICC should have given SB a ceremonial sendoff, replete with cuckoo clock, 4 years ago. All this unpleasantness might have been avoided if they had. I really enjoy your posts.

  • Peter on January 9, 2008, 6:36 GMT

    Thank God someone from the subcontinent is making sense. Good points made in tandem with Suresh Menon's article. This whole notion of "pride" between India and Pakistan is ridiculous. If they truly had any pride, then the last three batsmen would have steeled themselves against collapsing in the span of 5 balls when all they had to do was block out 2 overs. A team with true pride would not have crumbled so meekly in their moment of truth.

  • Parasuram on January 9, 2008, 6:47 GMT

    Your comments are appropriate only in a Utopian world. The replacement of Bucknor is not a question of dominance of one Board over another. Indeed it is only human to err. However wat really annoys the passionate fan is the farcical way in which the errors were generously sprinkled throughout the Test match and surprisingly in favor of only team. If you are talking about professionalism from Indians in taking the decisions in their stride, then going by the same professionalism Bucknor should also realise its high time bid adieu to the job. At this age, he would have retired from a govt job in India but for some inexplicable reason he is a part of the ICC elite panel. Only medieval dynasties and politicians stick to their jobs long after their time has goneby. It would be nothing but unfortunate to view this ongoing debate as a Subcontinent vs Rest of World slug fest. The feeling of injustice would have been same among the Caribbeans or the Black Caps if either of them would have got those atrocious decisions. The point is not whether crying foul over umpiring decisions is right or wrong. Neither is it abt whether subcontinent teams are eternal crybabies. The moot point is to recognise that people watch cricket because batters bat, bowlers bowl, fielders take spectacular catches not because some guy in white coat creates mayhem by getting things all wrong... consistently. And of course with all the talk about technology, it has to be said that even technology suffers in the hands of incompetent people and I say no more. Period. However to take away the right of appealing from the victims will be the ultimate fallacy of a judicial system. In the interest of cricket I hope that cricket is the only thing that gathers the headlines. I am looking forward to lot of cricket but somewhere down the line the SCG fiasci will always leave a bad taste and few heartburns for a cricket lover. Subcontinental or not !!!!!!

  • RS on January 9, 2008, 7:19 GMT

    This is a balanced post. Disregarding the gratituous applause of some Aussies, it highlights major issues of governance in ICC :

    -how does ICC ensure that teams have a right to appeal umpire's decisions, specially when due process,eg referring to 3rd/square leg umpire, is not followed. ICC must have a defined policy of being able to drop an umpire, AT ITS OWN JUDGEMENT, on the basis of abysmal performance, one common point at the SCG that everyone agrees on

    -in matters as contentious as racism, the ICC must rethink its process so that folks are convinced on the skills of a match referee to adjudicate a quasi-legal issue that goes beyond cricketing ability or competence.

    -in issues where it is one group's word against another, with no clear evidence, the ICC should require the match referree to elucidate why such a judgement was arrived at instead of a blanket statement that one side was lying

    Trasparent communication would help in reducing the sense of blatant injustice

  • Vinod on January 9, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    Well, i think u guys have got it all wrong. Umpires do make mistakes, even bowlers and batsmen make mistakes by bowling bad deliveries and playing false stokes.The issue is regarding the number of decisions that went against the Indians. The total was a big 9. 1 bad decision went against Aussies and 9 against Indians. Ponting was given not out when on 3 in the 1st innings when he had clearly edged and was out, but no one said anything bcaz everyone knew that it happens(He went on to make a half century). Then the same Ponting was given out in the 1st innings when he just crossed his 50 whereas he was not out, again no one said bcaz everyone knew that it happens, lets carry on. But then it went on piling. Andrew Symonds was given not out twice and one of his stumping wasn't referred to third umpire when he was out(He went on to make 160+, the defining moment of the match). And finally by the end of the match a total of TEN DECISIONS were wrong. 1 for Aussie and 9 for the Indians.