January 31, 2008

Shock and Awe

In the second Test at Sydney, the two grand narratives of 21st century cricket, India's growing economic clout and Australia's cricketing hegemony, met like unsheathed live wires
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The two greatest Test series India has played in recent times have been against Australia: 2001 at home and 2008, Down Under. There's a curious symmetry to these two contests: India won the first one, 2-1 and lost the second one 1-2. Harbhajan was the pivot on which both turned: as a hero in the first (he took an astonishing 32 wickets in three Tests) and as a villain in the second, after his run-in with Symonds. If the 2001 series saw the beginning of Tendulkar's transformation into an attritional player, the one just ended saw that master-craftsman persona discarded as Tendulkar went back to being the Master. And in both series India stopped a great Australian team's astonishing winning run: Waugh's team and Ponting's, were looking for a seventeenth consecutive victory and both were thwarted by unlikely defeats.

In the seven years between these two 21st century contests, international cricket was dominated by two developing narratives.

One was driven by the strength of the Indian economy, the purchasing power of its consuming middle class and the consequent and massive increase in the television revenues controlled by the BCCI. The Indian board became the paymaster of world cricket and cricket's calendar became India-centric. This made other countries understandably uneasy and when incidents like the Sehwag controversy in South Africa provoked the BCCI to flex its muscles, Anglo-Australian commentators saw not an evolutionary shift in cricket's centre of gravity, but a thuggish take over, while south Asian fans and journalists saw a western unwillingness to acknowledge the end of empire.

The second story was a growing South Asian unease with the successful Australian attempt to claim the moral high ground in world cricket. Australians don't like it but the country's cricketers are widely seen as potty-mouthed bullies who manage to get away with murder partly because they sledge strategically and partly because the Australian definition of 'hard but fair'—filth on the field and a beer off it—seemed to have been swallowed whole by the umpires and match referees who supervise international cricket. Every time Ponting tells television cameras that after 2003 the Australian team cleaned up its act and then cites figures to show that Australian players have been brought before the match referee much less often than any other major Test side, aggrieved Indian supporters put this down to Australian hegemony. They remain convinced that umpires are willing to sanction shrill petulance (jack-in-box appeals, visible disappointment) but not manly truculence (obscenity, lewdness and intimidation) because the first is directed at umpires while the second stays between players. This sense of being hard done by is reinforced by the pattern of bad decisions suffered by touring teams in Australia, Kumar Sangakkara's appalling decision being perhaps the worst in recent times.

Australian cricket is hegemonic for the best possible reasons. Australia has had the best cricket team by miles for more than ten years, its coaches have, at one time or another, have tried to drill Australian skills into other national squads, its sports science and its training methods are cutting edge and Channel 9's cricket telecast has taught the world how to cover cricket. But because its players fetishize a hardnosed take on the game, they, unlike the West Indies in their pomp, are universally unloved and in recent years the Ugly Australian stereotype has been rendered uglier by Ponting's charmless leadership.

Indians don't think much of Ponting for several reasons. His first tour was dogged by rumours of bad behaviour, his second tour was an embarrassment (he scored less than a dozen runs in three Test matches), his onfield aggression struck Indians as offensive, his unlovely habit of spitting into his palms and rubbing them together left desis wondering how he got people to shake hands with him and not only did he look remarkably like George Bush, he behaved like him too.

Bush invaded Iraq and then managed to get the invasion ratified by the United Nations after the fact. Anglo-American rhetoric about the legitimacy of pre-emptive war is similar to Australian cricket's argument that bullying (so long as it wins matches) can be justified as robustness. 'Hard and Fair' in the world defined by Bush, begins to read like 'Shock and Awe'.

It is in this charged context that the just concluded Test series between India and Australia unfolded, and in the second Test at Sydney, the two grand narratives of 21st century cricket, India's growing economic clout and Australia's cricketing hegemony, met like unsheathed live wires. It didn't help that the tension between the two teams had been personified. Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh took it upon themselves in the recent one-day series between the two countries to answer sledging with fevered aggression. Harbhajan went on record to say that Australian behaviour was 'vulgar' and that they were bad losers. We are now told that he had a run-in with Symonds in Baroda, so when Sreesanth didn't make the squad to Australia, he was, for the Australian team, the Ugly Indian.

From the Indian point of view, the Sydney Test was a textbook illustration of the way in which an Australian series is loaded against the opposition. The Indian team got a slew of awful umpiring decisions, the Australians did their tiresome all-in-the-game-mate routine, Clarke exploited a gentleman's agreement to claim a dodgy catch, Ponting disclaimed a catch and then unsuccessfully appealed for another that he had obviously grounded (and, post-match, barked at an Indian reporter who questioned him about it), then reported Harbhajan for racially abusing Symonds.

When Mike Procter upheld the Australian charge and banned Harbhajan for three matches he brought the two live wires into contact and the lights nearly went out on the game. Indian players have been on the receiving end of the match referee's kangaroo court before and know it to be dysfunctional. Procter is a notably inept match referee who presided over the shambles created by Darrell Hair and the Pakistan cricket team last year. For him to have taken the word of the likes of Michael Clarke, who as a batsman had stood his ground after being caught off a massive edge at slip and who as a fielder had confidently claimed a bump ball catch, over the testimony of Tendulkar who insisted he hadn't heard 'monkey' being said, was the final straw. The most satisfying part of Hansen's judgment is his characterisation of the slippery Clarke as an unreliable witness.

I think it's likely that Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey, but judgment can't be based on what I or anyone else thinks: it rests on what can be proven. There was no corroborative evidence in the Harbhajan affair and the hostilities of the Sydney Test had destroyed any trust between the two sides, leaving the Indian team in a state of thin-skinned rage at being robbed. Procter managed to compound this mess by unequivocally finding for the Australians without explaining how he had come to his conclusions.

This is when India flexed its muscle, but the 'India' in question wasn't the BCCI, it was the Indian team. Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar, the two most senior players in the Indian side, one its best bowler and the other its best batsman for nearly twenty years, put the BCCI on notice. They insisted that the Board stand by Harbhajan and made it clear that the team was unwilling to go on with the tour if Procter's decision wasn't reversed.

Journalists who think the BCCI used the occasion to assert itself are just plain wrong. The Indian board has no interest in cricket as such: witness the absurd schedule it framed for the Indian team. Left to itself, the Board would have hung Harbhajan up to dry (as it had sacrificed Bishan Bedi over the 'Vaseline' affair decades ago) and gone on with the tour: it was Tendulkar's ultimatum that goosed them into action. Press criticism of the BCCI's brinkmanship in chartering a plane to fly the team home from Adelaide if the appeal went against Harbhajan, could just as well be directed at the Indian team, because I'm certain that the old firm, Kumble & Tendulkar, had something to do with the arriving one-day specialists being quartered in Adelaide in solidarity with Harbhajan.

I suspect the reason for this last flourish was the report that Judge Hansen was likely to consider new audio evidence that had not been made available to Procter. The tapes didn't have Harbhajan saying 'monkey' but they had Hayden telling Harbhajan that a word he had used amounted to racism. My guess is that the possibility that the Australians would spin this as clinching evidence, drove Kumble and Tendulkar to circle the wagons in Adelaide. And here's the thing: it worked. The Australians agreed to press the lesser charge. Having set up this eyeballing contest, they blinked.

Is this the end of the rule of law as we know it and the onset of anarchy? No. On the evidence of the third and fourth Tests, it feels more like the dawn of a new age of civility on the ground and a possible end to sledging. There was a time in Test cricket (a very long time) when Australia and England were more equal than the rest and the game survived that asymmetry. It'll survive this one.

A shorter version of this post appeared earlier in the Telegraph, which can be read here

Mukul Kesavan is a writer based in New Delhi

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Anoop on March 8, 2008, 9:17 GMT

    Mark Taylor said it was one of best summers of cricket he has seen in a long time. Others have been claiming that Australia V India is the new Australia V England, which isn’t saying much given those weren’t ever in the vicinity of being contests barring 2005. The long-drawn Commonwealth Bank Series is over and apparently India have had their best overseas tours in history. A 1-2 loss in the test series and winning the ODI series (which is how the marketers would prefer it anyway). Creditable results, those of a dramatic bent of mind can even see signs of an inflection point in the dynamic of the cricket world that is no longer dominated by default by Australia. For me however, the cynical yet idealistic observer, things don’t seem quite right...

    More on my blog: http://outsideedge.wordpress.com

  • Kunal on March 2, 2008, 10:06 GMT

    Nick, we all know Brett Lee also did throw in his initial days. He only didnt get the stick bcos it was the ICC (should be say A-ICC) headed by two Australian Gentlement. Seems Australians show like to shower such hospitality at throwing eggs at visitors

  • Kunal on March 2, 2008, 10:05 GMT

    All those who are debating about the Harbhajan racist charges. Let ICC and Australians decide what the Australian team should decided what they like to hear and what not. Any other remarks should be considered Racist. Symonds, Hayden, Ponting are Noble gentlemently players, so their mouths can only speak pearls of wisdom. No country should dare to beat Australia (leave England) because these are the only 2 countries playing cricket fairly. Rest of all the countries should only be content playing Australia and England.

  • Kunal on March 2, 2008, 9:51 GMT

    All those who are debating about the Harbhajan racist charges. Let ICC and Australians decide what the Australian team should decided what they like to hear and what not. Any other remarks should be considered Racist. Symonds, Hayden, Ponting are Noble gentlemently players, so their mouths can only speak pearls of wisdom. No country should dare to beat Australia (leave England) because these are the only 2 countries playing cricket fairly. Rest of all the countries should only be content playing Australia and England.

  • Kunal on March 2, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    Nick, we all know Brett Lee also did throw in his initial days. He only didnt get the stick bcos it was the ICC (should be say A-ICC) headed by two Australian Gentlement. Seems Australians show like to shower such hospitality at throwing eggs at visitors

  • Philip John Joseph on February 17, 2008, 2:36 GMT

    Sergio you are WRONG. The use of the word monkey is not the same in all languages. If a white man refers to the theory of evolution by using the word "monkey", then forcing that definition upon a brown man makes YOU a racist. Your idea that Symonds should decide how the word monkey was used makes YOU a racist, because you are trying to decide how people of a different skin colour use language. Indians don't care about the theory of evolution or the idea of the subhuman human being, so your racist idea that Indians must accept Andy Symonds' definition of the word "monkey" as a racist term is just utter rubbish. No white man will ever be allowed to define what words are racist for a brown man, so fie upon you for typing such nonsense about Symonds deciding what the meaning of the word "monkey" should be. Symonds is an uneducated thug who probably doesn't even know which member of the animal kingdom "monkey" refers to. Your theory of how racist words shall be defined is racist garbage.

  • Amit again on February 9, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    Whatever could not be done in more than a decade was accomplished by a SARDAR called Harbhajan Singh. It takes men of true martial tradition (to which Bhajji and Dhoni belong) to tame the pack of wild dogs.

  • Amit on February 9, 2008, 7:41 GMT

    The Aussie way is to bend the law, if not break it. They have no sense of justice. Look at the turnout of Aussies in the court of Justice Hansen. Sport is something to be toyed around and celebration means pouring beer on cricket pitch after winning the world cup. If this is cricket, then monkeys are superior to humans.

  • David on February 9, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    Nick,

    You said, "PS - I was expecting to wake up on Saturday to read how the umpiring cost India the game and they'd flown out of Melbourne back to Bombay on their broomsticks."

    So, did you see any of that in the Indian media? Well, our media is probably not as jingostic as the Aussie media. All Aussie commenters on this are judicious enough to notice Indian media being biased. But how could they miss their own media's biased tripe? I guess it's the case of you ignoring the beam in your eye and noticing the speck in mine.

    As regards the T20 champs being beaten -- one loss means as much as Australia losing a couple of one dayers in the very next series they played after the world cup. So calm down, take a chill pill. We're still the T20 world champs.

    And enough of that 'Murali's a chucker' already. So you're saying if Brett Lee was in his position, he'd be 'bowling' a yorker at the speeding car with a stone? To heck with your irony.

  • Chuckermansinghe on February 8, 2008, 11:17 GMT

    Calling Symonds a " big monkey" as Harbajan is alleged to have said is really an insult to a an intelligent animal. Harbajan should have in fact called him a "big donkey",as Symonds is nothing but a "big ass". My apologies to the donkey, and not to Symonds. You and your band of thieves have got away with murder. Your time has come. Face the music.

  • Anoop on March 8, 2008, 9:17 GMT

    Mark Taylor said it was one of best summers of cricket he has seen in a long time. Others have been claiming that Australia V India is the new Australia V England, which isn’t saying much given those weren’t ever in the vicinity of being contests barring 2005. The long-drawn Commonwealth Bank Series is over and apparently India have had their best overseas tours in history. A 1-2 loss in the test series and winning the ODI series (which is how the marketers would prefer it anyway). Creditable results, those of a dramatic bent of mind can even see signs of an inflection point in the dynamic of the cricket world that is no longer dominated by default by Australia. For me however, the cynical yet idealistic observer, things don’t seem quite right...

    More on my blog: http://outsideedge.wordpress.com

  • Kunal on March 2, 2008, 10:06 GMT

    Nick, we all know Brett Lee also did throw in his initial days. He only didnt get the stick bcos it was the ICC (should be say A-ICC) headed by two Australian Gentlement. Seems Australians show like to shower such hospitality at throwing eggs at visitors

  • Kunal on March 2, 2008, 10:05 GMT

    All those who are debating about the Harbhajan racist charges. Let ICC and Australians decide what the Australian team should decided what they like to hear and what not. Any other remarks should be considered Racist. Symonds, Hayden, Ponting are Noble gentlemently players, so their mouths can only speak pearls of wisdom. No country should dare to beat Australia (leave England) because these are the only 2 countries playing cricket fairly. Rest of all the countries should only be content playing Australia and England.

  • Kunal on March 2, 2008, 9:51 GMT

    All those who are debating about the Harbhajan racist charges. Let ICC and Australians decide what the Australian team should decided what they like to hear and what not. Any other remarks should be considered Racist. Symonds, Hayden, Ponting are Noble gentlemently players, so their mouths can only speak pearls of wisdom. No country should dare to beat Australia (leave England) because these are the only 2 countries playing cricket fairly. Rest of all the countries should only be content playing Australia and England.

  • Kunal on March 2, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    Nick, we all know Brett Lee also did throw in his initial days. He only didnt get the stick bcos it was the ICC (should be say A-ICC) headed by two Australian Gentlement. Seems Australians show like to shower such hospitality at throwing eggs at visitors

  • Philip John Joseph on February 17, 2008, 2:36 GMT

    Sergio you are WRONG. The use of the word monkey is not the same in all languages. If a white man refers to the theory of evolution by using the word "monkey", then forcing that definition upon a brown man makes YOU a racist. Your idea that Symonds should decide how the word monkey was used makes YOU a racist, because you are trying to decide how people of a different skin colour use language. Indians don't care about the theory of evolution or the idea of the subhuman human being, so your racist idea that Indians must accept Andy Symonds' definition of the word "monkey" as a racist term is just utter rubbish. No white man will ever be allowed to define what words are racist for a brown man, so fie upon you for typing such nonsense about Symonds deciding what the meaning of the word "monkey" should be. Symonds is an uneducated thug who probably doesn't even know which member of the animal kingdom "monkey" refers to. Your theory of how racist words shall be defined is racist garbage.

  • Amit again on February 9, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    Whatever could not be done in more than a decade was accomplished by a SARDAR called Harbhajan Singh. It takes men of true martial tradition (to which Bhajji and Dhoni belong) to tame the pack of wild dogs.

  • Amit on February 9, 2008, 7:41 GMT

    The Aussie way is to bend the law, if not break it. They have no sense of justice. Look at the turnout of Aussies in the court of Justice Hansen. Sport is something to be toyed around and celebration means pouring beer on cricket pitch after winning the world cup. If this is cricket, then monkeys are superior to humans.

  • David on February 9, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    Nick,

    You said, "PS - I was expecting to wake up on Saturday to read how the umpiring cost India the game and they'd flown out of Melbourne back to Bombay on their broomsticks."

    So, did you see any of that in the Indian media? Well, our media is probably not as jingostic as the Aussie media. All Aussie commenters on this are judicious enough to notice Indian media being biased. But how could they miss their own media's biased tripe? I guess it's the case of you ignoring the beam in your eye and noticing the speck in mine.

    As regards the T20 champs being beaten -- one loss means as much as Australia losing a couple of one dayers in the very next series they played after the world cup. So calm down, take a chill pill. We're still the T20 world champs.

    And enough of that 'Murali's a chucker' already. So you're saying if Brett Lee was in his position, he'd be 'bowling' a yorker at the speeding car with a stone? To heck with your irony.

  • Chuckermansinghe on February 8, 2008, 11:17 GMT

    Calling Symonds a " big monkey" as Harbajan is alleged to have said is really an insult to a an intelligent animal. Harbajan should have in fact called him a "big donkey",as Symonds is nothing but a "big ass". My apologies to the donkey, and not to Symonds. You and your band of thieves have got away with murder. Your time has come. Face the music.

  • Prashant on February 8, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    LOL NICK!!!!

  • Kunal on February 8, 2008, 5:26 GMT

    Wow! 1000+ comments! Is this some kind of a record on cricinfo? And going by the war of words between Indians and aussies, and also a bit of masala from pakistanis and Lankans it looks like this discussion will go on for a long while...

  • Big AL on February 7, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    Dearest Travis,

    I am very willing to discuss all of the above mentioned issues, as they occured in MY lifetime. Those issues you mentioned are not "living in the past" However when you want to bring up something Sunil Gavaskar said in the 1970's, before I was created, then I will say, YOU ARE LIVING IN THE PAST.

    By the way do you know what Glenn was saying to Sarwan before Sarwan spoke up? Classic example of the Aussies not being able to handle their own medicine.

  • Big AL on February 7, 2008, 12:49 GMT

    Dearest Travis,

    I am very willing to discuss all of the above mentioned issues, as they occured in MY lifetime. Those issues you mentioned are not "living in the past" However when you want to bring up something Sunil Gavaskar said in the 1970's, before I was created, then I will say, YOU ARE LIVING IN THE PAST.

    By the way do you know what Glenn was saying to Sarwan before Sarwan spoke up? Classic example of the Aussies not being able to handle their own medicine.

  • Madan on February 7, 2008, 10:45 GMT

    Nick: I was wondering if any of you would pick up on the irony of the comments that Murali wished he had a stone in front of him during the egg incident.

    Nobody seems to have picked up on the irony of an Aussie barracking for Lanka either. :P

    Erapalli Prasanna said it best on the Murali issue:

    You don't get 600 wickets just by chucking.

    Well said, although I doubt Australians will see it that way, he stole that record from beloved Shaney, right??

  • Madan on February 7, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    Nick: I was wondering if any of you would pick up on the irony of the comments that Murali wished he had a stone in front of him during the egg incident.

    Nobody seems to have picked up on the irony of an Aussie barracking for Lanka either. :P

    Erapalli Prasanna said it best on the Murali issue:

    You don't get 600 wickets just by chucking.

    Well said, although I doubt Australians will see it that way, he stole that record from beloved Shaney, right??

  • Nick on February 7, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    Thanks Madan.

    I was wondering if any of you would pick up on the irony of the comments that Murali wished he had a stone in front of him during the egg incident.

    If anyone could hit a speeding car with a stone, it'd be Murali. God knows he's had enough practice at throwing.

  • Kamal on February 6, 2008, 20:58 GMT

    poor old bowler, we know why you are poor. Money make a difference - see Bond doesn’t want to play for NZ because he can make more money in ICL. US are a superpower because economically they are. India gets similar bragging rights in the cricketing world. But it is not for misuse, though no one promises there won’t be any. Cricket has been in past run by England-Australia combined working but if they don’t have real power they should have power of calling shots. In past 100 years the way they worked with rest of cricketing world, I am sure India will do better then that. Do you know how much Indian cricket has supported SL, Pak and Bangladesh cricket - no board has done that ever. Just for your information BillyB is ranked better than SteveB (who has given many bad decisions - remember his row with Ganguly 2 years ago). This conversation has digressed from Mukul's article but that article is really great analysis and summerization of facts. Way to go Mukul.

  • Inaz on February 6, 2008, 2:43 GMT

    Sangakkara appeals because he thought the batsman got a nick and says so even if it clearly shows that it did not nick the bat - If Gilly did this all hell would have broken loose - Oh you Hypocrete Indians and Sri Lankans - Different strokes for different folks ?? It would be nice if every second guy of the street is not consulted and quoted by our idiot scribes and the umpiring should be left to those gentleman in the middle - right or wrong it evens out in the end like all good cricketers will tell you.

  • poor old bowler on February 5, 2008, 15:25 GMT

    cricket will be ruined by the time indias finished with it.

    the replacing of steve bucknor with billy bowden has to be the worst thing ive ever seen in sport.

    billy bowden wouldnt know what a lbw was even if it punched him in the face.

    india should be ashemed of itself.

    maybe sachin tendulkar should have been a witness in the oj simpson trial.

    atleast the old powers never let thier countries intrest ruin the game.

    bring back the old powers anyday.

    who cares for power or money in cricket i would rather contest fought in the middle between bat and ball any day.

  • Madan on February 5, 2008, 14:35 GMT

    It seems some Australians here are hellbent on ensuring that the last word on this issue is never said, never mind it's a week now since Hansen adjudged the appeal. You wanna beat us at "whingeing" perhaps, Ozzies...feel free to try, we'll hand you a walkover on this one...the one we didn't give for Perth!!!

    Oh, and Nick, I am barracking for cricket and 100 overs of it on Friday but if Muralitharan is the reason Lanka win that match, I would so love to see the face of the retard who egged Murali. He should thank his stars Murali couldn't find a boulder to put him out of his miserable existence.

  • Amare on February 5, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    Pathan was out when he snicked to Gilchrist - did he walk ? - Sharma remained after he was given out and has been fined for showing desent - so the Indians are acting very nicely - even Sreesanth was trying his best to get antagonize Symonds attention when he bowled at him - I am very glad that Sarnia Mizra has decided not to play in the Bangalore Open - it serves you right -most indians act like innocents and are actually the biggest scoundrels - Mukul I hope you have the appendage (I picked that up on this blog) to publish this.

  • Chuckermansinghe on February 5, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    I read an article by Bryan Cloverdale in which it was said that many Australian women cricket fans were attracted to the Indian cricketers. This attraction stemmed not only from their "good looks" but more so from their gentlemanly behaviour and the way the Indian cricketers conducted themselves. Anil Kumble topped the list, Ishant, Tendulkar,Dravid to name just a few also received worthy mention. Gentlemen and good behaviour is alien to the present mob of Australian cricketers. No wonder then the Aussie ladies are looking off shore for attention. Does one wonder why there is little security with a bunch of thugs and drunks. Enough is enough.The ACB has in the past sided with their team at all cost. Ricky Ponting and his appendage, Michael Clarke are howling against their Board, now that Harbajan has been vindicated. The instigator Symonds in the Harbajan case and Clarke in the Gayle case were let off unpunished. India, cancel endorsements for these Aussies. Bad advertisements!!

  • Rahul on February 5, 2008, 6:27 GMT

    Its interesting to note that the indian fans feel that ponting or symonds cheat when they dont walk after edging the ball, but its alright if Murali karthik does not walk after edging the ball (remember the mumbai ODI and Karthik's admission at the presentation cermony). This shows the hypocrisy of the Indian fans. Also, its high time the Indians understand the difference between sledging and a racial taunt. Bot are different. Atleast Lehmann had the guts to accept his mistake, but Harbhajan singh did not have the guts to accept that he made a racial taunt. And for all Indian fans, who cry that Indians are not racist, all they need to do is switch on their TV sets and see the headline making news about Mumbai. I guess it shows the hypocritical nature of the Indian Society.

  • vigneash on February 4, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    great article mukul well reviewed

  • Chuckermansinghe on February 4, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    The Australian cricket team of more recent years have consolidated their position through intimidation,disgraceful conduct, abusive language and a tirade of racially motivated verbage.There are to many to quote.However, just to illustrate my point, Darren Lehman's verbal assault in calling a Sri Lankan player a black c....Glen McGrath asking Sarawan what it felt like to suck Brian Lara's c..... McGrath was wrought with anger when Sarawan told McGrath to ask that question of his wife. McGrath spat on the West Indian opening batsman Griffith in a test and how often has the world seen the likes of Warne and Ponting questioning umpires after an appeal has been given not out. Symond's recent admission of provocation and the blatant lying by Michael Clarke at the trial.The ACB has supported this behaviour and umpires the likes of Bucknor, Proctor to name a few have taken no action. Bans and fines are reserved for a lot of others. Congratulations India and Harbajan for flexing your muscles

  • Ryan on February 4, 2008, 5:02 GMT

    Eggs thrown at Murali , with some of the RACIST comments from so called Aussie supporters !!!!! I am a cricket lover and love and respect Murali for his bowling..and dignified behaviour.. But aussie players still fear him and cant digest the fact Murali got past Warne easily and in for many more. I am sure many australians wont see any RACISM in this episode but whin on the Harbhajan episode , which many believe was scripted in te dressing room by MATEs hayden-symmods-Mr.Integrity ..... GET WELL SOON AUSTRALIA ......

  • Nick on February 4, 2008, 3:49 GMT

    How funny - the twenty20 "world champions" were disgraced and humiliated on Friday night.

    Good riddence. Perhaps Australia could put an "A" side up for the tri-series next year and save their best XI for real opposition.

    PS - I was expecting to wake up on Saturday to read how the umpiring cost India the game and they'd flown out of Melbourne back to Bombay on their broomsticks.

    I'll be barracking for the Lankans on Tuesday night at the Gabba.

  • home_run_homer on February 4, 2008, 3:10 GMT

    finally, an article worth reading

  • Nabil on February 3, 2008, 10:34 GMT

    i dont know what the fuss is this all about. India still have lost their last two series to the Aussies. This Perth test had lot to do with the umpires being reluctant to give indians out after the Bucknor fiasco in the previous test. Regarding their previous series in India, it was hardly a contest considering that the only test India won was a dead rubber and that too on a Bombay dust bowl. India should try to analyse their performance on the field instead of moving the spotlight to off-field issues and bickering about Ponting's spitting habits.

  • Les on February 3, 2008, 9:27 GMT

    That's right, Sam. If you don't like the umpires, find ones who will give you the decisions you want!! How childish of you all!

    BTW: Gilly walked tonight while Pathan stood his ground, despite clearly being out. Who are the cheats? INDIA is.

  • sam on February 3, 2008, 2:19 GMT

    It is high time that we Indians also react and pressurize the Umpires like the australians did when Symonds sweared at Harbhajan. Some umpires are really biased.Mike Procter the one who was resposible for this fiasco has bungled in the Oval Test between Pakistan and England and also in the West India-Australia match when Ramnaresh Sarwan and Glenn McGrath clashed.

    What is ICC doing here? What is BCCI doing here with a... umpire who is biased? What action are they taking? Why can't they throw him out?

  • Ratan on February 2, 2008, 20:08 GMT

    To all the Australians: Please stop crying foul. As always Australia wanted to bully the other team and are now crying for India finished what Aussies started. You can earn respect only if you learn how to accept when paid back in your own coin. Why are we looking at the reactions.....why not look at the root cause - Symonds. I am sure all the people who have written here would react the same way that Bhajji did if instigated in the same manner. It has been proven beyond an iota of doubt that Symonds did start the whole thing but could not digest when Bhajji paid him back in his own coin. Grow up Aussies. And yes if India did use its financial power to get justice than so be it. There are times when you got to 'twist arms' to get others to listen to you.

  • krishnamurthy on February 2, 2008, 17:54 GMT

    TO ALL OF US INDIANS WHO COMPLAIN ABOUT AUSTRALIA'S SLEDGING -

    IF IT'S SO MUCH OF A PROBLEM, WHY DON'T YOU FOLLOW THE PROCESS AND COMPLAIN TO UMPIRES AND/OR MATCH REFEREES INSTEAD OF WHINGEING CONSTANTLY. IT'S GETTING ON MY NERVES AND I'M INDIAN. I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW THE REST OF THE WORLD MUST FEEL - LEAVE ALONE THE AUSSIES

  • Ankit Garg on February 2, 2008, 16:58 GMT

    My question to all you moaning Aussie supporters out there is simple: Why do you expect us all to believe that the racism sharges levelled against Bhajji by Symonds and party are true? Were you Aussies born with the truth of the gods? Ponting doesnt walk when out, shameless Clark stands his ground even after edging to the first slip, Mark Waugh and Shane Warne go around the world fixing matches but are left untouched by CA, Darren Lehmann calls Sri Lankans black cunts, McGraw enquires Sarwan about the size of Lara's equipment and doesn't like it when gets an answer in return, Tendulkar is given out head and shoulder before wicket and who can forget the ugly way Slater appealed for the bump catch in the Calcullta test of 2001? I simply fail to understand what moral high ground are the Aussies crying about. So if a white man (Proctor) took the words of 4 other white men against a brown man without any material evidence, why should we believe him? Shame on you Aussies..stop pretending now

  • AUSSIES ARE HYPOCRITES on February 2, 2008, 13:36 GMT

    HEY ,YOU AUSSIES! Some of your beloved countrymen just abused and threw some eggs at Murali and co.

    SO,Please SHUT UP with the superficial "we are no racists" CRAP,will you?!

  • Uday on February 2, 2008, 13:14 GMT

    the most increduluous aspect of the whole affair has been the australian team's attempt, nay, their conviction that they, and they alone, can define the "art" and boundaries of sledging. Ponting has been eager to tout it as the "australian way", presenting it not just as how the australian team plays their cricket, but as a national philosophy (perhaps to lend it more credence ?) What he has forgotten is that the rest of the world has not been all that comfortable with this "light banter" that he claims is so heart warmingly australian. But Ponting's argument, stripped of all his jargon, is simply this: "we will play this way and we dont care what you think because this is how we are". His own argument has been taken to its logical conclusion, which is that if the australians need to be outsledged in order to play a match on skills alone, then so be it. Unfortunately for Symonds, his genuine right to be upset sounds like a thief complaining that he has been robbed of what he stole

  • Travis on February 2, 2008, 12:55 GMT

    Al:

    "However lets deal with the real issue in 2008. Let's stick to the topic. I don't know how Sunil came into this discussion. We're discussing issues 2007-2008 here."

    I look forward, Al, to seeing you jump down the throats of Indian posters who describe all Australians as "convict scum".

    I look forward to seeing you describe all references to, for example, the McGrath-Sarwan incident as living in the past.

    I look forward to seeing you discuss the issues of 2007/8. Like Karthik spitting at an opponent. Like Sharma giving Hayden a sendoff. Like all those other ways in which Indian players have acted in exactly the same way that their fans are only too happy too decry as uniquely Aussie examples of poor sportsmanship.

    You go girl.

  • RedNeck Ricky on February 2, 2008, 12:47 GMT

    Priya < agree with you ...

  • Priya on February 2, 2008, 11:42 GMT

    Had HArbhajan called a white Aussie, say Hayden or Clarke, a monkey - would this have been racist? The fact is that Symonds walked in a situation he didn't have too and got told off about it.. I'm sure Harbhajan would have used the same words irrespective of the skin colour of his antagonist.

  • Ramdurai on February 2, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    I think the comparison of Ponting with Bush just shows how immature you are Kesavan, and all your supporters on this blog. And by the way I'm Indian too.

  • John 350 on February 2, 2008, 10:19 GMT

    Ricky Ponting appears to be the fall guy for anything that can be found detrimental by Australia's opponents and simple Australians fall for it. Nowhere in this long blog have I read a summary of his record as Captain. Unlike George W Bush he has the greatest leadership record in all Test and One Day history. Leading Australia in 41 Tests he has won 32, drawn 5 and lost 4. An 83% success rate.Steve Waugh is next on 78%.Sunil Gavaskar, India's best is on 51%.In One Day Cricket he also is the best on record.He is the only man to lead two World Cup Winning sides.The only trophy that Australia hasn't won is the 20 over World Cup--Ponting was missing injured. Like Sellers, Surridge and Close--the greatest English captains he leads from silly point on the bat . The assaults on him remind me of the great furore over Bradman walking with King Geoge VI at Balmoral on the 1948 tour with his hand in his pocket. The tall poppy syndrome is alive and well in Australia and India.

  • simon on February 2, 2008, 10:17 GMT

    So what pathetic excuse do you have for Kartik’s claimed catch since so many Indian accused Australians of cheating in similar circumstances? Kartik then attempted to intimidate the umpire Billy Bowden waving his fingers in Bowden’s face. Then Kartik spat (that is a low act) in the direction of Michael Clarke. What possible excuses does Kartik have? Oh yes....he was merely explaining to the umpire that he was not saying “How’s that?” but “Owwws! That hurt my finger!” and furthermore, spitting in India is considered a friendly gesture. In fact, best friends often cover each other in spittle when meeting.

  • Sergio on February 2, 2008, 8:55 GMT

    To Kaushik Basu, I do not consider Bastard to be a racist term but if as you say it is considered an offensive or racist comment in the Indian culture then once I am made aware of this I should never use the term again to an Indian. If I do I should expect to be punished severly. It should be quite clear to all that after the recent events in India that calling Andrew Symonds a Monkey was considered racist and very offensive to him. Therefore Harbijhan or anyone else should refrain from using the term Monkey to describe Symonds. You can claim ignorance the first time but there is no excuse the second or subsequent time.

    With regards to the Clarke catch I have seen no evidence to confirm one way or the other as to whether it was a clean catch. The captains had an agreement that they would take the fielders word and this happened on this occasion. The Indian team is clutching at straws in this regard.

    Hopefully we can all be friends again very soon and enjoy the on field battles.

  • Ben on February 2, 2008, 8:17 GMT

    ok, guys, i can see the right and wrong. Hmmm, interesting to see that everyone here or any other cricketing blog anywhere else has the Indians and Australians commenting. Lets get a true picture well at least try to anyway, by getting other nationalities commenting on this matter. Other cricketing nationalities. All I see is mostly Indians and Ozzies commenting. I agree with a few, that Australia is on its own, when it comes to sledging and other inappropriate matters in relation to cricket,,,, shame shame. Yes it's true that most of these problems arise when Australia plays. Enough said, don't hink the Aussies will ever change, but will try to.. on the face of it anyway. Our comments are not going to change anything, except share our thoughts and discuss our opinions. A certain website in AUS, has a poll related to these issues and always claim that the people have voted rightly so. hmmm, How many Indians are there compared to aussies and wait for it, poll ?s are biased. ENOUGH!!!

  • RedNeck Ricky on February 2, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    My dear Aussie fans (DAZZA, GAZZA, KAKADU, MORWELL and other such distinguished names),

    If India are indeed are so badly behaved, why is it that they are never called up for their behavior against other sides ... It's only when they play Australia that the issue always crops up!!!

    Please explain. Look forward to hearing from you, all (especially Kakadu).

    Kindest Regards, RedNeck Ricky

  • RedNeck Ricky on February 2, 2008, 5:57 GMT

    Too ALL THE AUSTRALIANS WHO HAVE COMMENTED ON THIS BLOG -

    For more than a decade now,your cricket team has set the bar higher in terms of the quality of the cricket but their behavior has been racist and unruly. From Mcgrath calling Sanath Jayasuria a "BLACK MONKEY" to Ponting (yes Mr. BOGAN himself)pushing Pawar at a presentation cermony, this team has done nothing but a set a bad example for youngsters. Therefore, the Indians just can't swallow the fact that your imprudent and unruly BUNCH OF BOGANS has called one of their players racist. Get Real guys >> I'm sure Symonds gets racist taunts from his teamates all the freaking time.

    And yes, I'm glad that India have finally used their financial muscle over the Aussies, that is something the CA (another bunch of BOGANS) can't possibly digest easily...

  • ashish on February 2, 2008, 5:26 GMT

    I agree, there should be a change in code of conduct, b'coz no Indian will be as offended at being called monkey as at being called B****** . The code of conduct is based on western beliefs.

  • Amal on February 2, 2008, 4:02 GMT

    Well said Udaya Wickremasinghe - just like every Singh is not a Gandhi killer, every ozzie is not a racist - the problem here is that the Indians are painting an innocent picture to the world and twisting the arm of the ICC - Looks like the cash strapped Sri Lankan Board led by Arjuna is also sucking up to them. The Indians are denying that there was a charter ready to take the Indians back home if the trial did not go in Bhajji's favour - Arjuna would have asked the Sri Lankans to also get on that charter in support of the BCCI and now we know why !!! The Ranatunge's are not saints and accusing others of fraud is their forte !!!

  • Rob on February 2, 2008, 2:25 GMT

    Singh had prior knowledge on how offensive the term Monkey is to Symonds. Remember the Teri Maaki defense was not used in the first hearing, the Indians only started saying that 2 days later, probably after one of them realized how much it sounded like Monkey.

    For those who don't know the difference between Bastard and Monkey, it is that bastard is not based upon the colour of someones skin or what race (not caste) they come from.

    I don't have a problem with Indians being offended by being called a bastard, and if it is truly that offensive then the BCCI should lobby to have that term banned from cricket. However I suspect the Indian team understand its use in Australia. The charge against Hogg very much appeared to be no more than tit for tat and a good bargaining piece.

    By the way if Singh had called Symonds a MF, Symonds would have said he was one too and left it at that. Singh took four or five days to claim that is what he said.

  • juzmuz on February 2, 2008, 1:38 GMT

    If Indian cricket had been smart, it would have used its far too considerable influence to have sledging banned from the cricket field - something that seems to upset all other cricketing nations other than Australia. Instead, India abused its power by having an umpire sacked, and blackmailed Australia - with the threat of leaving the tour - into having a very serious charge downgraded (when it was obvious to everyone that Harbhajan had committed the offence as originally charged). Just as racial abuse is is offensive, so too, I believe, is sledging, and it should be banned. The Indian cricket authorities had the chance to do something positive for world cricket, instead, by their actions, they proved to the rest of the cricketing world just what spoiled bullies they currently are. With power comes responsibility - something which Indian Cricket has yet to learn. Hopefully they will in the very near future.

  • arun on February 2, 2008, 0:02 GMT

    to chief sitting bull, india rules cricket you say. Does being beaten in the first round of the World Cup by Bangladesh help make India the king of cricket. What a joke. The truth is we have an inferiority complex and that is why we come up ridiculous statements like this and Mukul writes biased crap like this

  • Ravik on February 1, 2008, 23:59 GMT

    I think that the judge should have acted like they do in the US (eject both players), one for instigating and one for reacting. So it will be deterrent for future players to react in this kind of provocation. Secondly, I don't think that issues must be escalated only through umpires and on field captains. ICC should be continuously monitoring every match for deviations from the code of conduct through an autonomous organization, so the boards don't have too much say in the matter. Lastly, I think after a certain number of transgressions in a match/series, the captain of the team should be punished (like they do for the slow over rates).

  • David on February 1, 2008, 23:46 GMT

    It will be the death of international cricket unless we get some real leadership from the ICC. In past year's they have continually failed to take the hard decisions to the detriment of the game. If the spoilt, "privileged" class of India is allowed to continue to bully world cricket as they do their masses back home the ICC must call their bluff & expel them from international cricket. Let them have their bought version & we'll keep the game that we helped create and share with those that are men enough to play it.

  • Mick on February 1, 2008, 22:45 GMT

    For all those uppity self righteous indians who want to keep denying the possibility of the ugly issue of racism in your own backyard refer to Soumya Bhattacharya's article on this very website.

    Uh oh! A break in the ranks? No doubt the attacks will turn inward now. Clean up your own filthy backyard before lecturing others.

  • rext on February 1, 2008, 22:35 GMT

    India chokes in the second Test. Must be a white man's fault! A black man makes an umpiring error against a brown man. Must be a white man's fault! Harbijhan has five convictions. Must be a white man's fault! Australia humiliates India at T20. Must be a white man's fault! Match fixing originates in India. Must be a white man's fault!Tendulkar first swears he heard nothing, then says he did. White man's fault! Kartik spits, Youvraj refuses to go, Sharma stalls, BCCI blackmails, three former captains in the Indian team with convictions. You guessed it! What shows through most in all of this is the infinite capacity and desire of SOME Indians for self excusing pity and their hypocrisy. India's mantra: If we fail it simply MUST be someone else's fault.

  • MJ on February 1, 2008, 21:04 GMT

    Kaz: Harbhajan's guilty an idiot can see that - I guess you're the only one who sees it this way (just kidding). he was lucky that the ICC stuffed up and didn't have the previous offences - His previous offences (none racially motivated) would have probably got him a heftier fine. The Indians behaviour since Sydney has been appalling - I thought both teams were on excellent behavior after Sydney. the BCCI has held the ICC to ransom with their threats and every single demand was met. - Probably some truth in this. Poor Steve Bucknor who made 2 mistakes only Symonds and Dravid - Sorry, but Bucknor was losing it: he had to go. Pontings and Clarkes were both catches - Yes, but the trick lies in taking them cleanly. Harbhajan is a disgrace to India - Yes. Tendulkar has lost respect over this - I don't think so. Lighten up, Francis.

  • MJ on February 1, 2008, 20:42 GMT

    To dick: 1.why did habhajan and tendulkar clearly change their position - Because it's embarrassing to have to admit to having said "teri maa ki," to reporters. 2. wht did harbhajan say "he started it if he said nothing?" - Probably because he didn't understand what "racial vilification" meant. He was merely pointing out that he reacted to Symmonds's provocation. 3. does tendulkar speak punjabi - "Teri maa ki" is Hindi. 4.why did kumble try and apologise? - He was trying to defuse a situation with acute potential for stickiness. 5.why would you believe tendulkar who has been convicted of ball tampering aka cheating - ahead of symonds, hayden and clarke - I believe this was a misunderstanding: Symmonds believed that he'd been racially abused, and all of Australia supported him. Harbhajan believed he didn't, and all of India supported him: both viewpoints are justified. The joke is on India - Yeah, we're all laughing.

  • MJ on February 1, 2008, 20:12 GMT

    Help! I cannot stop! Travis: A vast number of [we] Indians are racist. Sub-continentals--Indians and Pakistanis (I cannot speak for Sri Lankans & Bangladeshis, as I don't have any friends from those countries)--have always referred to visiting West Indian players in most vile terms. It's a bloody shame, and I suspect that for each Indian with racist views, there're 10 others who abhor them. Gavaskar as the article referenced in your post suggests, didn't know when to get off his blasted soapbox. There may have been reasons for visitors (in the '70s and '80s) to form uflattering views on West Indian crowds, but Gavaskar's stated opinion is patently unjustified. That he has respected the West Indian players as much as they have him, is no excuse for the sheer irresponsibility of his comments.

    Do you not have racists in Australia (I assume you're from that country), or wherever else you are from? I think that you do. Is there a country on earth that is exempt from racism?

  • MJ on February 1, 2008, 19:51 GMT

    It has just occurred to me that there are two MJs who've given readers the benefit of their opinion. One's an Australian supporter (the MJ of the first part), and the other's Indian (I, not to put too fine a point on it). I merely wish to point out that I do not share the opinion of the MJ of the first part, whose views are a little too rabidly insular to warrant subscription. Lighten up MJ-I: I will not have you bringing our glorious initials to disrepute.

  • sprinbok on February 1, 2008, 19:49 GMT

    Good article. I do believe that the Australian team set a standard, both on and off the field, with regard to confidence, sledging and overall team assertiveness. It is taken to the extreme - especially by men like Ponting and even Bush, who seem so easy to hate. Unfortunately, this dominant, in your face and rude leadership as been vastly successful in today's age of "smack and awe." unfortunately, for Australia and America both, it doesn't leave the losers respecting your victories - but dwelling in your losses. In fact, it takes a special humility and presence to be treated in a positive way. Even England have the most snobbish, disgusting football(soccer players) and rugby players you will ever come across - not to mention their fans.

    Think about the attitudes of the following; Aus Cricket SA Spurs French Soccer NY Yankees Bush All of these can be sledged for their attitude, but they are all leaders in their fields - whether we like it or not...

  • MJ on February 1, 2008, 19:39 GMT

    To Campbell: When Ponting said "Perhaps Karthik should have walked" at the post-match ceremony, a match that Australia lost, I believe he did so in jest, with tongue firmly in cheek. Another brilliant line by Ponting (whom I admire, despite the latest spot of mud that's become deposited on his nose) was "You won't catch the Australians doing that," after Dravid was found guilty (and subsequently pardoned) of ball-tampering. A quite brilliant joust, if you think about it. [For the benefit of those who don't see the wit in this statement, it is the ambiguity surrounding the operational phrase--"won't catch" or "doing that"--that makes it so.] I think both teams were merely being supportive of their players. I also think that the Indian team was justified in threatening to boycott the series if Harbhajan Singh were to be found guilty. I encourage all of you, as fans of this noble sport, to rise above petty differences and support your team. And, my final homily: "Say no to racism."

  • TonyP on February 1, 2008, 19:32 GMT

    Let's take a hypothetical case.

    A charge is brought against an individual in the treasury that he is a pedophile. The individual is found guilty though the evidence isn't compelling.

    The treasury reacts with outrage, institutes an appeal, calling the charge a slur on all their employees, and lets it be known that unless their man is found innocent they will no longer release monies to pay judge's salaries or process revenue for any expenditure by the courts or the justice department.

    At the appeal hearing they have removals trucks ready to re-possess the furnishings in the court house should the decision go the wrong way.

    How many people would think this is a responsible, mature, legal, or ethical way to behave?

    Just because you don't like a given decision is NOT a justification to abandon the rule of law. Society depends on the legal system, anarchy is the alternative.

    Those of you who think this is justified need to grow up and learn what the "reason" in "reasonable" means.

  • david on February 1, 2008, 19:27 GMT

    A simple solution for all you wounded guardians of the 'new world order' of cricket - GET BRETT LEE TO SING US A NEW SONG FRIENDSHIP - that'll do it!

  • Al on February 1, 2008, 19:24 GMT

    Travis,

    Firstly, let me thank you for showing me that article. I had no idea. Now I know what is on the mind of Sunil Gavaskar in 1976. Those were terrible comments. However, I was not alive in 1976 but I am sure the West Indies players and public dealt with Sunil's ignorance accordingly.

    However lets deal with the real issue in 2008. Let's stick to the topic. I don't know how Sunil came into this discussion. We're discussing issues 2007-2008 here.

    I care more about PUP's comments because I was actually alive to witness the said game(s), where his character was tested and he failed. I care more about PUP's comments because the cricketing world is much different today than in the 1970's. I care more about PUP's comments because NOW IS THE FIRST TIME I AM READING Sunil's comments.

    I thank you for showing me that article I will now show it to my peers WHO ARE STILL IN THEIR 20's(born after the 1970's).

    Mukul, the camparison of Ponting and Bush: CLASSIC. I just love this article.

  • MJ on February 1, 2008, 19:23 GMT

    ..to continue.. Would any of your readers take offense if their cricket board threatened to boycott a tour if a member of their team was found to be guilty of a crime of which they positively knew him to be innocent? Australia really aren't in a position to complain. A "guilty" verdict (regardless of Harbhajan's prior transgressions) couldn't have been meted out to H for the simple reason that it was a case of one man's word against another's. The mistake that Symmonds made in assuming that H, who had lapsed into his native tongue to achieve optimal freedom of expression, had called him a monkey is understandable. His teammates chose to believe him as a show of support. It has been proved that H didn't call S a monkey--"You honor, I didn't call Symmonds a monkey. I merely pointed out that he's an incestuous bugger"; the matter should now be stowed away where it belongs--the dusty history bookshelf. Personally, I find 'teri ma ki' far more objectionable than 'monkey'.

  • TonyP on February 1, 2008, 19:20 GMT

    At the beginning of this series there was some discussion about what needed to happen for Indian cricket to evolve to the point where they could compete with Australia. This series has demonstrated that India have the talent & ability to do that.

    But what this series has also shown is that Indian cricket is doomed by its public.

    Before the series everyone was critical of the BCCI. Over-ambitious schedules, dubious selection policies, massive income that doesn't make it to the grass roots level, failure to protect visiting cricketers from crowd racism.

    The list of failings goes on and on and on.

    But now the BCCI are heroes because they leapt on this cause, fanned public outrage using irresponsibly sensationalist journalists & used their wealth & influence to hold international cricket hostage.

    The BCCI have fooled you India. They're the same bunch of corrupt, inept, politicised, short-sighted buffoons they were before.

    They're killing the game as you cheer them on.

  • MJ on February 1, 2008, 18:59 GMT

    You know, I don't believe Harbhajan called Symmonds a monkey--not that he isn't capable of it. When I viewed the footage on "The Age", the first thing that occurred to me was that H was inviting S to father his own sibling. The offensive stance struck by H (fist shooting upwards as he addressed S) would have been fobbed of its intended pugilism if they'd been accompanied by the words which likened S to the arboreal primate in question. What sealed it for me, however, was Tendulkar's endorsement of H. If he didn't have irrefutable proof of H's innocence, the repellant nature of the vindicating utterance--teri ma ki--notwithstanding, he might have claimed not to have heard what H said. He certainly wouldn't have sent that SMS to BCCI. BCCI, for it's part was certain of H's innocence, but certainly couldn't, outside a tribunal hearing, cite the reason ("Members of the Press, H actually made a reference to S's mother's vagina") for its beliefs. What they did was to stand behind their man.

  • Travis on February 1, 2008, 17:34 GMT

    Here's a link to Sunil Gavaskar's comments:

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/331054.html

  • Travis on February 1, 2008, 17:31 GMT

    Al:

    I think you should read Sunil Gavaskar's autobiography. In particular the bit where he describes Carribean fans as subhumans who should go back to living in trees.

    Why do you care more about Michael Clarke's comments than those of Gavaskar?

    I know what I think, but thanks for asking, mate.

  • Travis on February 1, 2008, 17:31 GMT

    Al:

    I think you should read Sunil Gavaskar's autobiography. In particular the bit where he describes Carribean fans as subhumans who should go back to living in trees.

    Why do you care more about Michael Clarke's comments than those of Gavaskar?

    I know what I think, but thanks for asking, mate.

  • Tomy PT on February 1, 2008, 17:16 GMT

    Maa ki is a worse slur than Monkey. If Tendulkkar and Kumble have backed Harbajan on using Maa Ki ... shame on us. After all don't we have a value system which is much greater than the game !!

    Thankfully nobody has educated the Aussies on the Maa Ki word.

    In all these antics we conveniently forget that india lost a match which we should have comfortably drawn not withstanding the greats ( Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid and VVS ). Was all this diversion aimed at escaping the wrath of the Indian public after the shameful loss? The media too stood by them in their defeat arm twisting the collective perception of these cricket frenzy country men !!

    Anyway the Aussies has fought back as only they do.. by giving a hard thrashing at the T-20 . That is how we should rub it in ... by winning thoroughly .. not by crying, cribbing and complaining.

  • ruchit on February 1, 2008, 17:04 GMT

    @sameer

    Also you point that you can force some one to sell you something is load of crap. Tell that to Americans/Europeans and they will teach you how it is done.

    You can force any one to sell you something but you can arm twist them , you can coerce them ,you can bloody pressurize them into giving a verdict that is blatantly incorrect. Huh..What are you an eight grader?

  • ruchit on February 1, 2008, 16:46 GMT

    @Sameer well if that doesnot dent your national pride then your are prideless. Ok let us not talk about the uranium deal. What measures did Indian public/govt. take when Indians were being damned recently in Malaysia. We were least bothered.Had Amaericans been involved they would have taught Malayan govt. a lesson. Moreover in case of Harbhajan I am convinced that he did say something ugly and racist and in my eyes evidence or no evidence that guy is guilty. And all the talk about the trail being fair is load of bull. BCCI,ACB and ICC collaborated with each other to make sure that Harbhajan goes scot free..Imagine a guy with no control over his tongue become the focal point of so called national pride. An ordinary cricket. So much for the national pride.

  • Al on February 1, 2008, 16:35 GMT

    Again let, me say this is Excellent work Sir. TO ALL THE AUSSIES posting comments here, DO you remember that series with Ind, Aus and WI. Chris Gayle claimed racial abuse by Michael Clark. However PUP said he didnt do it and that was the end of that. Do you see what I am hinting at? Do you see the racial double standards exhibited by the ICC and co?

    It should be noted that during that game the West Indian people saw a side of Mr. Gayle we never saw before, and to date we haven't seen since. Gayle claimed the comments by PUP really spurred him. Now, if you are a fan of Chris Gayle, you would know Gayle NEVER shows any emotion, at all. Calm as can be. Now being a rational thinker, I would like to think there was something that was said that really angered him. Hmmm? What do you think, Aussies?

  • Neil on February 1, 2008, 16:22 GMT

    excellent article. one thing for sure is that all this controversy has brought back australia back to earth. now they will think thrice before sledging opponent or using lude language. Well done India by standing up to arrogant aussie cricket team and teaching them a lesson.

  • Campbell on February 1, 2008, 16:19 GMT

    Justice served to harbhajan, well done hansen. What about hypocrites australia, in 7th onedayer ponting asked kartik why did not he walked when he nicked the ball? when ponting barked at journalist he should have asked ponting why did not ponting walked when he nicked the ball in sydney?

  • Michael Ellison on February 1, 2008, 16:13 GMT

    its sad that cricinfo is allowing comments on this blog which only favors or praises australia and critisize india, comments which favor inida or critisize australia are not getting through here, is the moderator is aussie ?

  • Travis on February 1, 2008, 15:10 GMT

    Even before this series there was an incredible amount of pointless hate-filled bile spewed on this site.

    I'm not going to comment further on the way things have developed since then.

    All I will say is that a national cricket side of which, even over 20+ years of watching them, I had formed not much more of an opinion than that they were clearly the most boring team in the higher echelons of cricket has now finally made an impact on my impression of the global game.

    And all I can say is that I wish that wasn't the case.

    Previously I had enjoyed the elegance of their strokeplay, even as I bemusedly wondered about their morbidly defensive style of play. Now I just think of their self-absorbed whinging and refusal to give any kind of credit to their opponents.

    It's sad.

  • George Koklas on February 1, 2008, 13:53 GMT

    Mukul As an Aussie, I say congratulations on a well presented piece. Dean, you say that Ponting had to make the charge once the accustaion was made. If that is so, why were the Indians allowed to drop their charge against Hogg? If the Australian cricket team want to start the trouble, they must be prepared to let someone else finish it for a change. And if they are so outraged by the apparent Indian control of cricket, then let them teach the Indians a lesson by not taking part in the IPL 20/20 comp. where they stand to earn millions for 6 weeks work! If they are not prepared to do that, then stop whinging and stop dishing it out. It is obvious they were out to get Harbhajan but it back fired on them.

  • MJ on February 1, 2008, 12:09 GMT

    A biased blog written to appease the masses of the sub continent.

    Everyone is forgetting the treatment Symonds received in India from so called cricket fans. Did the Aussies threaten to take their ball and bat and go home? No. why? Because the Aussies have the guts to deal with it.

    India's whole attitude to leave the tour over 1 incident when 1 of their players was clearly in the wrong shows how petty and gutless they are. Maybe they should of gone home, bring on some real competition.

    PS, Nice thrashing in Melbourne tonight. That's what it's all about.

  • Cameron - Melbourne on February 1, 2008, 12:01 GMT

    Without making any comment on what was said or not said there are a couple of disturbing elements to this blog. To the Indians out there that are saying Australia is the most racist country on earth and has no right to make a complaint. This is absolute tripe. Has Australia been racist in the past? Yes. Does racism still exist in Australia? Yes. Is there a large proportion of the population who disagree with racism & make a stand? Yes. It takes maturity & courage to adress racism, especially getting your own house in order. This episode has suggested that Australia may be significantly further down this path than India. Perhaps it is a difficult journey to take when you are obsessed with being a victim?

  • Sameer on February 1, 2008, 11:58 GMT

    Pretty stupid comment Ruchit, drawing parallels between two entirely different matters. Australia did go back on their commitment to provide uranium to us, but thats a trade issue. Don't let such issues hurt your pride else you'll be in a constant state of heartache. You can't force somebody to sell stuff to you.

    Here an Indian was being convicted on a serious charge without corroborating evidence, and all people were asking for was a fair trial. No need to get all indignant and 'better than thou' about it.

    You are right about over the top reactions, but once the Australians started it we had to end it. It should have been settled in the field.

    Also I do agree about the Srilanka, Pakistan part. Thats why its so important that we not hesitate to stand by our own if we feel he deserves our support. What the Australians or anyone else think about our reaction is inconsequential.

  • t.r on February 1, 2008, 11:47 GMT

    Just watched the moron's version of cricket, 20/20 India v Aust. I backed India to win the recent test series because I can't stand Australia's triumphalism and boorishness. Notwithstanding that, I must state that Indian cricket has an obvious and long standing problem with fielding, to the embarrassing detriment of Indian players, hero's and coaches. The approach to fielding is appalling and beyond lazy. They incontrovertably, do not consider it part of the game. How shameful that for all their great batting and bowling they, nearly to a man, can't throw a fielding return over the stumps,(Doni, actually runs 10 metres the wrong side of the stumps before the return is even attempted) nor can they stop quick singles. I cannot understand why this problem has not been solved in more than 35 years of watching international cricket. Less smartarse posturing from undiplomatic overwieght indian officaldom and more respect to the fundamentals of the game might see them actually win on merit

  • Motorola on February 1, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    great article. Australia should learn a lesson from this.

  • greg on February 1, 2008, 11:40 GMT

    Regardless of all the negativity, we all love cricket, I would like cricketing friends from all nations, I come from Adelaide australia, my email is duckaloopygreg@iprimus.com.au please email me if you would like to begin an online friendship based on cricket, our game is so unique played by such varying nations, regardless of race religion sex or nation I would love to hear from you and commence some positive communication regarding OUR game, good luck and God bless all of your countries, cheers greg

  • John G on February 1, 2008, 11:34 GMT

    Scoreboard. Just scraped past Kenya's 73. I think it was the crap umpiring. How could the umpires possibly have given the two clean bowled, seven catches and Clarke's brilliant throw-down of the stumps out?!?!?! Easy - they weren't neutral umpires.

    (Tongue firmly in cheek if anyone wonders).

  • Chris Burge on February 1, 2008, 11:20 GMT

    Lost in Australia. One bag containing rose colored glasses, a hindi book of excuses, a monkey mask, sorry a "maah kii" mask, a test series and a 20/20 game. I guess Australia is top in all three forms of the game now. The BCCI can only cover for the many deficiencies of the Indian cricket team of the pitch, on the pitch they will be exposed all the time!

  • Brendan Halfweeg on February 1, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    It is a long bowstring to draw to compare Ponting to George Bush. I congratulate you on the hyperbole.

  • Les on February 1, 2008, 11:14 GMT

    Great effort in the T20 India!!! (world champions, indeed). Many more spankings to follow, I hope.

  • Sharan on February 1, 2008, 11:00 GMT

    When Australia's cricketers have shown that they can play and win matches without the benefit of sledging/ dubious umpiring, we'll accept that Australia has grown up. Till then, they should be left to their devices in the sandpit like recalcitrant kids.

    There's no point in trying to draw a line of distinction between sledging and racism; the former will, as Australian cricketers have demonstrated in the past, lead to the latter. If you dish it out, you'll have to take it when it rebounds. And if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

    As for the parochial Aussie respondents to Mukul's post: what will you do to ensure that your precious cricketing idols don't succumb to the temptation of Indian rupees and play for the IPL? Or are you ready to sacrifice your newly-discovered sense of morality at the altar of Mammon?

    Go on, just show the world the mettle that principled men are made of by getting your cricketers to reject the IPL's offer ... if they can afford to do so!

  • ruchit on February 1, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    why do we indians keep on crying all the time and dishing out load of garbage. Some stupid guys have tried to make a point that India is a fiancial powerhouse and so should flex its muscle. Powerhouse in what- a game of cricket?? wow ..a big deal. When the new Aussie government scrapped a uranium supply treaty with us i wonder how many of us really complained about. It was a serious matter of national concern and yes such things hurt national pride. Not a Harbhajan Singh episode. We Indians need to get our priorities right. Not saying that don't a stand of bhajji issue but no need to creat so much of hullaballo. And stop the crap about whole world being with us. For sure not many Sri Lankans and Pakistanis support so. Definitely we know who will England,New Zealand,South Africa and West Indies support. Let the bat do the talking. Most Indians anyways are not articulate enough to put their thoughts properly and that too in English.

  • Chris JB on February 1, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    Utter populist crap.

  • Cap'n on February 1, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    I'll just pick on one comment in this (in yet another, more like it) "poor me" Indian-biased article. Australian tours are loaded against the opposition because of bad umpiring? Sorry India and the rest of the subcontinent, you wanted neutral umpires, you got them. Now that's not good enough and you only want the umpires that you like. What was that about the Australians not liking it when things go against them? Hmm?

    And while I'm at it, Tendulkar has no credibility - he's been done for ball tampering before until the Indians again bleated and blustered and threatened to take their bat and ball and go home, so his opinion carries zero weight in everyone else's view. Him complaining about Clarke not walking is almost as ludicrous as Harbi's non-walk against England when he was BOWLED.

    The bottom line is, if the Indian team wants respect they have to earn it on the field - a team doesn't win 16 consecutive tests through just luck and sledging.

  • Aud on February 1, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    Anyone who saw Bhajji feature on the NZ 'Border Security' tv show wouldn't need to work out where the problem was rooted. The moment he stuffed up with quarantine there he played the racist 'card' straight away. I guess I don't understand how important it is when returning home to India to not be seen as a 'loser' but as a team that lost due to 'racism in Australia'. Sheesh! Should only take a few days before it sinks in in India and the players are called to account by their fans. Should at least be enough time to get them safely throught the airport barriers.

  • Jade on February 1, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    Justice.

  • Sameer on February 1, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    I accept the fact that some Indians may be racist, but most of us are not idiots. If Harbhajan had called the precious Symonds a monkey, that would be more than moronic with all the background of which he was very much a part.

  • Disgusted on February 1, 2008, 9:02 GMT

    I wonder if the ICC deliberately didn't give the judge the information about Harbhajan's previous conviction to keep BCCI happy?????

  • neutral_indian_fan_of_the_game on February 1, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    Cricket was being threatened a nation up in arms, by a politician and a bunch of businessmen ! 1. Was Bhajji provoked ? 2. Did Bhajji use the 'M' word at Symonds ? 3. Was Procter correct ? 4. Was the BCCI's reaction justified ? 5. Was the whole saga that ended with Judge Hansen's verdict bigger than the game ? 6. Was the verdict on Bhajji fair ? 7. Are Indians racist ?

    Answers 1. Probably yes. 2. If there is one person in cricket that we would like to believe it would be Tendulkar. But are Indians racist ? 3. Probably not as he was under a lot of pressure from the flak he got from ICC hearing in the M'bourne test. 4. NO ! Nothing is bigger than the game. 5. NO ! 6. Probably not! The judge was not presented all facts. 7. Yes ! Soumya Bhattacharya's piece reflecting my thoughts "We, with our fondness for light skin tones, tend to be prejudiced against those with darker ones. We don't think of it as racism. But the world does. And it is. It can't go on. We need to grow up."

  • Sri on February 1, 2008, 8:39 GMT

    As an Indian I am appaled at Harbi's actions - and the rest of the team for that matter. Australia are the more professional team and it shows. I am embarrased by our whinging. I hope in the one dayers we put our cricketing heads back on and make a contest of it.

  • steve on February 1, 2008, 8:24 GMT

    Any player who makes racist remarks deserves to be suspended. I think people are complicating the issue.

  • richard on February 1, 2008, 8:24 GMT

    A thought provoking, yet sadly one-sided argument as seems to be the way with much of the press on this issue. Your veiled attempts at making this a balanced article are noted proving that you actually thought about it and didn't write pure sensationalist crap.

    There is a line for sledging. Yes the Aussies are very good at judging it, and for that reason they have kept outside of the wrath of the match referees. What Harbhajan Singh 'probably' said crossed that line - end of story. Does the fact that the Aussies regularly come close to crossing the line then allow people to 'probably' cross the line? No. If Harbhajan Singh was able to come back with a retort that Andrew Symonds couldn't interpret as racial vilification (and was also in the boundaries governing cricket) then that would have been fine.

    Regarding your comments of Michael Clarke. You seem to neglect what he said to the press (disapointment). But of course it is a one-sided article so you wouldnt believe a word of it.

  • barry damage on February 1, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    Well I guess the only thing for sure now after reading all the tripe and that most of the sub continental journalists and their supporters have written is that there is no doubt that the sweet and angelic Indian cricketers will surely go to heaven whilst those very naughty little aussies are destined for hell. It has actually really surprised me at how one eyed the indian press (with the very occassional exception) and their supporters are. At least most of the aussies can admit their team does wrong on occassion unlike the holier than thou Indians. I mean you just have to look at the decisions that went against Australia as well, and I fail to see all the gentlemanly behaviour of all the Indian team and board in this affair. Oh and by the way, who is the one that started this fallacy about all Indians always walking if out, that just has to take the cake! I also look forward to the doctored pitches when we next visit India as well!

  • Scatter on February 1, 2008, 8:16 GMT

    The most biased piece of clap trap I've read in a considerable time. If I have time over the weekend, I'm going to write an article as a full on riposte.

  • Les on February 1, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    Just an awful piece of "journalism". I won't comment on the sickening political aspects.

    By the way, anyone catch what your great God Harbi said to Pietersen after he was out bowled? The big foul-mouthed baby that he is.

    Go Home India! And don't hurry back. Your - and worse still, your senior players - antics have sickened me. You need a big course in humility.

    Towit:

    1. The umpire's decision is final. Tuff ti**ies if it's wrong - remember, what goes around comes around (and we saw that) 2. You don't spit at opposing players 3. You don't threaten a tour cos you didn't win a tight one 4. FGS - stop with the stupid effigy burning; it only shows your incredible lack of maturity.

    I hope you get spanked in every remaining game of the tour - but I expect your chartered jet will be there to take you home after the next close one you lose.

  • an on February 1, 2008, 8:10 GMT

    (3)Its natural that the Aussies have taken exception to this article,the final judgement on the issue,as also BCCI defending Bhajji with its muscle power. But I'm sure their grievance is based on their presumption(rather conviction)that Harbhajan used the M word.However,as an Indian fan who does not think too high of Bhajji, let me say this. Bhajji is the most foul-mouthed Indian players. We have seen him abusing even fellow Indian players or foul-mouthing them for misfielding on his bowling, while playing domestic matches against them. Thats why we think he wouldnt have called Symmo a Monkey! During the hearing, both he & sachin say that the expletive used was "Teri Maaki.." a Hindi abuse demeaning the opponent's mother, which players form North India often use.We do call people Monkey and Donkey, but not when we are ANGRY OR HURT, but more in an affectionate way. Abusing one's mother/sister is the ultimate in India. An ANGRY Bhajji is most likely to abuse one's mother than use Monkey

  • Wally Fryer on February 1, 2008, 8:02 GMT

    I didn't understand this article until I noticed Mukul's profile at the top of the page. It clarified it for me when I read that Mukul "writes fiction when he can"

  • bast on February 1, 2008, 8:01 GMT

    A decent article. Note to Aussies: You are welcome NOT to play in India's leagues. If 'bastard' ( a word highly offensive to Indians esp. North Indians ) is 'mateyness', then so is 'monkey' / 'big monkey' ( which presumably doesn't exist in the great sledger's lexicon - yet ).

  • Sameer on February 1, 2008, 7:58 GMT

    I was under the impression that Bhajji abused Symonds in english, so I was willing to accept the possibility of the m word being said. Although try saying 'You big m'. It does not really flow out of the mouth smoothly, nor would convey the emotions Bhajji must have felt on receipt of an unprovoked attack.

    But then from reading Hansen's report it seems Bhajji exclusively abused Symonds in hindi/punjabi (testimony of Symonds himself). Inserting 'big monkey' in an invective otherwise laden with Punjabi words certainly does not make sense at least to me well versed in the art. 'Teri maanki ..' ... now that will carry a ring of satisfaction and conviction.

    I am convinced ladies and gents, that it was a case of misinterpretation, and the Australians thought they heard what they were hoping to hear. Notice Hayden's immediate self confirmation as a witness. And Pontings haste in once again advising umpires on the course of action. It was a little too prompt. Pity Punjabi came in between!

  • Greg on February 1, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    I find it amazing that all of the "Indian" comments talk about how wonderful an article it is and how evenly balanced. Unfortunately to any balanced reader it leaves some unattended issues, firstly if you think that Harbhajan probably called Symonds a monkey, why don't you label him as both a racist and a liar. Secondly if this is such a balanced report why would he refer to Michael Clarke as "the likes of Michael Clarke" suggesting that he is somehow subhuman. From an outsiders point of view (i.e. I'm not an Aussie) Both teams behaviour was terrible although not unusual, much has been made of Aussie behaviour like Clarke's not walking when clearly out, however what about Yuvraj in Melbourne, far worse in my opinion, and as for that catch. Every Indian says it clearly wasn't, everyone else says can't tell from the replay and yet he is vilified by the Indian press and fans. I think this could have been a good article but the writer's national bias unfortunately got in the way.

  • Kaushik Basu on February 1, 2008, 7:52 GMT

    Mr. Sergio ...i hope u will answer my q. >> Whether a word is racist is determined by the person receiving the taunt not the deliverer well then how abt that smarta** calling kumble "bastard"....do u know how indians feel abt that? then shldnt he be punished also? or for that matter all those using the F word? plz...i am waiting for ur reply...

  • Anonymous on February 1, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    To David and Sergio: David, you have the burden of proof all wrong with regard to the judge calling Clarke a liar. When a previous verdict is overturned despite Clarke's emphatic testimony, the burden of proof is on you to prove that Hansen did not disrespect Clarke's testimony. By rejecting Clarke's testimony, Hansen has legally speaking termed him a liar, and there is no need for Hansen to say so, because legally speaking Hansen's decision has effectively branded Clarke a liar. Since Clarke himself is not on trial, Clarke has gotten away with lying. Nevertheless, Hansen has categorized Clarke as a liar by rejecting his testimony and overturning Procter's verdict. You need to understand the law and find out where the burden of proof lies. It is you who needs to prove that Hansen did not question Clarke's honesty.

    Sergio, do not assume that you have seen all the camera angles. Television broadcast does not include all footage from all cameras simultaneously, for obvious reasons.

  • asha on February 1, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    Nice article

  • ray on February 1, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    Dear Mukul, Racism aside, you seem concerned with poor umpiring decisions and seem to imply some bias. Independent umpires were introduced after the 2001 Aussie tour of India where India to break Australia's run of 16 wins introduced an umpire who had umpired in India's only wins in test cricket over the previous five or six years. Co-incidence? He gave seven Australians out lbw and no Indians. In a desperate bid to get the last wicket before close Ganguly switched Harbijan to his end and sure enough he gave a shocking lbw to finish the match. I think the bad decisions by one umpire were about 15 nil. Never a word has been said. The commentators were clearly gagged. It was farcical listening to either tv or radio. Technology now shows ALL umpires are guessing about many things where technology shows them wrong. Technology can show within a thousanth of a millimetre whether it's a no ball, stikes batsman in line or pitched outside leg and hot spot is often conclusive.

  • Saroj Chadha on February 1, 2008, 7:41 GMT

    Best and most balanced piece of writing on the Bhajji - Symond's confrontation. That the Australians are acting like sissies is obvious, may be they are not used to loosing - on or off the field. the fact remains if symond's started it, as already proved and accepted, he must have the guts and courage to aceept the retalliation which may be of greater intensity. Finally I did hear often taht we are all decendants from monkeys - so what is all the fuss about.

  • An on February 1, 2008, 7:40 GMT

    (1) Congrats Mukul on a ver good article. However, I think comparing ponting to Bush was in a bad taste.

    (2) I do agree that most of us Indians do not think too high of Ponting - we do agree he is a great batsman; but not a great sportsman. Marshall, Viv Richards, Imran, Akram,Aravinda, Jayasuriya, Murali, all of them have great records against India, but we love them. But we dont love Ponting or Mcgrath that much, simply because we have never seen them showing any respects to thier opponents whether they are Indians or others. At the same time we like Warne and Gilly and even Lee.

  • David on February 1, 2008, 7:33 GMT

    More Indian diatribe. Australians are sick & tired of the childish Indian behaviour over this matter. Indians have continually tried to con umpires with their excessive appealing & then they have the gall to label Australians cheats. Pontings claim catch WAS a clean catch he clearly controlled the ball prior to it touching the ground. Let's compare this to the last test in Adelaide where Kumble repeatedly appealed for LBW's that struck batsmen well outside leg stump when playing shots & the reaction to Kartik's claimed catch in close being turned down. Replays showed the bat was nowhere near the ball. Sledging is part of Australian culture & was around before Ponting was born. The issue here is identifying when it's gone to far. The ICC has appropriately outlawed racial comments & the Australians like all other countries must abide by this. If the ICC outlaws sledging then so be it. Many comments here only serve to reinforce a view that Indian cricket is yet to mature. GROW UP.

  • John G on February 1, 2008, 7:24 GMT

    Not sure which Test Series you wer watching. It sure wasn't the one played in Australia.

    Having lost the battle on the field the BCCI were determined to win it off the field by threatening to withdraw. It worked.

    I still can't work out how the Australian team are the bad guys in this test (they were awful in the 80s and 90s) and Singh gets off scott-free.

    As we say in Australia ... scoreboard.

  • vsssarma on February 1, 2008, 7:19 GMT

    Now that there is some relief to Bhajji, BBCI should talk tough to Bhajji. He appears to be having a loose tongue. He is always in the news for his verbosity. "Teri Maa Ki" word which is said to have been uttered by him to Symonds represnts his real culture, and his upbringing, his value system, not that of his country.

  • brettj on February 1, 2008, 7:17 GMT

    Spitting in your hands is disgusting? From a country where wiping your bum after going to the toilet and then continuing on to prepare food, shake hands etc is OK... just another example of the hypocrisy evident within the indian people

  • sabya on February 1, 2008, 7:13 GMT

    Hey loser Aussies here.. Come on grow up.. We all Indians accept Australia were a great team. There were greats McGrath and Warne.. Langer and Martyn were very very good as well.. But without them, can you imagine Aussies winning a single match.. The bowlers trio of Mitchell Johnson,Stuart Clark and Brad Hogg can never be part of any Test Winning team for all crickting reasons if the opponent is not any of the Bangaladeshis, The Namibias.. Keeping these aside, in Perth test, if you consider Symmonds and Hussey not out, then how abt Sachin,Dhoni and Jafar in the first innings of Perth.. LBWs are always a part of the game, it depends upon the mindset of the umpires present, here the umpires Rauf and Bowden both were consistent, one giving out to to the relatively higher ones whereas the other one did not even bother to give anything out.. Check with Ian Chappel or the fellow Aussie Commentators also.. Now for Proctor boy, how can he believe the Clarke,Ponting and not Tendulkar.. CRAZY..

  • paul on February 1, 2008, 7:10 GMT

    One thing seems for certain.India' inability to chastise their own team almost makes australia' behaviour excusable.Lets remember as soon as india got off the plane there was the tax issue with the australian government and they threatened to boycott the whole tour there and then.The BCCI is a beligerent egotistical monster that thinks it runs the game.India' threat to go home was an absolute disgrace.Australia are the number one team,india think they are number two.If it wasnt such a commercial nonsense these days you would just boycott india.

  • kriskingle on February 1, 2008, 7:07 GMT

    an excellent sum-up, about as impartial as the decision itself. what struck me was the australians indignance at a percieved injustice. if andrew symonds, being a race playe, was unlikely to drum up a charge of racism, then harbhajan, having been brought up in a racially charged society where even a percieved slight at a Scheduled caste or tribe member is effectively suicide, is just as unlikely to have uttered a racial slur. by now the australians should let it sink in that moral high ground is not a piece o land in Australia. and it seems as though they were really bent on ending harbhajan's international career.

  • Shubhankar on February 1, 2008, 7:05 GMT

    The Indian reaction has been silly at times in this and the jingoism has threatened to cross the limits.

    But the one thing that one should remember here is that things wouldn't have gone the way they did if people made an effort to sort out the differences amongst themselves without going to the Match Referee with allegations which were as serious as that of 'Racism'. I think Ponting should have handled Symonds and his grievences much better than what he actually did. Symonds has been stoking fire from the time he went to the tour of India after the T20 event -- even before a ball was bowled he made an unnecessary comment about India's 'over the top' celebrations in winning it. As an Indian I wouldn't like to be commented on how I should be celebrating (or not) an event that I believe I am proud of. Ponting should have cut that off right there and things wouldn't have come to this. We will be fools to not accept that the seeds of this disater were sown months back!

  • Cricket Fan on February 1, 2008, 7:03 GMT

    Superb article mukul

    All aussies who think tht mukul is partial towards u..listen

    whatever nonsense u talk, u cant shy away from the fact that australia by far historically, has been the worst behaved team on field no one comes even a close second moving on to the incident wtf was symonds trying to do ? harbhajan wasnt fighting with or abusing lee he was just acknowledging how well he was bowling it was such a nice gesture and obviously , smonds had no business starting that conversation he wasnt even in the action he sure enuf got ehat he deserved And he himself has accepted to have started that argument so the case is as good as closed im actually surprised the aussies havent been punished for taking up this stupid case in the first place and wasting the time n energy of so many people

    and procter must ave lost his mind when he even upheld the case n banned harbhajan

  • Good Aussies on February 1, 2008, 7:01 GMT

    My educated Aussie friends are ashamed at the behaviour of their team unlike the Aussie rabble on this blog who obviously abide by the "My country right or wrong" credo. At the same time, I too am ashamed at the behaviour of Harbhajan and that other disreputable guy, Sreesanth. Neither of these guys can perform consistently at the highest level so they should shut up and play.

  • wow! on February 1, 2008, 6:58 GMT

    Any of you lovers of cricket and wonderful Indian sportmanship and their walk on water behaviour notice the delightful Mr Khartik's spitting display in Adelaide? Proably not - true ambassabor for the game that bloke!

  • jca on February 1, 2008, 6:58 GMT

    a really well written article... I m amazed mukul that we dont see more of you.. keep rocking..!!

  • Ratan on February 1, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    Congratulations on a great analytical article Mukul. In my opinion it all happened coz Ponting feared facing Bhajji for the rest of the tour as he was his 'bunny'. They wanted to 'psyche' Bhajji and get under his skin. They knew he would react, if provoked. What they did not expect that the whole thing would take such a serious turn. With the BCCI backing the team and the team itself showing solidarity, the Aussies were given a taste of their own medicine, and now they are crying 'foul'. I strongly feel that: Symonds should be charged for provoking the incident and should be penalized (a two match ban)- after all the cause is more harmful and dangerous than the reaction/effect, and should be dealt with heavily. Secondly I feel that the Sydney test should be 'derecognized' by the ICC, in wake of blatant favouritism by the umpires. ICC should be given the authority to review and if necessary 'derecognize' any test match if requested by the board of either side.

  • RL Singh on February 1, 2008, 6:54 GMT

    What a waste of time, were you drunk while writing this?

    The world now knows how racist india is and I hope the indian cricketers get assaulted wherever they travel from now on.

    Anyone who agrees with the ridiculous comments in this article is just as racist as Harbajan and the indian team/board.

  • Brett on February 1, 2008, 6:54 GMT

    Can somebody please explain to me why the Indian cricket team has been the most fined for bad behavoiur and unsportsmanlike conduct over the last 10 years. The Australian team is 4th on the list, which is still nothing to be proud of. Mr Singh has been charged on 4 previous occasions, and has racially abused Symonds before. Maybe Mr Singh and the Indian cricket board should just apologise for thier recent appalling behaviour? That is how normal adults behave. The entire saga makes me wish the team had packed their bags and gone home. Thankfully the better team won....again!

  • akrai on February 1, 2008, 6:51 GMT

    One of the funniest thing in the entire episode is that the worlds worst racist people are complaining about racism! that too reverse racism! Let them go and check their own backyard before commenting on others. If they are really honest let them fight for innumerable no of racism victims suffering humiliation in Australia. Racism is only an excuse. The naked truth is that they cant tolerate an Asian country becoming super power (both in game and money). Had it not for ICC appointed spineless, biased, puppet match refrees, Australia would have topped the no. of infringement cases. They always got away with their on-field tantrums - courtesy ICC. They should be thankful to people like Bucknors and Bensons et al for their boasting figures of Test wins. Umpires all over the world have always favoured Aussies (exception Mr. Taufel, he is really a great umpire though an australian himself). Its not "hard and fair" its "hard and unfair" for which oz are known all over the world. Wake up!

  • Murali on February 1, 2008, 6:50 GMT

    So Australians are the one's who play honestly and fairly. Well, agreed and point taken.

    Rest of the world, please learn from Australians on how to play cricket (they do win matches and world cups).

    Australia, now that an ICC appointed judge says, there is no way to prove anything racial was said, can you guys accept that stop whining? (never mind what BCCI says, what Indians say)

  • KS on February 1, 2008, 6:43 GMT

    Well written! However you fail to point out why aussies or for that matter even brits get away with indecent behavior which clearly brings "cricket into disrepute" and minor incidents by indians get highligted. Clearly in harbhan's case too, the indian was at the receiving end and then had to face the brunt. Nobody is even questioning or trying to bring to book the real culprits here.

    they are just clouding the real issue here.

  • Wow! on February 1, 2008, 6:41 GMT

    Yeah well done I'm sure all Indian cricket supporters will applaud you vigorously, it seems that all the Australian team should be taken out and crucified or given some similar punishment, with special attention being paid to Ponting and Symonds, and do whatever you like to Proctor, will that make you all feel better, the Australians are rubbish blah, blah blah. God, I'm sick of this rubbish, time and time again you guys just reveal the truth about your attitude to cricket, you claim to love it, you don't love it at all, what you love and obsess about is winning and when that doesn't happen, you're into everyone. You just don't realise the incredible disservice harping on these kind of things does to the extraordinary players you have in your team, players that most reasonable Australian fans admire enormously, You're off the planet (or maybe right in your element playing up to the frenzied anti Ponting anti Australan feeling that pervails in India) by comparing Ponting to George Bush!

  • Cannuck on February 1, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    To Chico.... You say you are a Sri Lankan living and playing cricket in Australia, and yet you seem to have not read Roshan Mahanama's book "Retired Hurt" where her mentions about McGrath calling Sana, a Black Monkey... I agree with you that some of the Aussies are just sledging (as opposed to being racist) and good at it too... But to say none of them have ever been racist, is calling Roshan a liar and disrespectful towards Sanath.... This is is a well known fact by the whole world and even another Sri Lankan living in your land has posted below, acknowledged the racism exists with Aussies (Thomas). I do not dispute the whole incident sucks and both parties are at wrong, but you must either been living too long in Down Under, and become a TRUE australian, to make a ridiculous statement like Aussies are NEVER racist! Puleeese!!!

  • PK on February 1, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    So, Mukul, you "think it's likely that Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey".

    So you obviously think Tendulkar is a liar.

  • naz on February 1, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    Excellent article Mukul. There is a clear cut lesson for all the aussie players and supporters. aussies need to limit their skills to playin cricket and not verbal wars.They have their tail stuck inbetween their legs now. This will definitely change the way cricket is going to be played with aussies in future by any visiting teams. And for all the aussie***oles with burning egos its time to shut up and move on. Game is bigger than any symonds or ponting or for that matter even bhajji. aussies breached the code of conduct on field and they have got right there where it hurts the most. Again excellent article by Mukul.

  • Dev on February 1, 2008, 6:21 GMT

    Looks like the bias must continue on this Blogger site. Cant handle the truth. My comment regarding Indias true background and how racist they are.

  • Rohit on February 1, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    Great article Mukul! regarding the comment made by dean that aussies have been reported less times than the Indian is because the referees have done nothing about it. Who can forget McGrath-Sarwan incident ( according to the referee the aussies are playing hard! ) and even Slater-Dravid incident. Regarding the poor decision for Sachin and Laxman in the 2nd Test look at the number of decision which have gone in Aussies favour. Also you said that the 3rd and 4th test had a lot of umpring decisons against Aussies. If u had noticed both umpires were consistent ( Asad Rauf willing to give LBW's and Bowden not willing) BigBadByrnes you said los of decisions went against the aussies in 2001 & 1998. Look at the 2004 sydney match India vs Aus Bucknor was giving everything not out and we never complained. So my advice to all you guys is get your facts right and then complain about the Indians. Chak de India

  • jt on February 1, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    talk about character assassination... "who as a fielder had confidently claimed a bump ball catch" There is not one shred of evidence that the catch was not fair - let alone that Clarke didn't genuinely believe it to be so.

    Repeating the biased opinion of the aggrieved batsman - who usually stands his ground when caught (take an objective look at footage of this series and any other that Ganguly's played in) doesn't make it true.

    "Distance brings perspective"...apparently it also leaves plenty of room for bias and prejudice to overcome truth.

  • Ravishan on February 1, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    I agree with Ramki ,but what BCCI and the indian public have failed to note is that they have defended a crickeer who had a bad past record and had made him a hero.I am sure he will continue to repeat it.Sad part is that a gentleman like Sachin too has been made a party to it.If Aussie wants to play aggressive cricket let them play their way,haven't Srilanka & Newzealand been successful with the aussies by playing their own brand of Cricket? Abuse of any nature needs condamination.Cricket is a gentleman's game.against all odds still Sachins,Dravids & Kumbles have been successful, and ever continue to remain as great ambassader's of Indian culture & cricket.

  • Dr. Taufique Ahmed on February 1, 2008, 6:14 GMT

    Your analysis is first class and to the point! I fail to understand how the Australian team fails to understand the implications of Justice Hansen's observations on Andrew Symond's conduct in this whole saga and still continues to support him.May be it is due to the unique pack mentality of a team of bullies which the Australians are! Two observations, in my view, are pertinent in this context: 1. Racism thrives on the feeling of having power over the victim. When the victim fights back that feeling of power is threatened and the perpetrator will then try to restore the status quo by any means even to the extent of branding the victim a racist. 2. Andrew Symond is an import to Australia from the immigrant West Indian community in England. It is well known that the relationship between the West Indian and Asian communities in England is not always very warm. Is the friction between Andrew Symond and Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth a carry-over from that relationship?

  • Matthias on February 1, 2008, 6:11 GMT

    Biased reporting at it's very best. You should be ashamed of yourself. It would have been different of course if there was a nice big disclaimer up the top of the article informing us of your extremely pro-Indian slant on it, but alas, you pass this off as neutral journalism.

    This all emanates from the fact the Aussies have lost 6 of their best players in the last year, however you Indians bring a full strength side on your with ALL of your veterans, and still can't manage to win the series. You're that fanatical about your cricket that you can't hack losing anymore, so when that happens you all scream bloody murder and kick up a big fuss. You say Aussies act like school children? Take a good look in the mirror and that statement loses all credibility.

  • Brian on February 1, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    I am not going to say good or bad article but being a cricten lover for ages yes India is the cash bully and the Aussies are the on field ones and I think everyone is not comfortable about what happened in Sydney.... Could the Team have still won or not etc... But forget the past its over now and let the cricket continue....

  • Antonio on February 1, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    I think Mukul introduction says it all.

    Mukul Kesavan teaches social history for a living and writes fiction when he can...

    I think this article is a beautiful work of FICTION

  • Sergio on February 1, 2008, 6:02 GMT

    The obvious inference in this article is that the Indian cricket team is clean and the Australian Cricket team are cheats. How anyone (apart from a person with an Indian bias) could call this article balanced is beyond me.

    I agree that Symonds should have shut up when Harbijhan patted Brett Lee on the backside but this article seems to be accusing Michael Clarke of claiming a catch that was obviously a bump ball, the video evidence was inconclusive so I don't know how you can come to a conclusion that it wasn't a fair catch.

    I would likwe to hear your explanation as to why harbijhan didn't walk when clean bowled by Peterson and why MS Dhoni claimed a clear half colley as a catch in series against England.

    Are Dhoni and Harbijhan cheats? or does term this only apply to the Australian team.

    Harbijhan was told in India that Symonds felt that being called a Monkey was derogatory and Racist. Whether a word is racist is determined by the person receiving the taunt not the deliverer

  • Sergio on February 1, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    The obvious inference in this article is that the Indian cricket team is clean and the Australian Cricket team are cheats. How anyone (apart from a person with an Indian bias) could call this article balanced is beyond me.

    I agree that Symonds should have shut up when Harbijhan patted Brett Lee on the backside but this article seems to be accusing Michael Clarke of claiming a catch that was obviously a bump ball, the video evidence was inconclusive so I don't know how you can come to a conclusion that it wasn't a fair catch.

    I would likwe to hear your explanation as to why harbijhan didn't walk when clean bowled by Peterson and why MS Dhoni claimed a clear half colley as a catch in series against England.

    Are Dhoni and Harbijhan cheats? or does term this only apply to the Australian team.

    Harbijhan was told in India that Symonds felt that being called a Monkey was derogatory and Racist. Whether a word is racist is determined by the person receiving the taunt not the deliverer

  • Davden on February 1, 2008, 5:59 GMT

    To Prabu: Although I strongly disagree with Mr Roebuck on his first article about Ricky Ponting and have reservations about his second, what he is in fact doing is being objective (unlike this article written by Mukul Kesavan). Is it because the second article written by Mr Roebuck did not put the Indian team in a positive light but actually exposed them as the same petulant creature as the Australians?

    No, not all educated Australians would agree with this article. I would hesitate to comment that some would pull it apart for its one sided slant.

  • shanky on February 1, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    MICHAEL CLARKE read- 'THE HANSEN DIRECTIVE' and Know Thy Character! Australia's future capt? Good luck CA.

  • thehan on February 1, 2008, 5:54 GMT

    Hi I am from Sri Lanka, there a lot of posters from Indians implying that the whole of the cricket world supports India in the Sydney incident. Although I normally don't follow India I did watch the Sydney Test and I have to say that the Indians came out looking worse than Australia. They complained about a couple of decisions, when they had decisions go their own way and their behaviour on the field was worse than any Australian I have ever seen, i thought you guys were a mild lot. This just shows how much worse than the Aussies you are.

  • akrai on February 1, 2008, 5:54 GMT

    One of the funniest thing in the entire episode is that the worlds worst racist people are complaining about racism! that too reverse racism! Let them go and check their own backyard before commenting on others. If they are really honest let them fight for innumerable no of racism victims suffering humiliation in Australia. Racism is only an excuse. The naked truth is that they cant tolerate an Asian country becoming super power (both in game and money). Had it not for ICC appointed spineless, biased, puppet match refrees, Australia would have topped the no. of infringement cases. They always got away with their on-field tantrums - courtesy ICC. They should be thankful to people like Bucknors and Bensons et al for their boasting figures of Test wins. Umpires all over the world have always favoured Aussies (exception Mr. Taufel, he is really a great umpire though an australian himself). Its not "hard and fair" its "hard and unfair" for which oz are known all over the world. Wake up!

  • Ash on February 1, 2008, 5:53 GMT

    You state that you think Harbajan did call Symmonds a Monkey, but spend the whole time going on about the Australians' behaviour. How much responsibility should Harbajan take for his actions. Half of his match fees? What a joke.

  • DAVDEN on February 1, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    Did anyone see the crowd behaviour in India that was on the TV Show - "An Aussie goes Bolly". Very over the top and something that the Indians would have complained about in Australia.

    Did anyone see the crowd behaviour in India that was on the TV Show - "An Aussie goes Bolly". Very over the top and something that the Indians would have complained about in Australia. To those complaining about the Australian Media can you please look at what they were saying? You will find that the majority were against the Australians - leave emotion out of it.

    To those that constantly raise 'Western Arrogance". 41 years later and still a young country cannot get to grips with its place in the world and feels the need to fall back on "us and them".

  • Macca in Brisbane on February 1, 2008, 5:51 GMT

    I can assure you most of the people in Brisbane (we’re not educated though) do not agree with what has been said in this article. You say you are confused at Mr Roebucks articles, Mr Kesavan is a tad confusing as well.

    Read his of his article No room for bigotry 20/10/2007 An excerpt below It's hard for Indian fans to cede moral advantage to an Australian team. They are so much better at the cricket that outrage is often the only consolation we have. It's hard to fault the Australians' behaviour on the Symonds affair: they've made their point, done the BCCI the favour of not lodging an official complaint, been appreciative of the board's belated denunciation of racism, and have signalled their willingness to move on. The Indians, after a slow start, have redeemed themselves by booking the bad guys. To keep up the good work, we need to do the same again. And it doesn't have to be a racial insult the next time round: it could be, given our versatility in the matter of prejudice, a religious slur.

  • Priya on February 1, 2008, 5:49 GMT

    Aus is finding it hard to digest the fact that India is a financial superpower in cricket controlling most of the funds (which they owe their robust careers to, now even the retired players with all the ICL and IPL threatening their cricket, India taking the Twenty20 championship and pretty much catching Australia by its wagging tail in other formats of the game with a deserved threat to topple them over as the best test side - by then India will be ranked above Aussies in two formats and then a bunch of rookies in the game having a promising start to their careers in Indian team, Aussie winning 16 in a row and losing to India twice in that situation, India coming to Australia beating them at Perth-their backyard of pure down under cricket - and ability of Indian team to have a half and half of experience and youth in them - which is a challange for a lot of late starters in Aus. These facts all together against Australia are challanging them mentally.

  • rajkumar on February 1, 2008, 5:48 GMT

    fantastic article, this is a very clear presentation of what is going on in cricket for the past 15 years. australia would sledge and win matches and the other teams would listen to it and loose. if they sledged back, the australians would make it a big issue and term them as bad boys of cricket. like what happened to sourav ganguly during 2001 series. it is high time sledging, done mainly by the australien team is stopped. it only requires one lapse of constration for a batsman to get out. that is how australians get the batsmen out, by sledgeing and affecting their concentration. they use their body language and sledging to impose fear on the batsmen on the pitch, this creats lapse of concentration to the batsmen who instead of concentrating on the ball will concentrate on the opposition with anger. this is why they tend to become out and loose the match. i strongly feel, all the other cricking nation should put a stop to sledging once and for all. let the better team win on talent

  • David Sharp on February 1, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Hypocritical Garbage again from an Indian journalist. The claim that Michael Clarkes word cannot be trusted is a perfect example of such. You expect us to take the word of Harbajan who not only didn't walk after being CLEAN BOWLED (yes bowled), but then launched at his opponent with a barrarge of obcenities. Are you joking, or this this yet another example of Indians being unable to see fault in there own. Then we have the Dhoni incident, is he another charachter we should trust, I think not. This preconceived idea that Australians are racist cheats is rediculous, try taking a look in your own backyard first. I have a 'dark skinned' Indian friend that left India after being persecuted because of his skin colour. But no Indians aren't reacist. As i said in my first sentence, Garbage.

  • mlk on February 1, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    This article and the comments just confirms the fact that racism in india is as common as curry.

    Get a haircut Mukul.

  • SR on February 1, 2008, 5:40 GMT

    Hansen said, between balance of probabilities and beyond reasonable doubt, there was nothing to find Harbhajan guilty of, except abusive language. He went on further to add, even if Harbhajan had said the alleged word, it cannot be possibly construed as racial in Symonds' position, having just provoked Bhajji with a four-letter abuse!

  • Tushar Manglik on February 1, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    Part of the "Full transcript of verdict" ............. MR MANOHAR: I put it to you that apart from the other Indian abuses he said to you the words “teri maki”? MY SYMONDS: Possibly, I don’t recall, I don’t speak that language. MR MANOHAR: Thank you. HIS HONOUR: But you accept that as a possibility, My Symonds? MR SYMONDS: As a possibility I accept that, yes.” Mr Symonds also gave evidence that in the course of this angry exchange that he initiated and provoked Mr Singh called him “you big monkey”. Mr Symonds appears to be saying that he finds it unacceptable that an opponent makes a gesture that recognises the skill of one of his own team mates. In MR MANOHAR: You had any objection to that patting on the back? MR SYMONDS: Did I have an objection to it – my objection was that a test match is no place to be friendly with an opposition player, is my objection.

  • Tushar Manglik on February 1, 2008, 5:36 GMT

    To get a understanding of what happened on the field, read the full transcript of verdict. I have pasted here parts of it :

    During the 116th over on Day 3 of the Sydney Test, Harbhajan Singh made friendly contact with Brett Lee. At the end of the over while the umpires were changing ends and the fields was crossing over to their new positions, Andrew Symonds approached Harbhajan Singh and told him that he had no friends amongst the Australians (he admits he used the word ‘fuck’ or a derivation thereof). Singh used similar language to Symonds and neither took offence at that stage. However the exchange caused Singh to become angry and he motioned to Symonds to come towards him. Singh then said something to Symonds. There is a dispute as to what was said.

  • Monkey on February 1, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    The genuine racist comment I saw above came from one Mr. Rusty when he claims that "out-manipulated by a race who value saving face above everything else." This is pure racist. Actually there were a few others generalising the Aussie behavior and the Indian behaviour as well. To call Symonds a Monkey is calling a fat guy Fatso to his face or a lame guy "Langda", a pure personal insult highlighting their physical attribute. Unless I am blind, Symonds does resemble a Monkey more than any other person in the Australian or Indian team. To call him a Monkey is not a racial slur as being made out by the media (espeicallly the Aussie one), but an insult in a poor taste. Remember, Inzmam was called "Aloo" by a spectator and got beaten up by Inzy. Was that racist commment? Again it was a personal insult. It should be condemned, just the way we need to condemn all the expletives thrown around in the name of gamesmanship. It's time the umpires start dishing out yellow/red cards to such behaviour

  • Sar on February 1, 2008, 5:25 GMT

    An FYI to Aussies...in case you haven't noticed, the whole cricketing world except AUS hates your team (even more now, since the only respectable player Gillie has left), eventhough you have thebest team. Very unlike West Indies or Sri Lanka , those teams were loved and respected all over in the prime days. Its high time you go into some self-introspection and find out why everyone else hates you!

  • Mahesh on February 1, 2008, 5:25 GMT

    Great article. No matter what people say about it, it is just great. You hit the nail on the head, Mr.Kesavan. Keep it up.

  • Prabu on February 1, 2008, 5:22 GMT

    This is one of the best articles I have read in the past few days regarding this ongoing issue. I was a fan of Peter Roebuck but got a bit confused after his two articles in which I thought he got confused a lot. In the article he wrote after the Sydney test he was demanding for Ponting to be sacked and also wondered why the Indian players have not packed their bags and left Australia where he thought they have been shown no respect or courteously. A few days later after Harbajan was cleared in his article he condemned BCCI and Indian players for threatening to leave Australia if Harbajan was not cleared. He is very confused and have confused a lot of his readers.

    I can assure you Mukul that most of the educated Australians here (I live in Sydney) would agree with what you have said.

  • Al on February 1, 2008, 5:20 GMT

    EXCELLENT work Mukul. I really enjoyed reading this article. WOW. Aussie and other white nations get away with murder while non-white playing nations are pulled in for any and everything. Just look at the behaviour of Andre Nel, when was the last time he was fined? The truth is Aussies cant handle pressure, just look at the Mcgrath/Sarwan incident. Anyway, great show of solidarity team India. In my mind that series is 1-1 draw. India outplated the Aussies in the last 3 tests. GO INDIA GO. FIGHT THE POWER!!

  • Hemant on February 1, 2008, 5:17 GMT

    Very well written! All the on and off field antics by the Australians shows how afraid they are of this Indian team and how poor competitor they actually are, we certainly deserve something better from the world champions. Their attitude of "win at all cost" is badly exposed and shows them in very poor light. Ponting and company have brought the name of this great game down.

  • Mark on February 1, 2008, 5:16 GMT

    Enough of this banter. Let's get on with the cricket. I wonder what excuse the Whingians will use tonight when the Aussies smash them?

  • Cris on February 1, 2008, 5:10 GMT

    Mukul, very informative and interesting.

  • PSS on February 1, 2008, 5:04 GMT

    It appears that 'teri maan ki" was taken to sound like 'big monkey". Given Bhaji's penchant for Punjabi "embellishments" this story need not have even gone further than that. I for one can clearly see him or some other Indian dropping a couple of these hindi phrases at oppositions. Of course, now if Symmonds had claimed verbal ABUSE first rather than RACISM, his case would have stood clearly. In fact Australian lawyers later asked Ponting to change the charge to VERBAL ABUSE and not RACISM. I see the refusal of Symmonds to listen to the possibility that Sachin was the truthful one was a big mistake. His adamant foul mood was from his past experience India. That is what happens if old grievances are never settled properly. They color the glasses of the hurt looking into the future, irrespective of sensible counsel prevailing to limit the it to the immediate one at hand. It is unforgivable India has not cared about Symmonds cruel treatment by India's uncouth caught on camera.

  • Ben on February 1, 2008, 5:04 GMT

    A terrible article. This piece is not an effort to write about what happened, but what a certain group of people want to hear. Its often easier to accept losses to a team that are "bad" "evil" then accept the fact that you lose to a better team.

    Articles like this one do not help anything but widen the rift between Australia and India, former friends in there shared loved of the game of cricket.

  • sinjun on February 1, 2008, 4:53 GMT

    Another ridiculous, biased and naive article. You really have no idea do you.

  • Kala Philip on February 1, 2008, 4:51 GMT

    Here is another self prejudiced article from an Indian. More crap from a subcontinental journalist with the intention of attempting to legitimize the appalling actions of the BCCI. For every point mentioned in this article, you can find opposing views with an equal level of legitimacy to that which you state here. When will you guys realise, the whole world sees India as a corrupt, making excuses and have to blame someone for their poor performance. Grow up !!!!! The Aussies should have burnt effigies of Harbhajan like the Indians did of Aussie players, but they have better things to do with their time.

  • Siva K on February 1, 2008, 4:47 GMT

    One thing that any cricketer playing international cricket should remember is that they are the custodians and ambassadors of cricket. Mainly because they are being watched by budding cricketers. For example, when Symonds was caught of a thick edge in Sydney he should have walked. By standing his ground, first he proved that he does not care to set a good example, second, makes mockery of all the folks that watch the game. If the international players act like they don't have a conscience, what kind of example are they setting? It is no coincidence that most teams don't like the way Australians play their cricket. When the OZ's use the term "fair", I think they really mean "fair to the Oz's". I love and admire their superiority in cricket. However, they have a nasty side to them which they need to shed. Adam Gilchrist is a great example of how you can really play "hard and fair", be a superior performer, pulverize opponents and still be loved and respected by all.

  • Udaya Wickramasinghe on February 1, 2008, 4:47 GMT

    Comparing Ricky to George Bush really puts me off reading the article any further. I could not believe a journalist taking opportunity to put petrol on fire. I think it's time everyone take a back seat and let the steam out.

    I do agree Australian cricketers are verbal at times, but living in Australia for over 20 years, I have noticed majority of Australian's are fair and honest.

  • Warrior on February 1, 2008, 4:46 GMT

    No one is yet to prove that Michael Clarke didn't catch the catch he claimed in Sydney. Until such time as categorical evidence is produced that shows he didn't catch it, then he is entitled to believe he caught it, and therefore appeal for the catch.

  • Udaya Wickramasinghe on February 1, 2008, 4:46 GMT

    Comparing Ricky to George Bush really puts me off reading the article any further. What if someone called Harbhajan, acts like Osama bin Laden. I could not believe a journalist taking opportunity to put petrol on fire. Looks like even the Indian Media is flexing it's muscles too.

    I think it's time everyone take a back seat and let the steam out.

    I do agree Australian Crikerters are verbal at times, but living in Australia for over 20 years, I have noticed majority of Australian's are fair and honest. Lot better than arrogant Indians I have been dealing for 20 years.

  • Aussie on February 1, 2008, 4:45 GMT

    BRAVO Indians you have put Aussies on mat for the reasons : 1. you showed better sportsmanship than your counter part in the Test series. 2. You have forced Aussies to cheat and told the whole world that from now onwards Aussies can not win without cheating. 3. Aussies are crying like babies and stating wrong LBW decisions against Sachin in response to wrong appealing for grounded catches and the cought behind decision of Symonds in Sidney. please understand that cought behind decisions batsman more or less know but for LBW bats man has to believe the umpires. Aussies please not forget atleast 10 LBW decision gone in favour of Hussey, Ponting and Symonds, we are not talking of those. These are part of human errors. 4. I think Ponting position in the Australian Team will weaken after this series, because now he talks more and bats less. 5. Still i feel that Gilli and Hussey are very good human being.

    I hope Symonds next time come to India.

    Regards to all.

  • Jason on February 1, 2008, 4:41 GMT

    Can't believe the delusion shown in the article and comments, it's like reality doesn't exist in India.

    I see so many articles coming out of India that are horribly biased, and almost none that assign the portion of blame needed to India, or acknowledge the perversion of process carried by threatening to call off the tour if the result didn't go their way (taking their bat and ball and going home). In comparison there are many articles in the Australian press which present the Indian side of the argument, sure there are a lot in favour of the Australians, but at least there are dissenting opinions, all the gets presented in India is a fanatical Indian point of view.

    Any reality on the situation has been replaced by nationalistic ranting.

  • Jez on February 1, 2008, 4:38 GMT

    An article isn't "balanced" just because it agrees with your biased viewpoints.

    Some (many) of you might agree with the article, but if you think that this article is a balanced and fair outlook on the last month then you've departed reality.

  • greg on February 1, 2008, 4:38 GMT

    indians are jokes... unfortunatly its somthing we have to accept in cricket anywhere in the world look at the usa look at the west indies or even brazil!everyone knows he called symonds a monkey hes a low life dick but who cares the big problem is indians all over think they can get away with crap just because they believe in god! but at the end of the day they are the most racist people in the world... or has noone been to india? next someone will say the class system dosnt exsist in india! fuck them all that two faced race

  • JR on February 1, 2008, 4:35 GMT

    In response to SM asking why India can't find decent umpires out of 1.3 billion people I would be more concerned why they can't find 11 cricketers good enough to beat a team chosen from just 21 million people.

  • Liam on February 1, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    And for those of you screaming about the unfair decisions by umpires lets not forget that the reason we have neutral umps is that it was impossible to get a LBW in India for countless years.

  • Sumera on February 1, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    Let me start off by saying I am indian. To all those who are now baying for Symonds to be punished for instigating the incident - just drop it. Enough has happened, Symonds has been through a lot - in India with the crowds and now with Harbhajan being punished for obscene language and not for the racist comment he is alleged to have made. Indians cannot deny the fact that Harbhajan did not mention the whole "maa ki" thing to Proctor in the first instance. Why? Harbhajan is known to be a hothead, he was playing well in Sydney, he should have let his bat do the talking, as he is obviously not articulate enough to respond to sledging. Or maybe a simple "F..off" would have sufficed. In saying that, there is a part of me that wants any indian to stand up to on-field bullying by the australians, only there are lines that shouldnt be crossed. I dont condone racism and I dont condone the personal abuse that seems to be an onfield australian trait.

    Just becuase past Australian players

  • Liam on February 1, 2008, 4:30 GMT

    Asmani the thing to be taken into account is intent and the fact that certain terms gain added meaning and weight, Example the term faggot literally translated means a bundle of small wood or kindling, but when you call someone that i dont think that is your intent so equating monkey to evolution is stupid. And i would say that racism is a far more serious issue than personal insults.

  • deepak nair on February 1, 2008, 4:30 GMT

    bhajji and sachin had put together a partnership which was taking india past the buknor-inflated aussie total. symonds saw an opportunity to break harbhajans concentration (it worked bhajji was out five overs later). What the aussies did not calculate for was the support sachin and kumble would show for bhajji!! the whole thing has blown up in their faces and how, everybody who criticises bhajji but does not say anything about symonds is a hypocrite. If you play with fire you are going to get burnt. On the field let your fielding/bowling/batting do the talking, not your mouth. The phrase "hard but fair" is just an excuse for boorish behaviour designed to disturb the concentration of opposing players. the aussies cricketers stand thoroughly exposed on this tour and their apologists cannot take it!!

  • stud on February 1, 2008, 4:26 GMT

    We are mixing 2 issues. Sledging, Abusive remarks and incompetent umpiring. Seems like Clarke's not walking is right because Bhajji "A Racist" didn't walk when bowled. Aussies are scared of Bhajji after he claimed Ricky 4 times in the first 2 tests. It is very clear that Symonds breached the agreement between Harbhajan and Symonds by use of abusive language. The Aussie Team reacted by saying they didn't hear Symonds say nothing but heard bhajji say "Monkey". What a blatant lie. The Aussie press then depicts Symonds as Hindu God, an act of blasphemy. Every team gets bad decisions. Tendulkar was Not Out in Perth in 1st innings. Sydney was different. Jaffer was bowled off a no ball in sydney, Dravid not out, Ganguly not out, Symonds out several times, Hussey was out much before his hundred etc. I beleive its the umpires that need to be blamed more than the players. Did the 3 umpires come with a motive to see India defeated at SCG. ICC needs to inquire into the officials' behaviour at SCG.

  • Ramesh on February 1, 2008, 4:22 GMT

    Who is complaining now? The Aussies. Do they have any respect for a well reasoned and detailed verdict vis-a-vis a brief but favourable-to-the-whites verdict. What did Symonds say? Can we find this out and charge him with the first offence and try him too? Why is Matt/Mike or Gilly talkng of Asian bullying when the questions is of the fairness of a verdict? Be objective please. England and Australia ill-treated Asian Greats and they were just right. When India just asserts its right what are they being accused of by these guys? Let us be fair to all - be it whites or Asians. Let us scrutinize all faults - be it a white's or an Asian's. The whites still need to understand that issues from both ends need to be scrutinized similarly without biases. This will take time as mental cobwebs from their past are still clouding their thinking

  • krm on February 1, 2008, 4:20 GMT

    After reading all the comments here, I am praying SETI does not find aliens for many many more years.

  • Anonymous on February 1, 2008, 4:19 GMT

    I have been a fan of this game since I was about 8 years old. I can tell this is unlike anything else I have experienced since then. I believe that you cannot resolve an issue unless you get to the root cause of it. The root cause I believe is related to two issues one is that what many people call "sledging" and see as fair game, in other cultures can be perceived as verbal abuse. The other is the attitude of players to the game. Professionalism has seeped too much. Players are, also ambassadors of their countries. Cricket, the fans and players would all benefit if Sreesanth and Symonds would keep that in mind when they take the field. Point to note, higher standards are expected from players than jokers in the stands. For a few years I have sensed that these issues have been simering and ready to blow up and they have now. Hope the leaders at the helm understand to get to the root for the future of Cricket.

  • Vineet on February 1, 2008, 4:16 GMT

    I think it's pure jingoism on part of some indians to say that we are not racist ,just look at some of the matrimonial articles in the newspapers clamouring for "fair" brides and you get the big picture ,I think the point that everyone misses is that India is so heterogenous that skin colour does not dominate our consciousness ,racism is very subtle in India ,and for once BCCI was right when it stood for Bhajji not because I believe Bhajji can't be a racist but for the lack of evidence ,for that matter even Tendulkar can be a racist some day and we should not refrain from punishing him just because he is Tendulkar . Indians always lose objectivism in crucial matters and let emotions take control of the situation ,Cricketers are not soldiers and we should not talk about about country's pride being hurt in the 21st century ,I think it's purely childish .

  • 20Something on February 1, 2008, 4:15 GMT

    A total waste of emotions. Mukul's earlier articles have been thoughtful, but this one is just delayed jingoistic reporting on an incident that should have been forgotten long back.

  • Ken on February 1, 2008, 4:15 GMT

    A distortion of facts Mukul unusual from an Indian writer (not). Harbhajan has been shown time and again to be a foul mouthed. Austratlia should never tour India again until they can guarantee a racist free tour. India wants to beat Australia, something they can't do...we should deny them the opportunity until they clean up their crowds and their players...they are after all the most fined cricketing nation in the world, and the they have the most fined individual players. But the way referring to Ponting as looking like Bush is really not worthy of you Mukul

  • Winston Churchill on February 1, 2008, 4:14 GMT

    It all makes sense to me now. Harbhajan Singh is permitted to racially vilify Andrew Symonds because Ricky Ponting looks like George Bush.

    Hang on... am I missing something?

  • Truth on February 1, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    Please someone stop these Sam and David and Craig who do not know anything about cricket and playing fair. These guys think that what Aussie do is fair and rest is all wrong. PLease grow up

  • Kalyanram Hota on February 1, 2008, 4:12 GMT

    Aussies did not beat India. The umpires beat India and the Aussies even admit to the umpiring mistakes after the match. It is high time there are some subcontinental umpires in these high profile test matches. The ICC has long been controlled by England and Australia. It is high time that India flex its muscle and get new people representative of its financial strength in the ICC. "Might is right" so when you have the might, use it. If the Aussies want to sledge, let them, India can just make sure the Aussie board hemorrhages cash by not playing them on their home grounds and by holding contests on neutral grounds with fair umpiring. The thing is India can afford it, Aussies cannot. The Aussies better smarten up, they are not dealing with a backward country anymore, they are dealing with a financial powerhouse and it would be in their best interest to realize it. If Aussies try to win matches by twisting rules, then Indians can make sure those matches prove costly to the Aussie board.

  • 20Something on February 1, 2008, 4:11 GMT

    There are certain things which take ages to change in the world. Cricketing world is no different. There has always been a perception that white people are superlative to coloured people. Unfortunately, cricketers have these things in their sub-conscious mind. When Steve Waugh says there is cultural mis-understanding between Indians and Australians, the mis-understanding is more in an Australian than an Indian. Indians are taught about great men all over the world and they respect with their whole heart when they see a foreigner. The I-want-to-please-you attitude is born out of understanding others, rather than the I-dont-care attitude. But I don't think there is much education among Australian kids about great colored people. A handshake from a Ponting to a Dinesh Karthik is not about I-recognise-your-ability. It's just about "Lets see". If we want fair play in such a scenario, the aggressor should be mellowed down at heart and not taught to be done so in press conferences.

  • Amitesh on February 1, 2008, 4:10 GMT

    AUSSIES are making a lot of noise because "A Golden Era" in Australian Cricket is ending. The great champions of recent years are GONE. One or 2 of the great ones are left but even they are nearly Grandads in cricket year and will soon go. Unfortunetly my dear Aussie couterparts and I say this with no ill will intended, your team will soon (give it 2 to 3 years) be in the same doldrums as the previous windies team. All champion palyers gine and at best a few champions left with a whole host of average players. Stuart Clark is NO macgrath, Hoogy is not even on the same platnet as warne, Phil Jacques is NO langer, Clark is CERTAINLY not going to be a ponting or hayden (who will soon be gone, forgotten) and Tait and Johnson will never be a gillispie. Sorry guys but Down Under will soon be "Down Under", on the other hand 75% of India's team currently is below 28. As i said beat your chest for another few years cause as the saing goes 'all good things end', and the aussie cricket era ended.

  • jumroo on February 1, 2008, 4:08 GMT

    The Reason why india has won 93 test matches since 1932 and gilly 76 is because India (and all other teams excepting the OZ) play with 11 and the OZ play with 13 or 14 :-)

  • Ian on February 1, 2008, 4:02 GMT

    Those of us who watched the one day series in India recently were aware of the boorish behaviour of a few of the players and some of the crowds, but it didn't seem like a big deal. However, I think anyone who saw the Mumbai match crowd scenes in 'An Aussie Goes Bolly' this week would have been shocked at the sheer scale and ferocity of the racism on display there. Little wonder the BCCI was so loathe to follow every other cricketing nation and appoint a racism officer.

  • jeffery poirier on February 1, 2008, 3:58 GMT

    I find it funny reading one comment re the second test result should be reversed etc....... Mate if three batsman cant survive the last six balls of a test match regardless of what went on over the past four and a half days,they dont deserve the dam win!!!!!!!!!!!!! Its not austalias fault that india could not face up to at best a second rate slow bowler such as clark!!!!!!!!!! I have watched teams play home matches and away on tv all over the place and i can tell you this much, the only teams ive seen have dummy spits and walk of the ground or threaten to go home are india and the pakistan teams and ive seen some ordinary crowed behaviour at the obove teams home countrys.So yes the Ozzys arnt angels by a long way but!!!!!!!And i mean BUT,Dont go around the world saying poor me poor me unless you are Squicky Clean MATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They say the Ozzys are arrogent because we are number one, but how arrogent and Hypocrtical are the indians to point the finger,very scary ,very scary!!

  • Praveen on February 1, 2008, 3:54 GMT

    All those who think this article is biased, first go and read the full verdict and cross examination details.

    Summary of words from the full transcript by HANSEN:

    1. Symonds accepted Sachin was the closest one to them while the argument took place. Hayden, Clarke were just passing them AFTER the argument.

    2. Hayden was adamant that he heard the word "big monkey" BUT COMPLETELY FAILED to recollect even a single word of Harbhajan's remaining tirade.

    3. Clarke was switching to other side going to cover. He did not hear anything.

    So there is no substantial evidence of Harbhajan calling Symonds a monkey. Not was the video able to prove the word was said. All the video could prove was how Hayden & Clarke came to conclusions based on their mate's misinterpretation of Harbhajan's language. And NOT based on what they heard.

    So Get a life Aussies and accept that there is a team which can match you both from competition perspective and also in sledging.

  • Amit on February 1, 2008, 3:49 GMT

    Excellent article and an apt conclusion. May this incident inject some civility in the game. Sunny Gavaskar has kept condemning the Aussie way. The new breed of Indians may have just put an end to that. As a passing thought, can Harbhajan take Clarke and co. to civil court for making false allegations? It may well be the last nail in the coffin.

  • Vij on February 1, 2008, 3:46 GMT

    a well written but ridiculous piece of editorial. the behaviour of the Indians in Australia has been an embarrassing farce. the Aussies are no angels themselves, but if you think the game would be better without any trash-talking or 'sledging', then you are obviously a spectator and not a player, nor ever really have been. the game requires competition, and firing up the opposition is one way to generate that.

    Defending the actions of the BCCI, accusing the Australians...all this is inciting further nationalistic fervour from the undereducated Indian fans and others who hate on the Aussies for no reason except their success. Australia will fade away, and the time is coming, but admitting now that they are what they are is the best way to get them to admit it when we come to the top of world cricket. 2-1 was an unfair result for the dominant Aussies

  • Dev on February 1, 2008, 3:45 GMT

    I would also like to point out to the Indians here that if you are going to say that Aus a racist and that the cronualla riots are an example which I have notice pop up on many posts and stated by Indians I ask you to look back to not less then 10 yrs back when there were riots against Muslims and further to 1984 were there were riots which killed over 3000 sikhs which the India govt will not accept and say that it happened. As a good saying goes look in to your backyard before you look into other and make comment. Indias backyard is not as clean as they would like it to be.

  • SD on February 1, 2008, 3:39 GMT

    I wonder what would have happened if the situation had been reversed and Andrew Symonds called Harbhajan a monkey? I think we all know. The Indians would been indignant with their complaints of racism!!! I wonder why Bucknor was the vilified umpire who had to be removed? Is there a link here? Interesting concept racism!

  • Ben on February 1, 2008, 3:39 GMT

    What a biased article. For instance stating as fact that Clarke claimed a catch off a bump ball. The replays were totally inconclusive. Couldn't tell either way.

    And why do Indians keep questioning as to why Monkey is considered racist???

    Oh that's right. I forgot about the caste system. There is no such thing as racism in India.

    Hey maybe I should go and burn some Indian flags.... Oh thats right... You are allowed to do it to Australia but not vice versa.

    Funny world.

  • sunny on February 1, 2008, 3:35 GMT

    It is true Indians have had very high profile individuals such as Gavaskar, Tendulkar - but yet miserably failed to achieve the success away from the home soil. Further, the country has more than a billion people; and yet a few great icons underperforming can get away and linger in the team. This is something to look into.

    But, this does not alter the fact that Australian have developed an ugly culture of "Sledging" which is not a cricketing skills - this needs to go away! The Aussies need to learn a culture a bit, and they can always. The question is why did Symonds get away when he provoked Bhajji? Why did Brad Hogg get away for his shameful tongue? Is this cricket? Please donot crib if India has developed money and power. And they did because they put hard work; and developed the business. Nobody stops Aussies from doing that - why are they cribbing about it? Please stop all these and focus on the criket !

  • YouAreNoJournalist on February 1, 2008, 3:35 GMT

    What utter garbage, just goes to show cricinfo will post anything no matter how biased and incorrect it is just as long as an indian writes it. You are pathetic and everyone that read it just got a fraction dumber.

    Australia wins, India cries. Same old story

    Makes me sick that these racist indians cant get away with anything.

    Imagine if an australian called an indian a monkey (even though it would be accurate) we would never hear the end of it. Your country is a joke and your team are minnows.

  • Scott on February 1, 2008, 3:32 GMT

    Well after reading all the posts on this subject it is good to see that the Aussies aren't the only single minded racist people in the world. I don't disagree that the Sydney test was a farce but, if you really think that the Indian side did absolutely nothing wrong you were watching a different game. (Mr. Singh’s wicket celebration for 1). Now you guys do have the balance of power in the world of Cricket so if all this is acceptable then game is in more trouble than anyone thinks! I do believe that the umpires lost control of the game and then both sides were at fault at different times. But if I am that far out then I just hope India wins every game from here on in or, they'll find some other reason to go home & blame the Aussies. Bring back the Football as this is not interesting cricket.

  • Karunanidhi on February 1, 2008, 3:26 GMT

    Is n't it a fact that Clarke used the word bastards against Indians? isn't it true that Indians magnanimously withdrew their complaint and Clarke expressed his gratitude? Indians are definitely Angels compared to the sick minded Aussies who in reality were just Pussies.

  • Morgan Gibson on February 1, 2008, 3:25 GMT

    Mukul you are just a parochial nationalist. India got lucky decisions in both Sydney and Perth in the second innings. Harbajhan accted like a fool and the BCCI is a rogue agency that seems as if it is going to continuously hold a gun to the head of the cricketing world when things don't go its way.

    Cheers nationalist.

  • Im_sick-of all on February 1, 2008, 3:25 GMT

    I am an Indian and great admirer of both Indian and Australian criket teams for their level of cricketing skills. I forget everything around whenever I watch these sides play each other. But the just concluded Test series pisses me off now. Though Harbhajan is acquitted, we will never really come to know if he really did or did not racially abuse Symonds. I hope he did not. But it also pains me to say that India is the most racist country in the world. There is so much discrimination and bias based on caste and creed. One would be horrified to imagine the plight of Dalits (as they call them loweest in caste strata), scheduled caste and scheduled tribes. I think the whole of India would do well to address those social issues than to spend so much time on this one-just a game of cricket.

  • Shrinagesh on February 1, 2008, 3:22 GMT

    The Aussies, but for the Umpires would either have LOST the Sydney test or drawn it.What is the big deal about Aussies having won the series?

  • CricketFan on February 1, 2008, 3:21 GMT

    All this could have been avoided, I blame the media to make a big deal about sydney...... I don't think we can ever witness a good sporting match between india and aussie after what happened... Even though I dislike aussies, but I have to respect them the way they play, bunch of professionals and know how to sledge and get away. Being Indian I can say India can do lot better than what they performed in the test the team lacks professionalism (example Yuvraj) and few others I love cricket I love Team India and I want them to be the best by beating Aussies and this can only happen if Team India steps up and be a bunch of professionals. Good luck Team India!!!

  • Nivi on February 1, 2008, 3:19 GMT

    Symonds has been a habitual offender and seems to be a close cousin of uncivilized behavior. His nasty comments on Indian players after their T20 victory to recent incidents show his hatred for Indians. We should not love him either . BCCI should not invite him to India and if they do he will be a great security risk unto himself because of his attitude towards India and Indians.It will create more unpleasant incidents too. Pl dont invite Ponting and Clarke either.

  • Philip John Joseph on February 1, 2008, 3:19 GMT

    David, you are again getting stuck with the 1 billion people argument. Keep in mind that the BCCI is one of the most corrupt and incompetent sports organizations around and is incapable of selecting the best Indian cricketers. I assure you that if the best Indian cricketers showed up in Australia, they would wipe the floor with Australia and Adam Gilchrist and anything else you or Australia could come up with. Australia is nothing. The per capita olympic medals argument is nonsense, because even Cuba makes that argument. Australia competes in bogus sports using the communist philosophy of government assistance for easy medal sports. Let's talk about the Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Denmark and Norway who pick up medals in real sports with a combined population less than that of Australia, and without large scale government assistance for sport. Australia is a lame joke.

  • Typo Sultan on February 1, 2008, 3:17 GMT

    Australia is still the best cricket side in the world. Most of their recent teams also showed the worst sportsmanship in recent history ... McGrath sledging the West Indian batsman and getting incensed when he got a nice reply. Pointing is not exactly the Marquis of Queensbury. So for that side to put on the mantle of righteousness is laughable. They have the talent and will to win without sledging but their cultural tendencies perhaps want to foist on the other teams the same qualities that they have in abundance i.e. being "low life" thugs. The umpires have a selective hearing on the field it seems. If all the teams think Australia is the worst sledging team then there must be some fire where the smoke is no? The Indians do themselves no favor by whining but need to show some consistency in their on-field performance. The ICC should be faulted for not enforcing a zero tolerance for insults and for not using technology for accurate decisions on the field during a hard fought series.

  • Cricket Lover on February 1, 2008, 3:17 GMT

    what a lot of garbage written by Indian supporters-complaining about bad umpiring decisions-what about bad dedecisions in India against Australia when India had their own umpires.Anyway it doesn't matter wether Harbishan was guilty or not it was the way the Indian Board acted that was so disgraceful-fancy threatening to take the team home-- it is the most disgraceful event that i have seen in world sport.If that is not flexing your muscle i dont know what is --Should have been let go home and fined $60.000.000 dollars

  • Vij on February 1, 2008, 3:16 GMT

    a well written but ridiculous piece of editorial. the behaviour of the indians in australia has been an embarrassing farce. the aussies are no angels themselves, but if you think the game would be better without any trash-talking or 'sledging', then you are obviously a spectator and not a player, nor ever really have been. the game requires competition, and firing up the opposition is one way to generate that.

    defending the actions of the BCCI, accusing the australians...all this is inciting further nationalistic fervour from the undereducated indian fans and others who hate on the aussies for no reason except their success. australia will fade away, and the time is coming, but admitting now that they are what they are is the best way to get them to admit it when we come to the top of world cricket. 2-1 was an unfair result for the dominant aussies

    congrats, you got paid money to write this, but its us cricket fans who have to deal with the tension you are deliberately keeping alive.

  • Ken on February 1, 2008, 3:15 GMT

    What a bias, racist blog I couldn't believe the comparison of Ponting to Bush. Hey Morkul and Indians answer this! Harbhajan and Symonds aside (we all know he's guilty and got off by incompetence ONLY) you all claim the Aussies to be cheats, liars, sooks, etc...yet in typical Indian fashion (only accept decisions that go in our favour, and are blind to your own players wrong doings) apart from Dhoni claimed catched, and Harbhajan's standing his ground after being cleaned bowled in England and having ball tamperers like Tendulkar and Dravid, and excessive appealers like Sehwag in your team who have shown their stuff on other tours..here's some facts for this tour that you left out. Youvraj and Ganguly refusing to walk....Kartick incredible claimed catch, Karticks intimidation of the umpire, Karticks spitting at Clarke, Kumble and Harbhajan's excessive appealing, Laxman putting a sus object into his pocket before they bowled in Perth(alot of sus swing) Sharma's 2 right gloves and so on

  • Paul on February 1, 2008, 3:10 GMT

    Great,objective analysis. To be honest, Sydney match should be crapped. Ponting is not a good example of a captain.

  • Shekar on February 1, 2008, 3:10 GMT

    Mukul, I congratulate you not so much for the piece but for succeeding so brilliantly in raising the heckles of all the Aussie "mates" who have spewed vitriol on this page and getting them all worked up into a sub-continental bashing frenzy. Very few balanced opinions from these 'hard but fair' types, I must say. Thank heavens that these worthies don't represent the bulk of Aussie opinion, which IMO is far more mature and balanced and appreciative of skill regardless of color.

    Cheers!

  • GKG on February 1, 2008, 3:09 GMT

    Regarding Ponting's and the Australian team's behaviour, do we remember Ponting at the award ceremony after the 2006 Champions Trophy? He aksed the MC to move on as he was introducing the guests then climbed on the dais, brushed Shard Pawar (BCCI Chairman and a Federal Minister)aside and called the whole team to the dais for a photo. Good behaviour? Certainly NOT!!

  • adam on February 1, 2008, 3:09 GMT

    The political views aside, let's look pretty closely at the character of Harbhajan. Noe but the most one eyed Indian supporters doubt that he racially vilified Symonds. Sure, the burden of proof was not met. He has not been man enough to stand up, admit that he behaved improperly and take his medicine. Further, he assumedly sat through the appeal whislt his lawyer made submissions going to his clear record when Harbhajan must have known that he was still serviing a suspended sentence for misconduct. These personal deceptions from the man are at the root of Australian ire. Hard but FAIR. If he ahd the courage to racially vilify, then he needs to have the steel to admit it. Australians were disgusted with Lehmans outburst against the Sri lankans some years ago but were prepared to forgive the man because he stood before the world to own up to mistakes made in the heat of the moment. There were no mics in that instance. just one mans sense of fairness and honour..

    Le

  • Atul on February 1, 2008, 3:08 GMT

    Wow, Ponting is compared to Bush. That's more insulting than comparison to monkey. I'll be a monkey in that choice anyday.

  • David on February 1, 2008, 3:07 GMT

    Your article includes a lot that Indian & Australian media left out,but to call it unbiased would be most inaccurate.Your hyperbole in describing Clarke as slippery & an unreliable witness (which Hansen didn't say) & deriding him because he claimed a catch he thought he had taken (and which was given out),comparing Ponting to Bush and complaining about lopsided umpiring (if you speak to any cricket fan,the umpiring is aways biased against your team when on tour) discredits a lot of the solid commentary in your piece and,in places,smacks of sour grapes.Not to mention you ignore that ALL teams sledge -hard-including India!I agree the Australian team need to pull their heads in,but I would posit that the Indian team is identical to the Australian:not short of arrogant, precious children who expect to be adored,cossetted & have their whims catered to.Both sides need to realise that most fans just want to watch good cricket &don't want to see either side descend to this.Get on with the game

  • Anton Karan on February 1, 2008, 3:05 GMT

    In response to David(about 1 hour ago); I read the judgement too and I guess there is a difference between just mediocre reading and smart reading. Kesavan has highlighted a key point using the appropriate words whereas the (mild) language used by the NZ Judge is characteristic both of his country and his position. The Aussies better learn to suck it up; as much as they love a fight they can't take a loss without whining.

    As for the record in tests, it is easy to do it when you have the likes of Steve Buknor play the 12th man!!!

  • bl100 on February 1, 2008, 3:04 GMT

    Indians wanted to play hard and be friend on and off the field as clear from Harbhajan's acknowledging Brett Lee for a ball well bowled. But Aussies dont want to be friends as Symonds said Test cricket is not the place to be friendly and he started all the provocation. The series would have been remembered for great cricket played with highest level of skills and not for all the controvery if only Aussies would have accepted the friendship.

  • rashid on February 1, 2008, 2:58 GMT

    `Can Aussies play a game and win without sledging, influencing umpires, taking help from Media - should be the prime question. ` Yes they can win but there 30% win would have convert deafeat.

  • Seshu on February 1, 2008, 2:57 GMT

    Very well written. Kudos, Mukul.

    I guess this series between Australian Sledgers Vs Indian Dodgers has brought out a very different yet positive quality of the Indian cricket. India not only halted the great run of Aussies but also has shown them where they stand as players and how Aussies on-field attitude sucks.

    Although the 2nd test was a powder keg ignited by horrific umpiring and anti-sportmanship attitude of Aussie players, which was on its way for blowing up the remainder of the series, Harbhajan was the one who finally dodged the bullet. Its really good to see the Indian players and BCCI stand solidly behind Harbhajan and also effectively putoff the explosive situation.

    The eventual smoke has smeared the spirit of cricket and is definitely a lesson for all involved.

    Finally a message for all those foul mouthed & bad attitude players - shut the hell up & play some good cricket.

  • Sangam on February 1, 2008, 2:55 GMT

    Very well said. India was saved by the experience of the Kumble and Tendulkar. But this experience would be missing when the team tours again in futue. But they have set a precedent for the future teams touring Australia to follow. Australia will never be looked like unvincible team as it was once. The Big five in the Indian Cricket (Sachin, Sourav, Dravid and Kumble) should be taken into the board to nurture young talent after their eventual reitirement. Now India is having a great pool of youngsters to choose from. They have to be nurtured properly to become World beaters again. Gary Kristen's inputs during current Test series are invaluable. He is a right choice for the post of Coach.

  • Dazza on February 1, 2008, 2:51 GMT

    This is still degenerating into an US vs THEM mentality. Australia needs to clean up it's act (to some extent) but Indian's, you need to realise (and many do) that we are good at cricket not because of sledging, but because we TRAIN hard, whilst your players are simply lazy and dont want to do the hard work. If you all want to be stupid and blindly worship a bunch of lazy arrogant asses like Ganguly, you go ahead. Meanwhile we will continue to dominate and happily critisize and drop any player here who does not perform, wheather there name is Steve Waugh or Stuart Clarke is irrelvant in this country. Our team is decimated by injuries and we still won the series against the team with self titles "worlds greatest ever batting line-up". Yes we have some cleaning up to do, but we are still great, while India is still aspiring to be great and even worse, cannot admit their faults, unlike the aussie team who already admitted improvements are needed. Didnt hear Kumble admit that. Sad...

  • rkcheeky on February 1, 2008, 2:50 GMT

    It is all about power for India and CricInfo.

    No matter the nationality of the umpire or the judge, any decision against an Indian is unfair.

    Mukul, you and all your countrymen who cannot see the other side of the debate are the Ugly Indians.

    Harbajan is a disgrace.

  • Simmo on February 1, 2008, 2:45 GMT

    Ponting has matured enormously and deserves to be captain - he may never have charm but who cares? He's the best batsman in the world and is brilliant to watch.

    What people in both Australia and India tend to forget is there is a cultural difference; Australians like to get into opposition teams and intimidate them, Indians are emotional and over the top (save Ganguly, who plays in a distinctly Australian manner). Neither of these tendancies are a problem. Unfortunately, the way India plays does tend to get them on the wrong side of the umpires. Is this the fault of the Australian team? I think not. If they want this to change, Kumble needs to stop appealing every time the ball pitches on the wicket.

    Australians are universally unloved as a cricket team, and to some extent this is fair; we are too arrogant and go too far with sledging at times. But being unloved may also be somewhat due to the fact that noone can beat us (consistently).

  • Alex on February 1, 2008, 2:39 GMT

    There is a game in M tv where guys used to scold each others mom better bhaji,symmomds,sreesanth can try there...and ponting,hayden and clarke can act as cheer guys..

    And BCCI can ask for a appeal but not for a verdict.

    Wht the hell is going on, Cricket or War. Guys this is not a place to show you Patriotism.

    And Symmonds wht u mean by test match is not a place to be friends? Are you grown up....

    And media guys please stop adding fuel...When i saw a adv for India-australia series as well as India-Pakisthan series its akward. its fueling the younger generation.

    To all the cricketers stop sledging and let your bat & ball speak. Younger generation is watching you so dont be a bad example to them.

  • Jeetendra on February 1, 2008, 2:38 GMT

    What about the shock and awe of the Indian board holding the Aussies hostage and threatening to cancel the tour like a spoilt brat taking his bat and wickets after losing a neighbourhood game? Cricinfo is degenerating into a cheap tabloid. "Kevasan" will write a shrill pro-india piece and in response some caucasian writer will ask for peace. Great for Indian readers.

    Way to keep those Indian web hits coming in. Always remember dear readers, a billion people means atleast 100 million people with internet, 99 million of whom come to Cricinfo and generate revenue. Its a shame that a billion people can only generate 3 players of talent AND integrity: Tendulkar, Dravid and Kumble.

    There is very little hope of this comment getting passed, but I used to truly loving reading the articles on this site before this divisive controversy. I just want Cricinfo to atleast try and be impartial.

  • Simmo on February 1, 2008, 2:36 GMT

    First of all, I'd like to say that I do not completely agree with how Australians act on the field, we often do go over the top and are too arrogant. I also agree that Clarke is a dodgy witness in a case where he is backing up his best mate on the team, he obviously didn't hear anything.

    Having said this, this article is, for the most part, a heap of crap. You START to talk about the strength of the Indian economy having an impact on world cricket, but don't mention how worrying that is. That Kumble and Tendulkar can force the BCCI to flex their muscle does not vindicate it, it makes it worse; now individual players are controlling the administration. Clarke's catch may have been dodgy, but replays show it WAS a catch, everyone seems to forget this. He also stood his ground as a stunned player having received his first ever 1st ball duck, he wasn't questioning the decision.

    Ricky Ponting may be charmless, he may spit in his hands - he was brought up in bogan Launceston.

  • greg on February 1, 2008, 2:30 GMT

    It seems that it is more a clash of cultures than many may want to admit, neither side is correct, the author of this article is completely ignorant about Australian culture, it is something that Australians have been accused of in the past and yet I think through the stewardship of Steve Waugh there was seen to be a many benefits to be derived from trying to understand, empathise and respect the cultures of the countries in which the team was playing. The current and past Indian teams to me have an air of arrogance about them that is totally distasteful to me, upperclass, privately schooled snobs who are far too precious, they now have the appearance of brats who having not got their way are prepared to take their bats and sulk of home to mummy. I do not go in for conspiracy theories however taking the aggression away from Australian cricketers is akin to cutting the hair of Sampson, we saw the results in Perth, if everyteam in the world played as India does the game would be poorer

  • Krishna on February 1, 2008, 2:30 GMT

    And i am sure you aint going to approve my cmment just because i am talking sanity and trying to talk cricket and trying to say its just a game! You cant rule out careers of umpires just because they had one poor day and you ve huge suitcases of MONEY!

  • Krishna on February 1, 2008, 2:27 GMT

    Pathetic! Typical India centric illiterate article! If we are to go by the indian fans and indian media which do this! 1) They bring down houses of their own players if they come out of world cup! 2) Their board pays them and gifts them for a T20 world cup more than any board would even respect a One day world cup! (after ridiculing them after world cup :)) 3) They talk about culture and tradition and call australians Sledgers and their crowd(of the so called cultured country) abuses annd mimicks Symonds(a foreign Guest) as monkey in a public stadium ! 4) They hang "I AM BUCKNOR" boards on Donkeys not having any concern about how bucknor's family might be undergoing! He is just having a bad match just like your YUVRAJ is! 5) They call australians who over appealed for not knowing appealing is a right and also indians were almost suspended for over appealling in south africa! Go GET AA LIFE and play CRICKET ! STOP CRIBBING! Try becomin No1 else shut up and accept facts!

  • Paul on February 1, 2008, 2:27 GMT

    Nice opinion piece. I couldn't agree more that umpires are biased down under. LBW decisions suspiciously always seem to go against touring teams. How else can you explain this "fact" other than Procter and Co are risking lucrative careers and criminal convictions in an elaborate conspiracy with the Australians. I also can't believe Clarke and Ponting claimed those catches in Sydney. I mean, when you slow it right down on a digital camera it looks as if the ball touched the ground... maybe. Surely, a more honest person would be able to feel if some edge of the ball touched the ground a few milliseconds before catching it? The Captain and heir apparent clearly can't be trusted. Ponting showed his true colours by running to the umpires when Harbahjan called Symonds a monkey. It's not even a swear word in India for heavens sake! It was only retaliation anyway, after Symonds pointed out his bowling average. Stop. Breath. Take a look at yourself.

  • Ross on February 1, 2008, 2:24 GMT

    To run a lap of the SCG, tumbling as if you scored the world cup winner when you take a wicket is as much a disgrace in the game of cricket as I can imagine. No one said anything about that. Until you place your own umpiring officials into the firing line - you have no right to make any comment on the quality of those currently operating, generally with distinction.

  • GUS on February 1, 2008, 2:23 GMT

    aust 2-india 1 - better luck next time

  • Bogan Ponting on February 1, 2008, 2:23 GMT

    I couldn't agree more with the George Bush comment. That was hilarious ... Great article, keep them coming Mr. Kesevan!!! But on a pitch with true bounce no bowler can stop Ricky Ponting, despite his antics on the field he is still my fav. batsmen ....

  • ponting-aka-bush on February 1, 2008, 2:21 GMT

    dude, you are hilarious. this is the funniest paragraph I have read in a while.... "His first tour was dogged by rumours of bad behaviour, his second tour was an embarrassment (he scored less than a dozen runs in three Test matches), his onfield aggression struck Indians as offensive, his unlovely habit of spitting into his palms and rubbing them together left desis wondering how he got people to shake hands with him and not only did he look remarkably like George Bush, he behaved like him too." take that you a(p)ussies. you guys sucked up to Bush and sent troops to Iraq - and to top it all, your cricket captain looks & acts like one.... how intriguing... :D

  • RedNeck Ricky on February 1, 2008, 2:18 GMT

    When will Ricky and his team learn to be civil, he out making comments civility is a thing of the 50s!!! After all these years I guess Ricky will always remain the little boy from Laucheston.

  • Calexico on February 1, 2008, 2:14 GMT

    "At the end of the Adelaide Test India had won 93 tests since 1932. By contrast Adam Gilchrist had won 73 in 96 matches. How can a country obsessed by cricket and with 1 billion people to choose from be so average?"

    Thanks Andrew - made me laugh. I suspect India would be better if they devoted less time to burning effigies.

  • Gautam on February 1, 2008, 2:04 GMT

    I still cannot believe this. A few days back this guy had written an article about the same incident and the whole world had literally exploded on him. Now he posts an article which may seem pro-Indian and people go gaga over him. It reinforces the fact that people just like to read & see what their eyes want to. And I reiterate my comments from his last post .. the whole human race is racist !

  • cricketlover on February 1, 2008, 2:03 GMT

    All the aussies who fume at the agression of the indian players should first have a look at the behaviour of the oz players.Many of the OZ greats were also not angels...were they...???

  • Jack Ranasinghe on February 1, 2008, 1:59 GMT

    The Australian media led by Ch 9 and AM 1116 has been on a 72 hour trip to whip-up national outrage on the Harbajan Racial Taunt issue, whilst conveniently ignoring the evidence and Justice Hansen's reasons. Where was this Australian national outcry against racism when Jayasuriya was called a "black bastard?" Can somebody please dig up the press clippings from back then? I'm sure they'd be worth reading. Unless of course, you're a Ch 9 journalist...

  • Money talks on February 1, 2008, 1:56 GMT

    Dress it up however you like, but you can't get away from the fact that the BCCI and the Indian team would not accept any umpires decision and have blackmailed there way out of everything this summer ! Sack the umpire(or we will go home !) Habajan must be cleared (or we will go home !), in fact we have flown all our players to Adelaide where our chartered a plane will fly the team home if he is not cleared ! The behind the scenes filth and financial threats that cause the downgrading of the charges just goes to prove that money realy does talk in Cricket ! India you are a disgrace !

  • S.N.Singh on February 1, 2008, 1:56 GMT

    Symond is the one whom should be FINED.It was clearly proven at the apeal that he started the confrontation. If not for his Remarks, Harbhajan would not have said to him "TERI-MAAKI"(your mother) sounded like "MONKEY". Micheal Clarke lied to what he heard, which makes the rest of witnesses were doing the same thing. In this SERIES of Cricket it is clearly recognised that Austrailians are dominating the Umpires. The Umpires are affraid of Austrailians Players.They tells Umpire what to do. They push themself out of the base when the are hit in the wicket. They are given NOT OUT, whereas other teams players are given out by the Umpires? They are pussing their pads down the line and pads away, Tendulkar was given out that way? How long other teams will suffer to these decions? Tendulkar suffered a lot to bad decisions. Mr. Speed should never mentioned a person(Harbhajan) past behavior to his presnt action, which was proven wrong. It shows his(Speed) Baisness in decision making

  • Archana on February 1, 2008, 1:55 GMT

    I have been following this whole story for a while.Can anyone please explain it to me.Through out history it had always been a white man racially abusing non-whites,then "they" decided it's wrong,set the definition (what words fall into racial comments), "they" decided to punish people for not abiding by their rules and now "they" are upset when the verdict didn't go their way.

  • Gibbowr on February 1, 2008, 1:55 GMT

    Thank you Mukul. What a wonderfully crafted piece of English writing. Superb! The content too, is well thought out and as seen by the response, evocative.

    However, the facts remain. NEITHER side was innocent during the Sydney Test. And as is common amongst many professional sporting codes WORLDWIDE, there is evidence of a LACK of RESPECT for the opponents in sport these days. Not in the sense of sporting skills, but in the sense of mutual admiration and recognition of a fellow competitor.

    A win at all costs element has pervaded the arena of sport. Sadly the Australian cost of winning has been the loss of integrity, character assassination and honesty. The Indian team's cost was similar.

    But the real cost will be the performance of these players in the future. Scandal, slurs, innuendos, allegations will follow them forever. They will no longer be able to err in any area of their life without excessive analysis being applied. The price of Sydney is the Blowtorch of Scutiny!

  • Indyman on February 1, 2008, 1:55 GMT

    As an Australian of Indian descent, I found the article provided a reasonable summary of the matter but with two much of an anti-australian bias The comparion to G W Bush is mean, inflammatory and spineless)

    Whilst I consider sledging a childish part of the game that should be outlawed, I am sick of subcontinent writers placing this above ball tampering, overappealling and gambling on matches that the subcontinent cricketers have been guilty of - Which is worse Mukal?

    Whilst cricket's centre has shifted to India (and there is nothing wrong with that), only when India wins a ODI World Cup and consistently wins on the road, will they be considered as the best country in cricket. They barely beat a shorthanded England (they were lucky the series was not 1-1) and they should have beat Pakistan 3-0 but only managed 1-0. This combined with their ODI WC performance makes the world view India as a talented team but one that does not win consistently enough ie underacheivers!!

  • Sam on February 1, 2008, 1:51 GMT

    The article is bias as is the hypocritical Indians....Sydney Test FACTS Bucknor gives 2 wrong decisions only Symonds and Dravid, Ponting and Clarkes catches (would easily be given catches NO CLEAR CUT EVIDENCE TO SAY OTHERWISE) unlike Dhoni's in England or Karthick's pathetic claim in Adelaide. Tedulkar and Laxman were both out early in their innings plum LBW though both went on to get centuries (INDIANS GLADLY ACCEPT DECISIONS IN THEIR FAVOUR) funnily enough no whingeing by Aussies as they accept the umpires decsion as FINAL good or bad. Indians couldn't hange on for 8 minutes and lost 3 wickets in 5 balls to a part time bowler (can't blame the umpires for those wickets) and lost an unlosable match LOL, how was the great sportsmanship from the Indians though who sent Sharma out with 2 right handed gloves for time wasting!! Didn't the Indians have sour grapes blaming everyone esle for their own poor cricket, accusing the umpires, aussies etc...as CHEATS LOL calling the kettle black.

  • Asmani on February 1, 2008, 1:48 GMT

    Great Article! I still have a question: Has Political Correctness gone too far? According to Tendulkar, he heard Harbhajan saying "Maan Ki" and not "Monkey". From the ruling it appears that it's okay to swear over someone's mother but not call them by the species they graduated from? Or is it that the Australian culture values mothers rungs below monkeys. I don't get it! Asmani S

  • David on February 1, 2008, 1:47 GMT

    I am surprised by the comment that the thing that satisfied Mukul the most was Judge Hansen's characterisation of Clarke as "an unreliable witness". I read the judgement and the judge does not make that finding. He notes at [47] that there is a discrepancy between Symonds and Clarke but makes no assessment of Clarke's evidence at all. It is unhelpful to misrepresent the judge's findings in that regard but I gather the writer is attempting to be provocative rather than accurate.

    As an Australian i have a grudging respect for India. They play the game tough and stand up to the Australians.

    At the end of the day I am still surprised why India is such an underperformer on the field. At the end of the Adelaide Test India had won 93 tests since 1932. By contrast Adama Gilchrist had won 73 in 96 matches. How can a country obsessed by cricket and with 1 billion people to choose from be so average?

  • Dev on February 1, 2008, 1:47 GMT

    Excellent article.

  • craig on February 1, 2008, 1:44 GMT

    well don't you indians play the victim well.BooHoo get a hanky dry your eyes if u wanna play park cricket and be sweet go ahead but it is international cricket which India run with their money.You ae biased in your opinions of whathappened in Sydney and in my opinion with my experience inlaw enforcement Singh is a bloody liar and not to accept the evidence of australian players shows how much clout the BCCI have,I would have preferred you pick up your bat and ball and go home and cry and let us pick an Australian A side who can play hard.

  • Raani on February 1, 2008, 1:42 GMT

    Utter ridiculousness! Whether or not you are an Indian (or just an Indian Cricket supporter) You can not seriously believe that this is balanced and unbiased! BCCI (Blatantly Corrupt Cricket Idiots) Have used stand over tactics and gotten away with it. Symonds and Ponting may be thugs but they are a joy to watch. Harbhajan has done this before and will do it again, he disgusts me and shames me to be Indian! Worst of all is the lies of Tendulkar! I used to worship him but his lies make me feel like burning an effigy. All you one eyed supporters ACTUALLY need to take a long hard look at yourselves!

  • Andrew on February 1, 2008, 1:42 GMT

    I am fan of Oz’ cricket…..What a fiasco!!!!! Who created it????...Symonds provoked Mr. Singh and he got it back as “Big Monkey”….Therefore, it is lessons for all sports personalities ……Try hard to make it fair one and not to provoke opposition’s during game…….Mighty Oz’s are falling…That’s why they are playing mind games wit the opposition?.....Oz’s sucks….They are playing like bunch of old ladies…..After reporting to umpires, Rick Ponting made “Symonds” very popular as “Big Monkey”…He will be called popularly in future “ Big Monkey ass”…Thanks to Ricky Ponting….Sack him as captain CA… Andrew

  • Mike - NZ on February 1, 2008, 1:40 GMT

    A great read - beautifully written and great enunciation of the historical context against which events transpired. To Saxon (sic), presumably W,A & P also, there was no "lecture" about Bush/Iraq - just a statement of fact. That you deride that as socialist/communist says more about your politics than Mukul's who was illustrating from another perspective ugly Western arrogance.

  • Luke on February 1, 2008, 1:32 GMT

    Hang on... Just hang on. Amongst the glowing approval for the article (which is a good article clearly articulating his view) many of you have condoned the slaughter of 100000 Iraqi civilians being compared to Australians sledging in cricket. This has been my biggest problem with the response of some Indian commentators - overreaction. An entire crowd in Mumbai borrowed a KKK slogan that black people are monkey-like and I now have to listen to some say that Indians are never racist. I am not saying that there are not many racist Australians, but the Indians are hardly blameless. The judge also said that if he had know that this was Harbi's 4th or 5th offence he would have suspended him.. Get off your soap-boxes. The Aussies, whilst very much part of the problem, are hardly America dropping bombs on civilians

  • Raja on February 1, 2008, 1:30 GMT

    What a piece of tripe! To write such a load of rubish for what--to defend Harbhajan Singh the man who has to have a 3rd umpire give him out when bowled, a man who is an obvious liar, and one who is a damn chucker too!Mukul just get the hell out of here!

  • Luke on February 1, 2008, 1:29 GMT

    As an Aussie, I'm going to be argued against, but simply put, the political acts of the BCCI and the Indian team was uncalled for. The argument against Harbhajan was flawed as there was no evidence and by prejudicing the case with all manner of threats - both subtle and open - the Indians managed to lose respect from many. On the evidence presented Judge Hansen made the right call. Symonds does need to pull his head in, but by the same token, so do players on all teams. The article is right to remember the genesis of this entire debate was the disgraceful treatment of Symonds by the Indian crowds - worse than even the "Hadlee's a w.nker" chants at the MCG. The graphic images of monkey actions did not serve the Indian case. The Indian players need to be very careful around Symonds to just simply focus on his game with their words - he is a hot-head and I can see how Harbhajan was trying to get under his skin. Just say something like "betcha can't hit this for 6".

  • Glen on February 1, 2008, 1:26 GMT

    What a racist article. Comparing Ponting to Bush etc etc. And with all the Indian replies agreeing to this racist article. Racism is obviously common place in India.

  • Vinobha Bhave Maulana Azad on February 1, 2008, 1:24 GMT

    It's sad that some disagreements--when several hundred people get involved in them--end up doing disservice to both opinions and groups.

    I don't expect anything better from the Aussies but I'm very disappointed in some of the Indians. Is the land that gave birth to the Buddha and Gandhi? What if they win and are better at hitting a ball with a wooden stick than you? Please ask Bhajji, Sree, Karthick, etc. to behave like someone that Gandhiji would be proud of. Don't behave like Aussies. That is not you. That is not your motherland and that is not your heritage.

  • Dev Singh on February 1, 2008, 1:17 GMT

    What a one sided article it is. There seems to be no mention in the article of what happened in Mumbai (proven that it occured) in regards to symonds. On top of that BCCI is flexing its muscel to show that it can do what it wants. Do not cry wolf when the truth of the matter is that Indian players have been abusing western players for many years in hindi. Bhajji admitted to it so how long has this been happening. How also can india judges others over racism when religous racism and colour racism is so prevelent in india society. Also in regards to the Brad Hogg issue do not tell me Indians take offence to that as they call each other BA&^$%$ all the time. If Anil and Tandukka are the ones who told the BCCI that the series should not continue till Bhajji cahrges were dropped why did Tendukka latter deny this? futher more your part about the increase in growth of India is full of Bull since most of you population still live under the poverty level.

  • damo on February 1, 2008, 1:15 GMT

    Yes, congratulations on a wonderful piece of journalitic crap!. This article justifies that the Indian cricket team beleive they are bigger than the game itself. This alone damages our great game!

  • Charles on February 1, 2008, 1:13 GMT

    It bothers me to see just how much racism exists in India and Australia. Although there are some valid points, this article and the comments followed proves it beyond doubt. I'm sure it does exist every where else but just hope this doesn't represent the majority at least in these countries.

  • Sir Donald on February 1, 2008, 1:07 GMT

    Harbahjan is a disgrace, sledging should not be personal, Australia is still better than India and Test cricket started long before and will continue long after India shoots itself in the foot and gets kicked out.

  • Arun Balakrishnan on February 1, 2008, 1:05 GMT

    Your article is just long winded and hardly makes any clear arguments.. Australian sledging (such as "whats up mate, why are you not hitting out") is perfectly acceptable.. If they use abusive language this should have been reported and rules formulated to forbid it.. Instead Harbajan calling Symonds "monkey" (which i think he did both in Bombay & Sydney) is racist and not acceptable.. He should have been punished.. To me it would have made more sense for the Indian team to have complained and nullify the sydney test result. I think it is the test result anger/frustration that got channeled here.. Any talk that Indians (India) is not racist is rubbish, just look at how casteist we are especially wrt to Harijans, it is worse than racism.. Yes even today, it is still there.. I agree though that Proctoer should have interviewed both sides before giving his verdict.. Looks like Tendulkar didnt hear Harbhajan say "monkey" whereas couple of australians did..

  • GB on February 1, 2008, 1:04 GMT

    Many thought the issue was over. But this Oz media wants to continue the controversy. I think all Oz media guys need some sort of medical attention

  • Dazza on February 1, 2008, 1:03 GMT

    Im glad this is over but the definitive black vs white (no pun intended!) arguments I am hearing are a worrying sign that we are far from a globalised world! All this "no im Indian so India is 100% right" and "no im an Aussie so we are 100% right". What a lot of bollocks on both sides. Both hypocrits on both sides and both have done dodgy things and both need to clean up their acts. You have both disgraced the game with your actions and people in both Australia and India who are commenting have disgraced themselves and humanity with their narrow minded parochial views. How about thinking for yourselves like a HUMAN and not an Indian or Aussie emotional sheep? Now can we just get on with playing the cricket, the way it is supposed to be? And can the ICC actually police the game properly so that this garbage of a situation does not re-occur? Crikey!

  • Nancy Croft on February 1, 2008, 1:02 GMT

    Statement 47 of the verdict: "Indeed Mr Clarke went so far as to say that he did not hear Mr Symonds say anything. Given Mr Symonds%u2019 own acceptance that he initiated the exchange and was abusive towards Mr Singh, that is surprising"

    i.e. judge Hansen dismissed Clarke's testimony as unrealiable! Is this guy going to be the next capt of Aus? God Save Australia!!

  • The Earl Of Chutney on February 1, 2008, 1:02 GMT

    Wow.

    I think to say that this has been blown out of proportion would be a resounding understatement. The veracity of opinionated bloggers - and the media in general - create a situation so unbelievably turbulent that it’s a wonder some sort of war hasn’t been declared. After a succession of fantastically impartial and balanced pieces on this whole affair (Peter Roebuck’s latest is noteworthy) the last thing the game needs is the seething patriotism of Mr. Kesavan, whose writing has again stoked a barrage of anti-Australian sentiment.

    No matter how you spin it, there is no way of denying that each team was just as ‘in the wrong’ as the other in the Sydney test, and trying to pick blame is a largely opinion and nationality based exercise, with skewed facts and hazy verdicts.

    So how about we think of this series as a hard-fought and fantastically entertaining one, which, for the most part, was played in great competition.

    Let’s get some perspective. It is, after all, a game.

  • Asif on February 1, 2008, 1:01 GMT

    You go Mukul, well written. I agree that Aussie's are teaching the tactics of the game on Channel 9, but how other teams can get the wining formula. That is to learn bad mouth from them too.

    Since Bahji is cleared now i can see Aussie's are burning in media about BCCI power. its nothing got to do with Inidan board, it was justice well served.

  • Glenn Bradbury on February 1, 2008, 0:58 GMT

    Mr. Kesavan, Thanks for expressing the opinion of (except,perhaps,Australians)the entire cricket world. Wonderful article. Thanks once again for the satisfying reading your article made.

  • skeepe on February 1, 2008, 0:56 GMT

    I certainly hope those who are saying this is a fair and balanced article are doing so with the greatest of sarcasm. This is utter tripe. It paints one side as being completely in the wrong and one as completely in the right when they were both as bad as each other.

    I feel it would be remiss not to remind you of the Tendulkar and Laxman decisions when both should have been given LBW, of the Symonds LBW decision in Perth when he quite clearly hit the ball, of Tendulkar being given not out when clearly out on 20 in Adelaide before going on to make 150+, Ganguly standing his ground despite being clearly caught (something I note Clarke is reviled for, why not Ganguly also?)... I could go on and on and on.

    At the end of the day, nobody comes out of this smelling of roses, least of all the BCCI and their apparent subordinates, the ICC.

  • jim on February 1, 2008, 0:56 GMT

    hey alsch.I think its sad the way you think .YOu gotta learn from mistakes not encourage them more and as for your information if calling someone a black monkey is not racial abuse then TELL ME HOW MONKEY COULD FIGURE AS ONE

  • Maka on February 1, 2008, 0:55 GMT

    All this pales into insignificance compared to one act - the booking of the jet by the Indians to fly out if the decision (of the second iteration of the judicial process) wasn't favourable.

    If that is the attitude of the BCCI and/or the Indian team, a large number of Australians feel that cricket would be better off without them.

    Despite the press, H Singh (the only serial offender in this argument) wasn't 'exonerated'. "Unproven" is not the same as "not guilty". Is there a jet standing by in Melbourne in case an LBW appeal is turned down at the Twenty20?

  • Sathish Kumar on February 1, 2008, 0:54 GMT

    Well noted mukul. u have put it on very aptly and in a sequence, that when well read and understood, any undercooked mind can see that cricket was the worst loser but will come up triumphantly again. some ppl can not digest the superiority in economy of the indian cricket board. now the australian media had to play its part and so they are doing it now. but what a sorry issue they have to highlight making themselves look like blinkered horses. lets move on as everyone have even when indians or any other sub continent teams have experienced raw deals from the then giants of international cricket. wipe away ur tears and get on with it seriously boys. harbahajan and symonds should be reprimanded strongly and kept out of some games by their respective captains as a show of respect to the game. and then have ur beer at the end of the game mate.

  • Andy N on February 1, 2008, 0:53 GMT

    One more peeve. I hate it when some fans keep referring this as a man's game and to cop it on the chin. Hogwash. This is a professional sport being played by people who depend on it for their living. How would you like it if in your office (for those employed), if a colleague or competitor, abused you in foul language ? Would you cop it on the chin ?

    Going off on a tangent, if its such a man's game or place to show off your machismo, why did Australia not play in Srilanka in the 96 worldcup (rightfully)? Yes, because it was too dangerous. Remember guys its a sport. Not a place to mouth off obscenities at your wife, family, race etc. Personally I would like to see sachin hitting brett lee's ball for four, brett lee getting back at sachin by getting him out, Ganguly's off side game, Hayden's domination, Murali's wicked bowling - All these define cricket to me. Not sledging and abusing and foul mouthing (from cricketers of any country)

  • venkatesh on February 1, 2008, 0:52 GMT

    your analysis is excellent but very simple. why that Australians does not have common sense to think properly this simple issue.

  • jim on February 1, 2008, 0:50 GMT

    Excellent article mukul .And i would also like to say to most of the australians who have posted comments on this "GROW UP".Australia is no longer no1.I am sure brett lee is more than capable of defending himself if slapped on the backside ,and what about the supposed future captain,He will lie ,cheat and then say he was right when ther is CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE to the contrary and as for symonds well i dont know what to say .I think he just is a big crybaby who cant take it.THE AUSTRALIANS LIKE DISHING OUT BUT DONT KNOW HOW TO Take,IT and as for MR PROCTOR PLEASE GET him out of here .HE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO REFEREE

  • Macca in Brisbane on February 1, 2008, 0:48 GMT

    Did you read this before you posted it? "I think it's likely that Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey" In saying this insinuates that you believe that Tendulkar and Harbhajan are both liars.

    The BCCI has no interest in cricket? What an absurd statement

    Your insult of Clarke is interesting as you yourself believe Harbhajan said the words.

    The fact the witnesses (Clarke, etc) could not recall the entire if any of the other words iterated is entirely logical, as any utterance of a racial slur in an exchange of words tends to stick in ones mind, and Judge Hansen does say “I remind myself that an honest witness remains a witness who may be mistaken”. In reference to the assertion a phrase was uttered in Harbhajan’s native tongue. A fact you do not believe. He does not insinuate he was unreliable.

    Keep up the anti Australian sentiment “we love it”.

  • Zingania on February 1, 2008, 0:46 GMT

    How stubborn people are this Australians. The main point is though Harbajan is Hyper Tense guy, they did the first blood. How come this guy Symonds is treated as sports man, since he don’t have ethics and saying shamelessly ‘should not be friendly with opposite team while playing a match’. Even after delivering such damage statement still Australians supporting that guy shows the character of Aussies. Procter is a nasty prejudice Referee, he will punish player without listening story from either sides. I don’t understand why people still linger to this issue, as a human being (not as an Indian) if you think for a second it’s is quite illustrative that Australians are culprits.

  • Andy N on February 1, 2008, 0:46 GMT

    I believe bajji, Sreesanth should be asked to behave or risk not playing for India. Their actions seem so immature that I wouldn't want my child to emulate them.! But I am really apalled by the way some aussie fans above seem to consider India. Sample this. Symonds said Bajji called him names - He is Correct == Bajji Says he Did not say - Bajji is lying Hayden, Clarke & Ponting stickup for Symonds - Mateship == Tendulkar & Kumble stickup for Bhajji - "We lost respect for Tendulkar & Kumble". and so on and so forth. Guys, if you believe symonds, why shouldn't we believe Harbhajan?. Why are you correct if you believe your player and we are wrong if we believe our player. Another oft repeated comment from Aussie fans - "I have yet to see an Indian own up that bhajji is wrong", Dudes. News for you guys - Indian fans also have not seen any Aussie fan saying that Symonds was wrong in the first place to have precipitated the situation by provoking Bhajji.

  • Simon on February 1, 2008, 0:46 GMT

    When will cricinfo.com change their name to reflect their obvious bias towards India? I think that cricindia.com would be a much more acccurate domain under which to register their site. After all, I'm yet to see a single piece on this site (staffed by majority sub-cinbtinental writers) that either supports the Australians or runs over the behaviour of the Indians with a critical eye. There is no balance.

  • AndrewS on February 1, 2008, 0:45 GMT

    Can you imagine if Symonds had called the racist and foul-mouthed Harbajan Singe a "Monkey"? Harbajan knew what he was saying. He was stupid enough to say it when other Australian players were within earshot. He deserved his three match ban like EVERY OTHER player in world cricket who gets done for RACIAL VILIFICATION. At the end of the day Australia was better than India in this series (may not be so in the next). I am deadly sure that if India had of won in Sydney then stupid and provocative comments like Anil Kumble's "there is only one team playing in the spirit of the game" would not have been uttered. India have a lot to learn about playing tough hard cricket. Australia are not so precious that they need to talk about on field incidents, off the field. Unlike the obsessive, weak and cry-baby Indian pricesses who threaten to abort tours because they get a few dodgy umpire decisions. I agree,Ravi Motamarri, India will need a miracle to beat Australia, in the CB series. GO AUSSIES!!

  • Justin on February 1, 2008, 0:44 GMT

    Nice twisting. Harbajhan is a racist but still it is all Australia's fault.

  • muthi on February 1, 2008, 0:41 GMT

    what a one sided biased opinion. the indians on this tour are doing their country a discgrace. blaming everything and everyone for their performance. having a plane on stanby to take the players home if the result went against them. makes me think of backyard cricket when kids take their bat and ball and go home if something doesn't go their way.

    to talk about australias unsportmanship behaviour is unfounded. the indian team and indian player have the more discretions than any other team. a bunch of sooks. you thiink india have it bad touring australia, can anyone remeber the scenes when australia toured india last!! no wonder there are 6 foot high fences around the ground.

    personally i hope india go home and dont come back

  • Dave on February 1, 2008, 0:40 GMT

    Dear Indian fans, What a ridiculous article, it is clear that none of u are capable of writing an unbiased version of events. U lost the second test fair & square, u didn't like the result so u sooked and moaned and flexed your little muscles until u got rid of the umpires. Then u cried like babies over the Harbajan racial slur (even though we ALL know he said it) & threaten to pack up your bat & ball and go home. The ICC are a useless bunch of gutless wonders, i dont know why we have them at all. As for the claims that Michael Clarke's catch was a 'bump-ball', are u blind? review the footage, he caught it fair and square. Moral of the story, no one likes to lose, but at least the Australians cop it on the chin with some dignity, unlike India who have lost what little dignity they ever had. Take the ashes loss for example, Australia went away, trained harder, got better and flogged the poms 5-0 in the next series. What will India do after this loss? Sook & moan for the next 20 yrs?

  • Andrew on February 1, 2008, 0:40 GMT

    "Whites are the biggests racists in the world" Fantasctic generalisation, ever heard of Mugabe? Or seen any of the terror in africa? Has Andrew Symmonds ever been charged with any on feild indiscresions? NO? Mr Singh certainly had. Why does Symmonds come out of all this looking like the instigator? And whats wrong with not being freinds on the cricket feild? There was nothing wrong with aggro on it and a beer of it in the 80's when the Aussies where being beaten ever other test match. Your all a bunch of tall poppy cutters. Yes the Aussies have had some bad behaviour on the feaild, so has every other team. In my view they get monitored and accused of rediculous thinghs like in this article because they are usually winning and more attention is focused on the winners than the losers. Some of you people need to get a life!

  • roofuss on February 1, 2008, 0:39 GMT

    How can you call yourself a journalist and proceed to traipse out such one eyed nationalistic rot. You are not the only journo to take this line of comment though. Media on both sides seem to be guilty of this, only serving to blow these issues out all proportion. Both Aus, Ind and the great WI teams will be, are and have been guilty of all charges that you and others have levelled at Aus. This is cricket. Cricket is as much a psychological as it is a physical game. This how competitive sport is played world wide, hard and to the limits on the field, mates and beers off.

  • rasta on February 1, 2008, 0:36 GMT

    Many of you that has responded to this article by Mukul, are in dire need to wake up to the reality that India has been known to be the biggest whiner's in world cricket. There is so much evidence from the second test to show how obvious it is the Indian's complain if they do not have it their way. I can relate to the fact that the BCCI not the ICC is in charge of cricket, they should be ashamed of wanting to abandon the series because of the racist comments by Harbajan. I do not wholeheartedly agree with all the sledging from the Australians, but if the players do not have the courage to stand up and not let it get to them they definitely do not belong in the sporting arena. Right here in the USA most cities that have cricket leagues are run by Indians. They have the numbers and will do anything to be in charge. The ICC needs to stand up to these bullies called the BCCI and bring back the game of cricket that has lived on for centuries, and will continue beyond our lifetimes.

  • Andrew on February 1, 2008, 0:33 GMT

    Wow so basically this writer is fine with racist remarks as long as you don't get caught and have your mate Tendulker LIE about it.

    Charming ethics you promote there.

  • Non-Vegetarian Third Party on February 1, 2008, 0:33 GMT

    I'm neither an Aussie nor an Indian but a Sri Lankan who supports India against Australia. I can't stand the Aussie "brand of cricket". It is simply not cricket and Ponting better realize it soon.

    However, "absolute power corrupts"... whether it is military, religious, political, financial or athletic power. Aussies' absolute power in their cricketing skills corrupted their attitudes towards the game. Arrogance got to them.

    Worryingly, we are seeing a similar trend emerging in the form of absolute financial power with respect to India. India is clearly the centre of gravity in cricket these days, at least from a financial standpoint. However, threatening a hearing with chartered flights and cutting short a talented fast bowler's career (Shane Bond) with its financial muscle is a worrying development and nothing to be proud of. We don't want a "replacement of the bully", certainly not a financial bully that dictates terms "off the field"..sorry, it is simply not cricket!

  • Jas on February 1, 2008, 0:31 GMT

    Extremely well written, Mukul. You have correctly presented the facts and reasons behind the current controversy.It is astonishing to see the shameingly low levels to which current crop of Australian cricketers can stoop to when trying to snatch a win on the ground. They have always known to sledge, intimidate, abuse, pressurise opponent players for many years now, but when other teams pay back to them same way, their pride & ego won't let them accept it. It is time they realize they can not get away with abusing & sledging without getting something back. Infact their brat/spoiled attitude, false sense of superiority, abusive behaviour and lack of respect for opponent players is probably the worst kind of racism they can subject visiting teams to.

  • Sue on February 1, 2008, 0:29 GMT

    Spot on Mukul. Sachin Tendulkar did have the respect and affection of Australia as a superb sportsman but his is the image most tarnished over this whole affair. If, as you say, Harbajan probably did say "Monkey" then Tendulkar has lied under oath and his lobbying to have the Indian team sent home shows appalling sportsmanship. It is telling that the "maaki" defence was not offered at the first hearing so clearly Tendulkar's recollection of events has changed. His integrity is in tatters.

  • Vivek S on February 1, 2008, 0:28 GMT

    No Doubt! Very Good take on the entire controversy. It's so absurd and I don't understand if Symonds carry any gray matter, when he can say A test match is no place to be friends with the opponent team mates. Cricket Australia should act on it and talk to him, if that's what he believes. He has proved himself that with this kind of attitude, he is asking for more incidents like this. How can Cricket Australia accept such statement from it's own player. I am very happy that BCCI stood by the team, because if they had not taken any action, the Australian habbit will go on. Australia have realized in Ashes 2005, when they lost, that being friendly (which means soft to them), they cannot win any series. And then they decided to wear the mask back start showing ther ugly face. I wish they still understand that it's just cricket and Indian people just love hard and fair cricket, but not ugliness. Indians love Brett Lee, who lets his cricket do the talking.

  • Thomas on February 1, 2008, 0:28 GMT

    I am a Sri Lankan now domiciled in Australia and it was great to see the arrogant Aussie cricket team not being allowed to dictate things in their usual standard. The last time the Aussies got stood up was during the Murali incident in 1995. Not only did Sri Lanka stand up the Darrel Hair and the rest of the ACB he also went onto lead Sri Lanka in the World Cup final. Incidentally, do you know that Arjuna Ranatunga and Sourav Ganguly are immensely disliked by the Australians. The common theme is that these 2 players stand up to the Aussies and get in their faces and the colonial masters do not like this attitude. By the way with slippery Michael Clarke, it is scary that he is tipped to captain Australia. Wonder how the team is going to be.

  • GlaCial on February 1, 2008, 0:24 GMT

    In response to Murali Dhanakoti.

    You are incorrect. The case was not "tossed out". Singh admitted guilt, and hence found guilty, for the lesser offence (2.8). The appeal only resolved that there was insufficient evidence to prove guilt of a level 3 offence, for which greater evidence was required to satisfy Appeals Commissioner The Hon. Justice John Hansen of Singhs guilt. Get you facts right before you write.

  • Niraj on February 1, 2008, 0:20 GMT

    I just read the verdict transcript and boy it sounds like the outcome was just. I donot understand why ponting and co and still making hullabaloo... just because they are being seen as defeatist? or are they keep on drumming their voices to sound as victims or the ones with the TRUTH. If I have to coin a conspiracy theory then I can go on to say that this may have been a well planned attack by a group within the Australian team and they were looking for a just occasion to initiate their tirade against Harbhajan. The occasion came when Harbhajan patted Lee's back. Ans they used Symonds for this because of the previous history... What nonsense.. accept the verdict and move on. Please concentrate on cricket!!

  • Narayan on February 1, 2008, 0:19 GMT

    What India maybe has done is the first time whereas the Aussies & British teams have always done it one way or the other and maybe every one has been accustomed to their way of play. Come on, let us be fair and comapre the issues on hand and take a pragmatic decision.Even there has ben instances where the bowlers in countries like Australia and England have checked and they escape whereas a few Indians have to prove their actions to the hilkt and get through after a lot of turmoil. When McGrath chicks he is the best bowler and when an Asian chuks he is labelled. So, the ICC has to have fair practices to deal with players of all countries alike without looking into racial methods of assessment.

  • Narayan on February 1, 2008, 0:19 GMT

    What India maybe has done is the first time whereas the Aussies & British teams have always done it one way or the other and maybe every one has been accustomed to their way of play. Come on, let us be fair and comapre the issues on hand and take a pragmatic decision.Even there has ben instances where the bowlers in countries like Australia and England have checked and they escape whereas a few Indians have to prove their actions to the hilkt and get through aftera lot of turmoil. When McGrath chicks he is the best bowler and when an Asian chuks he is labelled. So, the ICC has to have fair practices to deal with players of all countries alike without looking into racial methods of assessment.

  • rockx on February 1, 2008, 0:15 GMT

    Ponting comparision to Bush is hilarious! Talking of comparisions, Mukul I think you resemble Bollywood Actor/Director Mahesh Manjrekar quite a lot :)

  • C SUBRAMANIAN on February 1, 2008, 0:14 GMT

    The preparation of Aussies before a Series: (1)Aussie players start talking about new plans. (2)They will say they are not going to target anybody, but always target the best of the opposition (3)Some yesteryear aussie player will tell the media that they hope the series will end in 3-0 or 4-0 or 5-0 in Aussie favour.I have never experienced this with any other country. (4) In between tests they will say the next test will end in four days, stuff like that. (5) Eulogising their average performing bowlers and Bats, so that they are pictured the best in business. (6) Indulge in comments against the strategies of opposiTION. FINAL STRAW: PUT PRESSURE ON UMPIRES (WHETHER AUSSIE OR NEUTRAL) SAMPLES: 1) GAVASKAR EPISODE-1981 2) BORDER&CO GETTING MORE THAN HALF DOZEN CLEAR UMPIRING FAVOUR IN 1985. 3) TENDULKAR GETTING OUT HEAD BEFORE WICKET & CATCH DOWN LEG SIDE TO WARNE (A LA DRAVID) 4) WAUGH GIVEN NOT OUT WHEN TRUDGING ON WICKET 5) THIS SERIES - MOST DECISIONS DECIDING SERIES

  • John on February 1, 2008, 0:12 GMT

    This article made some good points but also appeared heavily weighted towards India. However, in my opinion, you lost much credibility when you began making personal attacks on player (Ponting, Clarke and Symonds). The references to Ponting and George Bush were particularly childish. I understand that the Australian cricket team has its faults and I believe that it would be a lot more healthy for cricket if did not see their own country's team through rose coloured glasses. Now, lets cut out insults aimed at people and countries and get on with enjoying some fantastic cricket. Like most Australian cricket lovers I've really enjoyed the challenge that India has brought and would have loved seeing the series go to six tests. Best wishes to all.

  • Dave on February 1, 2008, 0:05 GMT

    This post is more evidence of India's delusional view of the world.

    The BCCI's attempt to bully the ICC into allowing a racist to go unpunished is a disgrace.

    The Australian's might be rude on the field - if you don't like that - fine.

    But don't try to use that as justification for racism and petulant bully-boy tactics by the BCCI.

    The Australian's are no angels - but India are a group of petulant sooks who couldn't take the beating they copped in Adelaide or the fact that they have a racist in their ranks.

  • frednork on February 1, 2008, 0:05 GMT

    if harbajan's defence is that he was provoked, then all the other players who have stepped over the line (including sree and mcgrath) innocent. provocation is no defence. Yes, symonds needled Harbajan, but there was no reason for harbajan to make a racial comment. if he did indeed make an insult vs a racial slur - then there is no issue. The difference between an insult and racial vilification is one is just that - an insult - it can be taken as a comment, man to man. Racial vilification is about power, and superiority. It stems from a deep seated attitude that one race is more powerful and therefore has the right to crush another. it is not something that is between two people, it is between race and culture.

  • John on February 1, 2008, 0:03 GMT

    This article made some good points but also appeared heavily weighted towards India. However, in my opinion, you lost much credibility when you began making personal attacks on player (Ponting, Clarke and Symonds). The references to Ponting and George Bush were particularly childish. I understand that the Australian cricket team has its faults and I believe that it would be a lot more healthy for cricket if did not see their own country's team through rose coloured glasses. Now, lets cut out insults aimed at people and countries and get on with enjoying some fantastic cricket. Like most Australian cricket lovers I've really enjoyed the challenge that India has brought and would have loved seeing the series go to six tests. Best wishes to all.

  • spectator on January 31, 2008, 23:56 GMT

    I enjoy some non-shrill comments on the whole sorry saga, but unfortunately you make enough baseless comments to indicate your particular bias (but no different from most other media reports). Your unconditional decision that Clarke's catch was "dodgy"(when no-one can objectively claim the replays were conclusive either way - as usual for these types of replays) and your (half-hearted?) defence of the BCCI's overt threats to the ICC (and indirect threats to CA) put you squarely in the "India" camp. And comparing Ponting to Bush? Why not Hitler, or Britney Spears? Of course Clarke is inherently untrustworthy.. because.. umm because he is of course. He should change his name to "Tandulkar" or something.

    Nothing wrong with that, a good dispute is more fun than conciliatory agreement. It is, however, strange to see some posters comparing this favourably to stories in the "biased" media. Keep the conflict alive! Isn't that the media's job?

  • Keyur Anjaria on January 31, 2008, 23:47 GMT

    Right guys, moving on from this absolutely brilliant peice of literary work.. whats the BBCI's take and/or responsibility in educating its cricketing spectators in places like Mumbai and Kolkata. Amongst others, these are places where spectators tend to behave like neo-nazi fascists. Rude and abusive behaviour is laughed off and basic human values of dignity and respect are compromised...would be interested to share views on this.

  • Rohit on January 31, 2008, 23:47 GMT

    I can't wait until the Indian team packs up their stuff and goes home. A bunch of sore losers and racists. As for the blog, what tripe. Have you considered writing for News of the World?

  • HR on January 31, 2008, 23:41 GMT

    i do not get it ,what is pontings and australian problem. The problem seemed to be that racist word that bhajji used or presumed to be used. However the judge said there was not enuff proof. So as far as ricky or symmo go they have lost the case, second part of it is abusing and australians don't mind abuses as they too use the same ..so y get angry that bhajji got away. it would make sense for them to be angry if it was proved that bahjji used the word and still was not banned... CRY BABIES

  • ACY1 on January 31, 2008, 23:39 GMT

    An excellent analysis as usual. I really liked the bare wires analogy. I am neither Indian nor Australian so do not have an axe to grind. I am astonished, though, that the Aussie bloggers here are convinced that Harbhajan Singh used the 'm' word, although no credible evidence has EVER been offered to support the allegation. Prejudice, perhaps? And another thing, I thought it said a lot about Australian cricket when the 'slippery' (read: liar) Michael Clark was ostentatiously made Ponting's deputy for the upcoming 50-over series. Cricket Australia needs to be reformed and the likes of the morally bankrupt James Sutherland turfed.

  • Jit on January 31, 2008, 23:36 GMT

    Perfect article written by Mukul, it should be printed in every indian news papers and some aussi news papers.......

  • Arun on January 31, 2008, 23:34 GMT

    Good article. But one comment. In the first lines you mentioned Harbhajan came out as villian. Synmonds/Ponting should be the villian, not him. He abused Symonds...thats all. Even Brad Hogg said 'Bastard' to our players. IN that case Harbhajan's abuse is very less offensive. You should not have mentioned him as a villian.

  • chicko on January 31, 2008, 23:32 GMT

    This whole story is getting so frustrating for an non-Indian supporter to watch. Indians cannot see the difference between "hard and fair" and racism. I am a Sri Lankan who has lived and played cricket in Australia for 20years and there is a big difference between sledging and racism. Sledging, which the Australians do so well, is based on people's ability and is completely legal. Racism is an insult based on a persons race. Simple. Harbi was racist and the Australians were sledging. If you cant take a sledge at international level then you shouldnt be playing. Racism is unacceptable in any sense and the Australians are never racist. Indian media and players cannot understand that you cannot pidgeon hole a single term as being racist, it is the tone and way in which the word is used that makes it racist. An easy example is the word "nigger", which can be derogatory or affectionate. Harbi was rascist.

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 23:29 GMT

    Jeremy said it best with his comment 'For every point mentioned in this article, you can find opposing views with an equal level of legitimacy'

    India and it's fans have shown that they are quite happy to condone racism, so it will be exceptionally hypocritical the next time they complain about it (which will happen the next time something doesn't go their way). Despite what everyone is writing here, indians need Australia to continue sledging. If Australia ceased their on-field chatter, what would the indian fans have to whine about and use as an excuse for yet another loss?

    With the wealth and power of the BCCI, it is clear that india's best and probably only chance of becoming the number one team in world cricket is to threaten to refuse to play unless the opposition agree to let them win. Given recent events, they would quite likely get away with it

  • Steve Harper on January 31, 2008, 23:27 GMT

    Very Good article. After reading Justice Hanson's verdict I just can't believe how Symond was let go and Singh was charged..

    Symond: "My objection was that a Test match is no place to be friendly with an opposition player."

    And, in fact, Symonds agreed he hadn't been that offended, really.

    What a sane judge. Symonds provoked, Singh bit back in kind. So who is guilty? Only Singh, or Symonds, too - and the team who has for so long licensed its players to abuse?

  • Brendan on January 31, 2008, 23:26 GMT

    If you ask me the main problem with all of this is that India and their fans are simply jealous of Australia's success. Well guess what our team is going to do whatever it takes to stay at the top. We have all seen the way the Racist Indian fans acted in those one day internationals, the Indian Board was in denial, The Indian players were in denial, It would seem and has since been confirmed after the Sydney controversy that Indians like blaming everyone but themselves. Harbajan is a grade A fool and his celebrations after taking that wicket of Ponting in Sydney was typical of a cricket culture that contradicts itself. Except it, You arn't as good as Australia at cricket and probably never will be because our sporting culture is built on competitivness and an ability to work harder than your team. Merv hughes said it best when Viv Richards said " Hey Merv you dont stare at me here, this is my island ", Merv got him out next ball and said " In our culture we just say %$&% off"".

  • Allan Sheth on January 31, 2008, 23:24 GMT

    The Aussies haven't yet figured out that their way of playing cricket is over! With all the media & sponsorships coming into the game and mostly from "other" countries do they really think that their antics/tactics will be tolerated any more. No sponsor wants a jackass bully (doesn't matter if it's a winning one) as a poster child. What the sponsors (i.e mony men) want are champions like Tendulkar, Kumble, Lee and Gilchrist.

    Secondly the sponsors want a game where there are fair results so that their is more healthy competition and their ratings & revenue go up.

    So the choice for the Aussie team and public is clear: Adapate to the new world order or go play in a jungle of your own because no one else will be willing to pay you a dime otherwise!!

  • Gary on January 31, 2008, 23:23 GMT

    This is nothing but Indian nationalist rhetoric. I'm no fan of the Aussie cricket team, but to paint the situation as the civil, honourable Indians, against the rough, dishonourable Australians is plainly ridiculous, and incredibly insulting.

    If, as you nationalists hope, India one day rules the world and the BCCI rules cricket, I hope that it develops some sense of humility and cultural understanding.

  • Ian on January 31, 2008, 23:21 GMT

    Terrific, insightful, objective article Mukul, thank you. As an Australian I'd love to see my side stop sledging. I'd also love to see more Indians acknowledge that their cricketers are not angels either. There was bad sportmanship from BOTH sides. But rather than catalog them, I will choose to remember Kumble's dignity, Tendulkar's humility , Lee's smiles and some fantastic cricket by both sides.

  • Ross on January 31, 2008, 23:19 GMT

    Pile of rubbish.

    In fact, I don't think I've read anything fair and balanced anywhere on this fiasco at all (Indian or Australian press, I was in India during the Sydney test and live in Austalia).

    Lets hope cricket gets back to being cricket.

  • MS_Sydney on January 31, 2008, 23:18 GMT

    Symonds saying 'there shouldn't any friendship between opposite side player' belongs him to Australian Army.To Harbhajan,S reesanth, P onting, Symonds.... you guys are Ambassodors of your country.Behave properly as a gentleman, and set example to young genaration.

  • vivek, usa on January 31, 2008, 23:17 GMT

    Mukul, good essay. It is funny , I too thought ponting was similar to george bush in credibility. it cool that few also think that way. After the incident Ponting behaved like a school boy/illiterate. He was bit emotional retorting to every criticism thrown at him. He was surely under pressure. I largely liked the Hansen verdict but I don't think Bhajji could still be fined since he did not complete a bad word nor a bad word in an unknown language hurt Andrew Symonds. First Andrew Symonds must be penalized for starting this ruckus . Secondly CA should train their players to understand culturual differences. This only shows how edgy symonds is. I am sure he will think twice before he starts one more incident like this or may be he is living with an inferiority complex trying to prove something he need not. I am glad Indian players took this staunch stand ( oz media thinks it is BCCI ) to quit tour if justice not served is because of the few bitter incident after mike denness fiasco.

  • Karl on January 31, 2008, 23:14 GMT

    Funny - only comments posted here are those agreeing with the author. Seems the hypocritical media applies on both sides of the media

  • Bharat Sud on January 31, 2008, 23:13 GMT

    Great article Mukul. However, as an Indian fan I am still disappointed. Bhajji was fined 50% for abusive language, what about Symonds who started the incident and confessed to abusing Bhajji? Why no action against him? Also, if abusive language is the criterion, then every Aussie player over the last 20 years (at least) should be fined 50% of their match fee for every match they played. Point in that is that every Aussie player can and has been seen to abuse their opponents as and when the opponents are doing well - but then it is just "mental warfare" (I believe that was the term coined by Waugh). Aussies can dish out the abuses but any time someone says the same things back they run to their "mommy" ICC. The Aussie team is good but without all of their ungentlemanly conduct in this gentleman's game, they wouldnt have won half the games they have over the last 15 years. The greatest cricketer ever, Don Bradman, would have been ashamed of calling himself an Aus cricketer after Sydney.

  • Brijesh on January 31, 2008, 23:13 GMT

    This is simply a sensationalist,divisive article but highlights the underlying issue in all that has happened recently.

    The problem is umpires, officials & ICC do not have control of the game. This is causing a range of on & off field problems dating back to the Pak v Eng debacle, world cup oranisational shambles and the recent Ind v Aus flair ups. A game that is governed well would not be having these problems.

    An umpire & referee should have 100% authority on field any questioning of this shpuld be punishable whether it is overappealling, intimidation or childish tantrums over decisions. Teams have been getting away with too much for too long Australia & India in particular. And for each to point at each other saying they are worse is a joke - they both need to be pulled into line.

    Here we find the next problem - how can they be pulled into line when the BCCI is clearly peverting justice in the game - this undermines the entire game and is a great threat for the future.

  • Karlos Moya on January 31, 2008, 23:12 GMT

    I've hardly read a more biased report. The sydney test match did have some decisions that went against India, but Tendulker was given not out LBW when he was plumb and went on to score similar runs to what Symonds did. Did you even think Clarke did take that catch in Sydney? Video evidence is unreliable for close catches. The Indian team has been one of the most ill-disciplined teams of the last 10 years. The team is stacked full of talent but also stacked full of players who have come to think they deserve their place without question of form and behaviour. For all of the injustice of the umpiring decisions of the sydney test Steve Bucknor was the official umpire. Both teams sign on to uphold the umpires decision at the start of the series and that document has now become null and void when India can have an umpire REMOVED from the series and probably forced into retirement. Anyone who thinks Bucknor was actually out to sabotage the indians is a fool. Grow Up !

  • Tim on January 31, 2008, 23:07 GMT

    Granted Dravid got a terrible decision and Symonds behaved like a goose. As an Australian and a cricket lover I was disappointed by both. But the loss of the series was inevitable. The BCCI set a ridiculous schedule, Indian batsman threw their wickets away in Sydney (there were fewer bad decisions than poor shots) and it took until Perth for India to select a balanced and competitive team. With it's resources, talent and people India should dominate world cricket on the field. It doesn't. While the preference remains for using threats and blaming others for its failings - it won't. Australia's dominance of cricket is not due to its ability to sledge, but by a ruthless and unsentimental approach to selection, development, administration and performance expectations. Other countries (India included) would be much better served emulating Australia's off-field discipline, than attempting to match its on-field ill-discipline. Cricket would be richer.

  • abner on January 31, 2008, 23:04 GMT

    Congrats on a great article Mukul. May I add that Mike Procter needs his brains examined. Of course for this Procter would need to visit a proctologist

  • GlaCial on January 31, 2008, 23:03 GMT

    Mr. Sreekaanth you make a brilliant argument for why we should not allow just anyone to become a lawyer.

  • GlaCial on January 31, 2008, 22:59 GMT

    Ryan, what's your point. Maybe you don't have one. Think before you write next time.

    My point is obvious, unless you have the brain power of an ameba. Australians and Indians have cultural differences. What's offensive to an Indian, is not to an Australian, and vice versa. I won't bore you with a long list of examples. What's offensive to me, may not be offensive to someone else. But the Code of Conduct in cricket clearly states racism, racist comments and offensive behavior are unacceptable. If the players can't own up to their mistakes, then I have little respect and plenty of pity for them. Harbajan made a mistake, he was found guilty of offensive behavior. No one can deny that, and he can't hide from that. The next time he makes the same mistake, and he will, he won't get off so lightly. He should have apologized to Symonds. Then we should all move on.

    As for the Indians who abused Symonds with monkey chants in India, well you can't help brainless amebas, so why bother.

  • Gary on January 31, 2008, 22:57 GMT

    This is nothing but Indian nationalist rhetoric. I'm no fan of the Aussie cricket team, but to paint the situation as the civil, honourable Indians, against the rough, dishonourable Australians is plainly ridiculous, and incredibly insulting.

    If, as you nationalists hope, India one day rules the world and the BCCI rules cricket, I hope that it develops some sense of humility and cultural understanding.

  • Victor Trumpet on January 31, 2008, 22:56 GMT

    Indians have no integrity in this matter. If Harbhajan had called Symonds a monkey on the street, Ha Ha Harbhajan would have his jaw broke.

    But if Symonds trounced Bhaji on a Delhi street - he'd have a hundred Indians with machetes, each trying to souveneir a dreadlock.

    The point is that Australians fight fair - we are tough and abrasive and seem mean - but if you get your arse kicked in OZ, it will be for a reason, plus only one man will do the kicking, plus someone else will step in before things get too serious.

    In India they still have a tribal mentality - where if one man gets a little bloodlust - the whole village starts wielding their knives and sticks and no one is safe.

    You might think Aussies are philistines because we drink beer and swear. But where it really counts, Australia is a country where no person will ever starve. No sick person will be denied medical attention. No one is better than anyone else.

    That's called civilisation.

    Can you say that about India?

  • Calexico on January 31, 2008, 22:55 GMT

    "Australia can play their brand of uncivilized, filthy cricket full of sledging, with their like minded buddies. The civilized world can then play a more sophisticated brand of cricket that will be enjoyed by the more sophisticated people of this world!"

    Yes - more civilised countries like India and Pakistan - who threaten world peace by refusing to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Most the article is fine - but comparing Ricky Ponting with George W??? And if you think they look alike I guess that's racism - all us white people look the same huh?

  • Vish Viswanathan on January 31, 2008, 22:53 GMT

    1. Fair enough that Harbhajan's "conviction" was overturned as there wasn't any evidence, and based on their performance on the field, you couldn't believe anything the Aussie players said 2.I Believe Symonds got off after his initial burst of abuse and Ponting for goading Benson to "Go tell him now" 3. On field activities show that when Aussies can't "mentally disintegrate" (what a disgraceful term invented by the disgraceful Aussies!)another team on the field, they lose!! Makes you think how they won all these years (due to their sledging or through some smidgeon of talent??) 4. My earliest memories of Aussies are as a young boy in late 60s, witnessing all our elders being indignant about Bill Lawrie's team and their behaviour. They have never improved since then 5. Finally, let us ban all sledging on the field (or off it). The stump mike must be audible to all TV and radio listeners so that we can make up our own mind as to what is said in the middle.

  • Matheesha on January 31, 2008, 22:47 GMT

    Nice article. I felt it was leaning more towards india than covering both sides of the story.

  • sam on January 31, 2008, 22:45 GMT

    10/10 to your article, keep it up

  • TonyP on January 31, 2008, 22:43 GMT

    That's right Mukul, the Indians haven't done anything wrong at all, in fact it's all been of benefit to game. See how much better off we are? We now know that Indians are physically capable of being racist or intolerant, the BCCI has said so. Those Indians who appeared to be making monkey chants at Symonds were probably taken out of context or saying something really complimentary in Swahili.

    Threatening the tour like that, regardless of whose idea it was, was unethical and undermined the judicial process. In fact extortion is an unerringly accurate description.

    But I'm Australian, I'm therefore wrong, and crass, and rude, always have been, always will be unless I remember my place and just accept whatever is served up to me.

    I just don't see how anyone can hope to move forward while maintaining that either the Australians or the Indians were blameless.

    In particular I don't see how the BCCI can so blatantly refuse to accept unfavourable judgments. What's the point of the system?

  • sam on January 31, 2008, 22:43 GMT

    10/10 to your article, keep it up

  • Mick of Oz on January 31, 2008, 22:43 GMT

    I think the point that most of our Indian friends are missing is that Harbajan is an idiot.

    There was one word that he should never have used in light of the previous series and he could not control his mouth enough not to use it. Had used any other word, almost nothing would have come of it.

    He may have been provoked but at the end of the day he was out smarted, out maneuvered and out of his depth.

    Yeah, us Aussies are no Saints but to put the Indian players on a higher ground shows a complete lack of bipartisan thought and intelligence.

  • David on January 31, 2008, 22:40 GMT

    Unfortunately Mukul while year writings started as a reasonable take on social history it quickly descended into fiction of tradional Sub-Asian quality. First - India are bleeding and crying fowl for 2 reasons, loosing in Syd and then loosing the series. Second - Because like all Sub-Asain teams when the rules don't suit and they are trouble they always play the race; try that one for a 'sledge'. Asian teams are the biggest sledgers in the game off field and their crowd behaviour is nothing short of abominable. Trust me racism is a live and well within the Indian team, the BCCI and certainly in grass roots India - to say otherwise is to defy history and logic.

  • David on January 31, 2008, 22:40 GMT

    Unfortunately Mukul while year writings started as a reasonable take on social history it quickly descended into fiction of tradional Sub-Asian quality. First - India are bleeding and crying fowl for 2 reasons, loosing in Syd and then loosing the series. Second - Because like all Sub-Asain teams when the rules don't suit and they are trouble they always play the race; try that one for a 'sledge'. Asian teams are the biggest sledgers in the game off field and their crowd behaviour is nothing short of abominable. Trust me racism is a live and well within the Indian team, the BCCI and certainly in grass roots India - to say otherwise is to defy history and logic.

  • RonMoss79 on January 31, 2008, 22:39 GMT

    The best article that has put everything in this sledging affair to a very fair perspective. It is right that BCCI only cares about money not about the game. Hence the example of bishan singh bedi and another comes to mind is the mishanlding of rajesh chauhan. But I do commend the indian players who stood by their comrade on a totally unjustified farce of a sentence by mike procter. I dont understand how can the journalists in the australian press without doing any research type all that rubbish. Where is the evidence that can back up all that talk? As an indian team supporter i can give you evidence that time, after time BCCI has not cared about its players. Its high time to realise that there is higher moral ground that teams are ready to stand by than the australian team can only try to understand leave alone try to stand on it.

  • Dileep Iyer on January 31, 2008, 22:39 GMT

    A very well written article Mukul. great job..! I really hope the Australian journalists, especially Peter Roebuck reads this and learn something from this.

    I am surprised why no action is taken against the biased Procter. This is not the first time he is doing such rubbish things decisions.

    I hope someone makes a video out of the "decent" behavior the aussies has displayed on field for the last 10-15 years and air it...

  • AJ on January 31, 2008, 22:37 GMT

    An unprofessional article that gives myth as fact first and last time i read an article from this Jurno; hope the quality of articles improve in future.

  • Janavi Sundaresan on January 31, 2008, 22:37 GMT

    I agree with wally. My favourite team after India was Australia and I love Australians. Let this stupid incident not ruin our long time cricket interest.

  • Curtis van Coevorden on January 31, 2008, 22:28 GMT

    Just another diatribe disguised as unbiased observation. I'm not surprised it has found favour with Indian supporters, as that is the clear attention. Perhaps one day I will be able to read an accurate account of what really occurred, although I do not expect to see it anytime soon. In the meanwhile it appears as though the cricketing press will continue to be inundated with this type of overtly slanted drivel, written to appeal to the lowest common denominator, xenophobic fanatics who confuse the sporting field with national prowess.

  • Victor Trumpet on January 31, 2008, 22:28 GMT

    I've spent time in India and it's a wonderful, frustrating place, but some of the people are amazing and generous, and others are judgemntal and ignorant. Some people respect you because your white - whites have money. Some people look scornful - whites are ugly.

    Despite the terrible history of colonistaion in Australia, it is probably the safest country in the world, with the highest standard of living, and one of the most cosmopolitan countries - based on the variety of nationalities that live here.

    There are people in Australia who think that they are better than everyone else and there are some who only like other whites. These are usually the uneducated and poorer people who think blacks are monkeys - and quite often these people play sport into adulthood.

    In Australia there are 300,000 expatriate Indians, which doesn't sound like much, but it's about 1.5% of the entire Australian population.

    The point is that Aussies and Indians get along - we like curry - you like money.

  • GlaCial on January 31, 2008, 22:27 GMT

    I find the many responses on this blog fascinating.

    If International cricketers didn't like sledging they'd change the code of conduct to outlaw it, as they did with racism. Yet many are of the belief that the Australians are the only ones who sledge. The truth is that all teams do it, that's why no one wants to stop it. So stop kidding yourselves.

    Many have suggested that because Bhajji was provoked by Symonds this excuses his racist comment. It really doesn't matter what Bhajji said, the fact is he returned fire in kind, with his own sledging. That at the very least makes him as bad as the Australians. So the next time you have a go at the Australians, just remember the Indians are just as bad. If you can't respect the Australians because they sledge, then the same applies to the Indians.

    And for all of you claiming that calling Symonds a "monkey" is not as bad as calling the Indians "bastards", remember that Darren Lehman was banned for calling the Sri Lankans "black cunts".

  • Mahesh on January 31, 2008, 22:24 GMT

    I read the full transcript now & for those who have not, please refer to paragraph 57. It notes that even if Harbhajan had called Symonds "monkey", it would not have been a 3.3 (racist) offense, because it was Symonds who initiated the unprovoked abusive interchange! Well written statement and now those who initiate exchanges (we all know who this is!) will get it right back, legally!!!

  • Piyush on January 31, 2008, 22:16 GMT

    Its a very thoughtfully written article. I t was absolutely necessary that everyone stood by Harbhajan. The Aussies are crying Foul Play, its time they had a hard look in the mirror.

  • Goz on January 31, 2008, 22:13 GMT

    Comparisons between Bush and Ponting and comparisons to poltical culture cry of a nation worried about inferiority, it is a game of cricket get over it... The simple facts are- Austrlia won the series 2-1 Australia are the No.1 team in the rankings in One Day Cricket and Test Cricket compared to India 2nd and Fourth and Australia have won the last three world cups convincingly. Forget about the $$$ remember who holds the talent to win

  • jeremy on January 31, 2008, 22:12 GMT

    from now on, when I see an Indian name at the top of an article about cricket, I'm not going to bother reading it. This author should stick to writing for Indian tabloids, drumming up more one-eyed hysteria. Lehmann = honest, Singh = liar. Indian crowds = racist. Agreement was for low catches, not walking, the difference is easy to understand. If Clarke is to be criticized for not walking, then Gilchrist must be the only credible player currently playing. BCCI/ Indian players are manipulative. But it follows the national psyche of money/ corruption. Corruption/ threats are sickening to Australia, but is encouraged in India, by the people it benefits.

  • jeremy on January 31, 2008, 22:11 GMT

    from now on, when I see an Indian name at the top of an article about cricket, I'm not going to bother reading it. This author should stick to writing for Indian tabloids, drumming up more one-eyed hysteria. Lehmann = honest, Singh = liar. Indian crowds = racist. Agreement was for low catches, not walking, the difference is easy to understand. If Clarke is to be criticized for not walking, then Gilchrist must be the only credible player currently playing. BCCI/ Indian players are manipulative. But it follows the national psyche of money/ corruption. Corruption/ threats are sickening to Australia, but is encouraged in India, by the people it benefits.

  • Marley on January 31, 2008, 22:09 GMT

    Cricket Tragic, I'm a west indian from guyana. While I don't normally follow India in cricket, I happened to watch the Sydney Test and I thought that it was the Indians at fault. You are right I was embarrassed. But I was embarrassed by India's whingeing about a couple of decisions when they didn't complain when things went their way. And Harbhajan's behaviour after he dismissed was worse than any Australian's that I've ever seen.

  • Daca on January 31, 2008, 22:09 GMT

    As an Australian, I detest the aggressive, zero/sum culture of our game. Further I resile from interpolating hysterical nationalistic sentiments into this discussion, whether they be from Indians or Australians. The truth is that the game of cricket gives us a chance to compete as nations in a way that transcends nationalism and celebrates fair play, civility and a striving for athletic excellence.

    I cringe when I see this noble game and our noble countries drawn into a miasma of power politics, grubby journalism and racial tension. As citizens of planet Earth, we have so much more in common than we have in dispute. I have lived for extended periods in India and Australia; I love both cultures. Cricket gives us the opportunity to celebrate the best of each.

    Peace.

    PS Excellent post Mukul, accuratley reflecting the realpolitik of the situation.

  • Gordon on January 31, 2008, 22:06 GMT

    Good God - what total tripe. The game has no hope when supposed intelligent journalists make partisan excuses for either side. The BCCI is clearly running world cricket and is also running the rule book - one set for Sub-Asia and one set for the rest. India have presented themselves as sore loosers after Sydney. These conspiracy theories about the ICC being against them are nonsense, truth is that the pride of a greta nation was wounded with their inept on field performance in Syd and they responded with off field vengence to settle the score - period! Rules are rules and Australia have proven they are not only the best for the last 10 years at cricket but also of ensuring they that they play to the limit of these rules to win games - period! India need to learn the same and not act like sooky siises when things go against them, in other words toughen up lads or POQ - this is not the back blocks of Mumbai but a world stage. Indai have presented themselves as racist thugs - shame on you

  • Eksorzist on January 31, 2008, 22:04 GMT

    Fantastic column Mukul.

  • KG on January 31, 2008, 21:58 GMT

    Australians have been sledging for decades now. Someone had to be the bakra to set them right. Hope they learn the lesson and of course other players too .

  • Pierre Hunts on January 31, 2008, 21:58 GMT

    Excellent work Mukul. Very balanced and Hard truth in your article. Here is what Judhe Henson wrote in his Official verdict..

    'Indeed Mr Clarke went so far as to say that he did not hear Mr Symonds say anything. Given Mr Symonds’ own acceptance that he initiated the exchange and was abusive towards Mr Singh, that is surprising."

    Mr. Clark is young and project as future Aussie captain. But this kind of behaviour I doubted he even deserve to be in Aussie team..lol. Same applies to Symond also.

  • roublen on January 31, 2008, 21:51 GMT

    I like Mukul, but in this case he gets off into side issues. The bottom line is that Harbhajan didn't say it, he didn't say "big monkey", and the Australian players who swore he did were mistaken in their testimony. He actually said "Abhi tere maa kii", which truth be told is a foul insult, but is not racial. Judge Hansen, thankfully, was a hard and fair judge, and everyone should read his report carefully to see what really happened. The angry Aussie fans should ask themselves how they would react if one of their players was falsely accused of racism, was found guilty by a judge who refused to listen to reason or evidence, and then banned in a kangaroo-court like atmostphere.

    What's disturbing to me is Malcom Speed apologising for the verdict. Who does he think he is? Is he supposed to be an impartial chief executive, or is he supposed to be doing the Aussie's bidding?

  • people are stupid on January 31, 2008, 21:50 GMT

    The fact that people still whinge on about racism alludes to one of my favourite quotes - "the only thing we learn from history is we learn nothing at all"

    The problem here though is simple, we are all just displaying human nature, very much like animal nature.

    A lion and a tiger are both cats but would they live and play together?

    Nope.

    Unfortunately we claim to be civilised and the smarter species, when, in truth, humans are manipulative, greedy, selfish, cunning and downright pathetic.

    You would think Symonds, Ponting and co. would look at the bigger picture and just realise they are all puppets playing for a minority.

    I would rather be called a monkey than not have clothes, a roof and a feed everyday, like the hundreds of millions of people who live (barely) with nothing everyday.

    It's just a game, I love it, and I am a monkey.

    GET OVER IT!

  • Rick Clark on January 31, 2008, 21:44 GMT

    It is funny to see how some of the Australian fans such as Dean and Liam, are coming up utter nonsence and unrelated incidents.

    Bhajji Bowled by Pieterson and he did not walk.- The Umpire had to confirm with the third umpire that Ball did not touch Prior's glove prior to hitting the stump. And that's why he didn't walk.

    Yuvraj didn't walk in the first inning. Yuvraj was out and he knew and Umpire declared him out, He just stood their stirring at the ground in disbelief that he played that stupid shot in that situation. One gotta be out of his mind to compare Yuvaraj's with what Clark did.. Please read Judge Henson's report, where he categorically proved that Clark was even lying in the court.. I am sure you guys will say he is from NewZeland and what else you expect from him..Ha Ha

  • Pratik on January 31, 2008, 21:44 GMT

    Where was Matt Hayden and his "It doesn't matter; its racial vilification mate; its a s*** word and you know it" stuff when Glenn McGrath called Sanath Jayasuriya a black monkey. Interestingly, with a history like that McGrath backed Symonds.

    The truth be spoken, most Aussie players are sissies who think they can make a song and dance in name of "playing hard and fair" but get jelly-legged when someone gives it back to them.

    Play hard, and expect to be hit hard. Or else, play the way most would like to see the game played, i.e. like gentlemen.

  • rockx on January 31, 2008, 21:40 GMT

    Excellent piece of writing. The comparision of Ponting to Bush is hilarious! I always thought Ponting resembled some known face, turns out its Bush! Facial resemblance aside, I dont think he's as stupid as Bush.

  • Pradyot Dhulipala on January 31, 2008, 21:40 GMT

    Always a delight to read your articles.

  • Roger Buckman on January 31, 2008, 21:35 GMT

    Comments from Matthew, You must be Australian. Only Australian can use such blunt and unsensible language. This is exactly the problem with the Australian team, weather you admit it or not. You may want to read Official Verdict from Judge Henson. Lets see what do you say than? I am just a Cricket fan and after reading the verdict, I must say I get a sence the Australian were working on plan to frame H.Singh. :)

  • Ritesh on January 31, 2008, 21:34 GMT

    A very good take of the whole episode. This sums up the Indian stand on the whole controversy in a third-person perspective. Best article I read on this controversy.

  • Lakshmikanthan on January 31, 2008, 21:27 GMT

    I wish to add my two cents here..

    I believe that Australian team is the one which is involved in most of the controversies even though they have the knack of strategically provoking it and escaping.. i think ponting must also see that his team is the one which seems to be involved in most of the controversies if he is much interested in giving statistics of his team is the one which received very less infractions... and everyone knows that why... I was even surprised by an Australian media report that says that, just because of SCG incident the australian players controlled their so called "aggression" on field and thats the reason why they lost the match.. terrible...

  • Adrian De Silva on January 31, 2008, 21:20 GMT

    Some good points, but another commentary that has missed the point! The first thought that came to mind when I read the match bulletin was "Australia's at it again!" The question that should be asked is "Is the cricketing world going to sit back and take it again?" Aussie cricketers over the recent years have with impunity broken every unwritten rule in the book and have come out on top - WITHOUT censure or punishment. As for umpiring decisions going against the visiting team...the problem is Global and not limited to cricket...these are the days of brown discrimination. The Caucasian man feels threatened not only with losing his job but his sport too. Added to this is the feeling among Caucasian ppl that the brown man is inherently a cheat. This is not entirely unjustified, but to base ones decisions...I digress, the ICC needs to see beyond the smokescreen that the Aussies or any other team throw and penalize the team/individual. Annul the result! 'cos History will only laud the win!

  • Vish on January 31, 2008, 21:18 GMT

    It is the Aussies who are whining like kids. They are the sledge masters and they start crying and kicking like 3 year olds and running to dady Procter. They have to learn to accept criticsm. Whether BCCI has flexed its muscles are not, the fact remains that the Australians started this sledging wars and they have to end this. If they don't, we will see other cricket playing nations also stand up and fight like India.

  • Gaurav on January 31, 2008, 21:15 GMT

    Mukul and Samit Bal write some of the best articles. They manage to rope in so much sense and romance that you actually fall in love with cricket. Cricinfo Rocks! Keep it up.

  • John J. Kakabelly Esq. on January 31, 2008, 21:04 GMT

    This is perhaps the best cricket article of "2007" and may be the best in 2008.

    The writer obviously has the intellectual depth to deconstruct Australia cricket for what it is - a modern day bully, parading and strutting about as number one team and number one MORALITY manager. We all know different, but the good writer has lucidly articulated this for real cricket fans.

  • manohar on January 31, 2008, 21:02 GMT

    Lets face it, there is racism in India no one can deny it, but we Indians exhibit it with action not words,the funny part is that for an Indian, the use of the slang " teri maa ke" is far more abusive then the word "monkey" and if such words were directed at an Indian it would possibly start a fight on the pitch itself,while i dont agree with bulling , i believe the aussies need to be put in their place, they have terrorized visiting teams,and need to be taught how to win fair and square, not by sledging. i think India has driven home that lesson

  • Pankaj on January 31, 2008, 20:54 GMT

    Bob: You call Sachin a liar? Vs Clarke who never walked when he was out and claimed a catch when the ball was grounded?

    Wally: Your's post was the best post I saw. You make a perfect point - get some homour out of it and lets play the game.

    Yes, as most of Aussie fans point out - Aus is better and India is not even close. Fair enough, Aussies are the best team in the world. Dont you want to feel proud of your wins though? Indians are the only ones giving a fight (even if they are on the losing end).

    Finally, and most importantly, as some of the fans point out - regardless of which team is better - cricket is losing. Its not about cricket or winning anymore, is it? Its not about who played better cricket. Its now all about who was honest and who was a liar. Its all about slurs and racism.

    Sydney test was the best and most dramatic test victory for Australia in recent times. Its only unfortunate we wont remember this game for the way Aussies won it.

  • kumar menon on January 31, 2008, 20:51 GMT

    I totally agree with Kumar about the BCCI flexing it muscles and so on.....plus, Australia did not win the Sydney test-India lost it to the umpire. There was a vignette in an australian journal-wife walks into the house while her husband is watching cricket(the much controversial Sydney Test) and the husband says "another Indian player is out" and the wife asks him-"who got him? Bucknor or Benson? That sums it all!About sledging-when they get it back they are hurt.Poor cry-babies.It all reached this stage only because of the aussies behaviour and attitude from quite a long time now. There were aussie players who were really gentlemen but that was a different lot.In the current side only a couple of players are well behaved and not arrogant. I was once told about how some of the aussie players touring India some years ago, pissed into the pool of the hotel wher e they were staying in Delhi regardless of the fact that personnel from the hotel were watching them.Time to improve.

  • ravi on January 31, 2008, 20:50 GMT

    A lot of problems arise because of cultural differences. Take three words- bastard, pig and monkey. Indians will take bastard seriously, Pakistanis pig and Symonds monkey. Americans will rather have somebody call their daughters whore rather than communists. While not condoing Harbhajan, by calling Symonds monkey- he or Indians are not in a position to deny him advancements in life like some of the racists white folks he may have met in his life. Look at World cup football and how Zidane reacted to it or notice the Sarwan & McGrath incident. As long as you are just talking- words can't hurt, if Symonds is the one who started it. Best to just keep your mouth shut on the field and switch to the red/yellow card system of soccer. After all, cricket is not a contact sport.

  • kumar menon on January 31, 2008, 20:50 GMT

    I totally agree with Kumar about the BCCI flexing it muscles and so on.....plus, Australia did not win the Sydney test-India lost it to the umpire. There was a vignette in an australian journal-wife walks into the house while her husband is watching cricket(the much controversial Sydney Test) and the husband says "another Indian player is out" and the wife asks him-"who got him? Bucknor or Benson? That sums it all!About sledging-when they get it back they are hurt.Poor cry-babies.It all reached this stage only because of the aussies behaviour and attitude from quite a long time now. There were aussie players who were really gentlemen but that was a different lot.In the current side only a couple of players are well behaved and not arrogant. I was once told about how some of the aussie players touring India some years ago, pissed into the pool of the hotel wher e they were staying in Delhi regardless of the fact that personnel from the hotel were watching them.Time to improve.

  • Perla on January 31, 2008, 20:49 GMT

    Very fair comments over all I can say and very good blog Mukul and much appreciable. * I too agree with some of the comments made by Peter Snmith have mentioned as If STEVE BUCKNOR would have refer 3rd umpire for most of his decisions, it would not have been this worst. I too agree with it, if a batsman hits a 6, but reply suggests it's 4 and the score board is changed accordingly...why not 3rd UMPIRES should over rule these kind of POOR DECISIONS given by on-field umpires. I think ICC must look into this point. * Some one else looks like more emotional towards OZ and forming a new Cricketing body and not including India in it. Yes, they deserve to do that and anyways if the AUS continues like this kind of on-field behavior, they have to form their Cricketing body for themselves to keep in the game.

    Cheers guys.....refer Ranatunga, Steve Waugh, Allen Border comments on recent AUS behavior. * Why Harbhajan should be fined, why not Symonds, who initiated the conversation & why not HOGG

  • CSG on January 31, 2008, 20:39 GMT

    Symonds said - "My objection was that a Test match is no place to be friendly with an opposition player". Really ! Then what do we do with Brett Lee for patting Tendulkar on his helment when he was out in the first innings at Adelaide ?! Wasn't he gesturing well played like Harbhajan did to Brett Lee himself ?

    Its being said that Symonds plays cricket hard, so whats wrong with Harbhajan doing the same. Cultural misuderstanding should be solved within the players and not be made a political and ego clash issue like this one. Australia is having a tough time coming to terms with the fact India can match then both in talent as well as agression. As Indian players are new to being "agressive" on and off the field, they sometime end up looking like bafoons, but they are learning and fast too.

    Grow up, both Australia and India !

  • Pankaj on January 31, 2008, 20:35 GMT

    Perfectly said Mukul. Absultely brilliant analysis. You are right, it wasnt the BCCI flexing its muscles for one of its own. Look back into history and see how has BCCI treated the players and their schedules. Worse, the banned players who joined ICL - which otherwise could've been a failure but for the publicity generated because of its war against BCCI. Everyone gained except for the players, who were trying to make an honest living. Worse - it launches IPL. So, you are correct in saying BCCI doesnt give a hoot.

    I really am proud of Sachin and Anil who stood by their own. For once I saw the team united for a cause that was just. Not too long ago - Warne called Ranatunga someone who swallowed a buffalo. Who is setting the standards for racial slurs anyway? What slur is racial?

    Ponting, as you suggest (if not say it provocatively), will go down as the worst captain in Australia's last 30 yr's playing history, ever since I have followed this game

  • Arun M on January 31, 2008, 20:33 GMT

    Good Analysis! While India might have sledged and flexed muscles, it is a reaction to what they have gone thru. As Tony Greig and Sunil Gavaskar questioned, 'For aussies "What happens on the filed stays on the field" only when they make mistakes'. They run like crybabies when they are made to listen to their own tune.

    Hopefully, this incident will reduce the on-field sledging.

    Reading many messages here, people seem to believe what they want to. Many Aussies and media think Indians are at fault and Indians here are proving that Aussies started all the ugliness. Both, probably, are right.

    Aussies feel lost when India is paying them back in their own way..

    A little Understanding, Respect, Toleration, and Compassion will help at this point.

  • harsh on January 31, 2008, 20:32 GMT

    well written. Once and for all, blown to bits the 2 words the this teenager aussie girls claim as their defense when caught cheeating.. hard and fair.

    should be abuse and whine

    whiny aussie captain ponting really got his nose rubbed in it from you. good job.

    great to see aussie fidgetting in their seats uncomfortably, after being shown up as hollow bullies.

  • Richard on January 31, 2008, 20:31 GMT

    "I think it's likely that Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey, but judgment can't be based on what I or anyone else thinks: it rests on what can be proven. "

    So your believe Singh lied in front of the hearing (both of them)? Is that the sort of player you wish to have in the Indian side?

    If Hansen had known of his previous charges it's obvious he would have got a harsher penalty, that's plain to see from the statement made in the ruling.

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 20:30 GMT

    well written. Once and for all, blown to bits the 2 words the this teenager aussie girls claim as their defense when caught cheeating.. hard and fair.

    should be abuse and whine

    whiny aussie captain ponting really got his nose rubbed in it from you. good job.

  • Atul on January 31, 2008, 20:28 GMT

    It's high time Aussies are rattled. They have been match winning monsters, growing bigger by the day. If you have to bring a beast down you have to rattle them, confuse them. Countries have been playing by their rule and getting defeated royally by them. This new tactic, whatever you name it, has left Aussies answerless. When everything's said and done, cricket will be left more interesting, with Aussies within striking distance of other teams, and Aussie pride renewed within their team and audience alike after a spate of unispiring and unchallenged wins.

  • Rupak on January 31, 2008, 20:24 GMT

    nice article.observations made r quite logical.however, one thin that hasn't changed is "aus won again".let's face it, the only players who PLAYED for india will b gone in 2 years.i still hav my doubts abt the young guns.thy might get away in 20-20 as weeknesses aren't exposed in shortest version of game.however, when it comes to test, it requires higher level of application.Yuvi couldn't do anythin wrong before d aus tour, but couldn't survive even 2 test matches.dhoni was just a shadow of his former self.he looked uncertain n was like a cat on a hot tin roof.it's a good oppurtunity for them to justify their talent.the task won't be made any easier by the strong hostile crowd.

  • MukulRocks on January 31, 2008, 20:18 GMT

    Superb article. Our India news channels should focus on this instead of sensationalizing things and the australian journalists can also learn a thing or two about not writing one-faced articles.

  • Dave on January 31, 2008, 20:17 GMT

    I cannot believe that a so called journalist could write this. This is yet more evidence that not only does Indian circket and it's intersts own the world game, it also owns Cricinfo.

  • Arvind on January 31, 2008, 20:15 GMT

    Overall, a brilliant article!

    I would like to draw readers attention to two important points, one, in which, I think you have got it right and the other, where I think you have got it totally wrong.

    The RIGHT one:

    - The West Indies team dominated Cricketing cotests during 70s and 80s and Australians have ruled it since 1996. West Indies teams were almost universally loved, Australian team is almost universally hated.

    The reason for this hatred towards Australian team is the despicable conduct and behavior of Many Australian players on-field [and, also off it,]. Through their conduct, many of them shown themselves to be unfair, liars, cheats and ‘all is fair to win’ brigade – Gilchrist is perhaps, only exception – and, I do think that Gilchrist is indeed universally loved for that. Many Past Australian greats like Border and Taylor to were greatly loved and respected because of that – being a ‘fine’ man in addition to being a fine player.

  • Shamik Ghosh on January 31, 2008, 20:14 GMT

    Let these Aussies enjoy their moment in feeling that they have been wronged, BCCI and India are an evil empire taking over the world, etc etc. Guess them lot must be really thick or just hardcore nationlists to think that Hayden and co are not capable of lying and that it is just coincidence that the stump mike did not pick anything up, not to mention that ponting and tendulkar who were closest did not hear anything. Case closed for now, Harbajhan did not say a racist term. In any case someone doesnt have to use a racist term to be racist, Lehmann said it but he is not a racist, just lost the plot for a bit. Harbhajhan may have said monkey and not be a racist, or me not have said it but actually be a racist, who really knows. Same applies to (almost) every cricketer. Some have proven to be good souls, ie, Tendulkar, Kumble, Lara, Lee, Murali, Inzamam, Fleming, etc etc. If Aussies had some real dignity and guts, tackle the root of the problem: persistent sledging by the australians

  • Raghu on January 31, 2008, 20:11 GMT

    Good article. In the past, Indian board did not fight in many such situations. If you don't fight it is taken as an acceptence of guilt. Indian team scared Ponting in the Sydney test and so he and his team resorted to cheating. I had a high regard for Ponting before the Sydney test. Steve Waugh was a fighter but was not unsportive. Strangely, Symmonds did not want to lodge the complaint but Ponting did. Did it have something to do with Harbhajan getting him out every time? I can't believe Mike Procter beleived the same Australian team(including the captain) who claim a false catch and don't leave when they were obviously out and banned Harbhajan for 3 matches. In my opinion, the Sydney match should be banned by ICC or even awarded to India as it was played by only one sportive team. ICC should come up with a new set of rules for onfield behaviour that is universal. One that does not care about the culture, language, race, nationality or anything else other than the sport itself.

  • Chiradeep Chhaya on January 31, 2008, 20:07 GMT

    There's a few facts no one can deny: 1. Harbhajan ahs been known to be a foul-mouthed dude right from his initial days. However, he also did accept that he intended to use words that were meant to be derogatory rather than racist, and from a perspective of rules n cricket, that is not pardonable either. 2. Can anyone please explain how the term "monkey" is racist? I thought they were species, but I guess monkeys are a race now. Apart from this, if the "monkey" term is racist because it offends Symonds' sensibilities, then terms such as "bastard" and "mo-fu" are racist in that they offend traditional Asian sensibilities as well. 3. Thsoe harping about the past and Dhoni's catch, how about Slater claiming Dravid on the 2001 (?) tour and then displaying an exhibition in naked aggression and intimidation against umpire Venkat? How about Glenn McGrath abusing Steve Dunne and going upunished despite being heard on the stump mic?

    This may be anarchy, but I think the Aussies invited this

  • Ram Perla on January 31, 2008, 20:01 GMT

    Very fair comments over all I can say and very good blog Mukul and much appreciable. * I too agree with some of the comments made by Peter Snmith have mentioned as If STEVE BUCKNOR would have refer 3rd umpire for most of his decisions, it would not have been this worst. I too agree with it, if a batsman hits a 6, but reply suggests it's 4 and the score board is changed accordingly...why not 3rd UMPIRES should over rule these kind of POOR DECISIONS given by on-field umpires. I think ICC must look into this point. * Some one else looks like more emotional towards OZ and forming a new Cricketing body and not including India in it. Yes, they deserve to do that and anyways if the AUS continues like this kind of on-field behavior, they have to form their Cricketing body for themselves to keep in the game.

    Cheers guys.....refer Ranatunga, Steve Waugh, Allen Border comments on recent AUS behavior. * Why Harbhajan should be fined, why not Symonds, who initiated the conversation & why not HOGG

  • Iyer on January 31, 2008, 19:55 GMT

    I think this is not a balanced article. Regarding clark's catch - I do not think he could be blamed. There is no clear evidence to prove him wrong. If at all someone has to be blamed for that fiasco, it is Anil Kumble - because he is the one who agreed to decisions to be made based on fielder's say. Surely there were other dubious umpiring decisions - but australians are not be blamed for umpiring errors. It happens - thatz part and parcel of this game. If there is one party to be blamed for harbhajan's episode, it is Procter - he should not have rushed to a decision based on the facts he had before him that day. We all know without any solid evidence even a real murderer cannot be called guilty.

  • Sidpat on January 31, 2008, 19:49 GMT

    Great balanced article, Mukul. And I am pleasantly surprised after your couple of previous articles that were little short of convicting Bhajji of racial slur. If you know any Punjabi, you would know that he would use a more vulgur abuse than saying 'Monkey' to the person who instigated him. I totally believe the explanation given by Bhajji that he said 'Teri Maan ki' to Symonds and not Monkey, just because it is considered a worse form of abuse related to the mother than just saying Monkey. It sounds just like Monkey and that's what might have rubbed Symonds & Hayden the wrong way. But if Aussies are going to say Bastards to Indian players and expect us to understand the Aussie culture of such abuse on field then hey, welcome to the Indian culture! What was annoying in this case was the way Proctor convicted Bhajji without any evidence. He has not yet made that evidence public. With his past record of Mcgrath-Sarvan episode, Oval saga & now this, isn't it time for him to go?

  • Phil on January 31, 2008, 19:47 GMT

    Most objective description of the episode and its afterrmath I have read so far from all. Well done, Mukul

  • Krishnamurthy on January 31, 2008, 19:43 GMT

    An excellent piece by Mukul. As a short-term visitor to Australia, I had the misfortune to witness a very shabby show by the Aussies, not just during the test matches or the Proctor bungle but also in terms of the Aussie media's treatment of Harbhajan. They assumed from the start that Bajji has used a "racist word" and that he should be "punished". After the judge's decision, outrage that "Harbhajan has got away" (!). Little comment on Brad Hogg calling Kumble and Dhone "bastards". In a nation where only two days ago a 50 + old, aboriginal leader, Ian Ward, was killed by the Australian police locking him up in an unventilated van and driving him in very hot weather for 4.5 hours, it is very odd there should be somuch fuss over the "racist" word "monkey". My personal view is that there is no joy in India playing the Aussie team for the next two or three years. BCCI shd tell them not to come to India in October '08 because they cannot control the crowds, feelings are high in India.

  • Chozhen Thenpandiyan on January 31, 2008, 19:43 GMT

    If one analyses the whole sydney test&aftermath-we can divide into 3aspects-1)umpiring errors2)cricketing behaviour3)the harbhajan-symonds affair-racism et al. I wonder why the rest of the world is so peeved with replacement of bucknor as umpire-lets face it if in the professional world we are less than competent we wold be replaced would'nt we..?Bucknor had passed his use by date &has made several bloopers down the years-mostly against india. Cricketing behaviour-one man's gamesman ship is anothers lack of sportsmanship-lets leave it at that..3)harbhajan-symnonds- all started with symonds criticizing indian celebrations for the t20 wc win-those comments really raised the heckles &stuck in the craw of most indians-that was uncalled for. similarly-harbhajan is no saint-whilst he might not have specifically used the word-'monkey'&being an indian i am inclined to belive he used the words-'teri ma ki' which to an aus would sound similar, should publicly apoligize for this ...hope he does!

  • IndianFan on January 31, 2008, 19:41 GMT

    Lot has been said papers, tv's, net, and what not.

    Maybe both teams are guilty but one hard fact has surely emerged from this fiasco and that is Australia cannot win without sledging, that has been known for a while now and it has been proved beyond doubt at Perth & Adelaide.

    I would say that sledging should be banned forever from cricket and anybody found guilty should be given REDCARD.

    This would make the players and team think twice before resorting to such tactics.

    If anyone interested for statistics sake please let me know in the past 4 years how many tests has Australia won without sledging/cheating, I know it would hard to find as a needle in the haystack.

    And somebody said on this board, I guess it was Dean or someone that Clarke was more than convinced he had taken the catch, give me break jack.

    Did you see the photo of that catch taken by Clarke? He was looking at the ball touching the ground and still lied.

    Thats the future Aussie captain for you guys.

  • thehan on January 31, 2008, 19:39 GMT

    I see a lot of comments from Indians implying that the rest of the cricketing world supports India and "abhors" Australia. What a load of rubbsh. I am from Sri Lanka and have to say that India has come out looking worse than Australia. They are the cry babies, including you Kesavan. Australians are at least this time the victims. I have to say I hate the Indians more than Australians now. Your article is an example of your own blindness and bias.

  • Dinashyam on January 31, 2008, 19:39 GMT

    I think the events in Sydney should be a wake up call for all the uncontrollable cricketers who have no control over their emotional outbursts. It is the Captain's responsibility to rein in team members who have the tendency to react emotionally and if possible be stern to the point of sitting them for couple of matches in order to teach them a lesson. This type of debacles the one we witnessed in Sydney puts lot of stress on other team members unnecessarily and messes up their cricket mindset. I think BCCI should make it clear to the players who tend to go overboard to watch it and not to behave like monkey see monkey do type of thing. If the other team is known to do uncivilized things on the field then we should not match it and degrade ourselves in the eyes of our fans. Sportsmanship in a player is well respected by everyone whereas non-sportmanship like behavior is applauded by only hooligans. Let us play sports and promote peace.

  • Venu on January 31, 2008, 19:32 GMT

    One thing I would like to point out is that in the 4th test, when Sachin got out to Lee after a fabulous century, Lee patted Sachin's head. I wonder why Symonds did not pull Lee up to tell him the same thing that he told Bhajji when he patted Lee's back?

    Anyway, by far one of the best columns I have read, Mukul. Comparing Ponting to Bush in looks and action was really funny and coming to think of it, sounds very very true.

  • arun on January 31, 2008, 19:31 GMT

    Good Analysis! While India might have sledged and flexed muscles, it is a reaction to what they hav egone thru. As Tony Greig and Sunil Gavaskar questioned, for aussies "What happens on the filed stays on the field" only when they make mistakes and they run like crybabies when they are made to listen to their own tune.

    Hopefully, this incident will reduce the on-field sledging.

    Readingeh message here, people seem to believe what they want to. Many Aussies and media think Indians are at fault and Indians here are proving that Aussies started all the ugliness. Both probably are right.

    Aussies feel lost when India is paying them back in their own way..

    A little Understanding, Respect, Toleration, and Compassion will help at this point.

  • cHEATIN_INDIAN on January 31, 2008, 19:30 GMT

    Wow, as per this blog Aus fans says India & Indians are very bad country & people. If so I wonder, why they want to come here & play in IPl ? I mean Australia is a very great country, what stopping it to start something like IPl, say APL. After all according to you, we are all racists & cheats. We Indians are worst people in planet. The great ICC is controlled by a corrupt, cheat & racist BCCI. Please, I on behalf of India request to you Australians, to cut all ties with India. After all we are the worst country on planet. On the other hand Australia is most tolerant, honest & non racist country in the world. Its people are known as most tolerant & hospitable to people of different colour & culture. Its players never abuse, insult opponents. They never ever cheated. They have never ever racially abused others. They always respect all the laws & sprit of game. They never cheated. & one last thing they always respect umpire’s decisions. So why they want to play INDIA/IPl?

  • Pushkal on January 31, 2008, 19:24 GMT

    How can calling someone a monkey be construed as a racial abuse? Who defines what racial abuse is and what is not? Will Darwin be booked for racial abuse as he had said that all of us have descended form animals that looked like monkeys and monkeys are our close cousins? Has Symonds cared to explain why calling him a monkey is a racial abuse? How did Procter figure out that monkey was a term of racial abuse? We are all discussing whether Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey. What was wrong if he actually did call him a monkey if Symonds had abused him and provoked him to utter these words? Where was the need to hide behind the fact that what Harbhajan actually said was "Ma ki" which sounded like monkey? And why should anyone be fined for calling someone "Ma ki"? Hasn't Hogg suggested that Bast***d is a term of endearment in Australia? Well Ma ki is a term of endearment in North India.

  • Avi on January 31, 2008, 19:21 GMT

    Iam proud to be an Indian. Well done Mukul, a good analysis. Also what happened Mr. Hogg who used the B word !!!

  • Jothi on January 31, 2008, 19:16 GMT

    Incidents are lessons. The dire need for Cricket to hold its head up is only one thing.

    Tutor/Give orientation about International Cricket's philosophy is.

    Train them how to handle sledging without halting the game in process.

    How to control your (mouth) self to avoid you sledging others.

    How to behave gentle in worst situations.

    This will bring the fme back to Cricket as " The Gentlemen's Game " from its current standing of rouge's game.

  • aabhas on January 31, 2008, 19:11 GMT

    Very well constituted piece of writing Mukul. I dont think there's anything left to be said about everybody's thoughts on this issue (aussie or indian). People have voiced their opinions and writers like Mukul and Roebuck have complied their own and people's views. Only thing I want to say is that to me as an Indian, it does not matter whether it was the players or the BCCI who who started the "call-off tour" chant, to me and to millions of indians - it was what we wanted. The reason being ofcourse that we have been on the receiving end too many times and now that we have finally have proved our performance and strength on and off (financial) the field we should start having a few things go our way. Symmo and punter might be emotionally drained after this but we shouldnt forget the emotions of our big 5 for whom it was the last Aussie tour which they desperately wanted to win. Their DREAM was taken away by the umpiring and the Bhajji accusation was just salt to the wounds.

  • Vishwajit Iyer on January 31, 2008, 19:10 GMT

    The fuse to this whole sorry sordid affair was lit after India's 20/20 victory when Symonds and possibly some other Aus players commented in a derogratroy manner about India's celebrations. Whilst I am not for racial vilification of any sort, Symonds got what he deserved(i mean the non-racial bit)- MR Symonds or anyone else dont tell India or any one else how to celebrate or dare comment on the extent of celebration-it's ones individual desire&happiness. By the same token, the indian media wallah's appear to have gone overboard to link everything with nationalism, lots of rhetoric and chest thumping which was unwanted& uncalled for-so was some newspaper which attempted to discuss the aussie psyche-I am an indian-have lived in Aus for 10 yrs and now am in NZ, would like to point out that Aus is one of the friendliest & best places to live in, the people are open, hearty and like a fight but also do respect you. Anyways, back to cricket-hope we have a good odi series, let cricket win! .

  • Jagmohan on January 31, 2008, 19:10 GMT

    very well written!seriously. after havin read this I feel all that has happened is definitely for good because the Australian Cricket Team showed their true character when put to true(real) test.

  • Ajay on January 31, 2008, 19:09 GMT

    I do not understand what the hell makes australian players disappointed with reducing the fine on Mr Singh...they should feel happy for the fact that Symonds was not awarded any punishment for starting this altercation..how many times did we saw Mr Lee patting Sachin in this series and in previous matches?...

  • simon on January 31, 2008, 19:05 GMT

    Some comments say they would take Tendulkars word. In my opinion his word is not worth a cracker now he's shown his true colours. Some comments say Australians don't walk ... you only have to look at Ganguly and Yuraj Singh (or should that be Sungh like his test career) to see that Indians are the worst. I don't agree with walking anyway, but don't point the finger if your team isn't lily white. Then there is the comment about Ponting spitting on his hands and who would shake hands with him after that. Let me see....what nationality would I worry about shaking hands with because of their practices? Hmmmm?

  • harjot kahlon on January 31, 2008, 19:04 GMT

    Spot On. This Ricky ponting & Co are a disgrace to the game. Their behaviour is horrible, unacceptable and trashy. They call it hard and fair. They need to be sent to school to learn some manners. I feel Mr Symonds cannot take responsibility for his actions. he was the one who provoked, and his mates-hayden, clarke & co actually fabricated the whole situation- not only covering up symonds abuse but directly blaming the victim. No wonder they are disappointed that the ban was lifted. Look at the twisting of words: "Hansen did not take into accounts all the facts" He made it clear that those facts did not pertain to racist abuse. I think best is to ban sledging.

  • kreacher_rocks on January 31, 2008, 18:51 GMT

    The funny thing in the whole affair is that "Teri Maa Ki" is regarded as a much more obscene remark in India than "monkey". Ironically Harbhajan got a less severe punishment for a more severe remark.

    That being said, the BCCI will do well to not flex its muscles unnecessarily. There is a saying about being nice to people on your way up, because you are bound to meet them on your way down.

  • Suresh Rajamani on January 31, 2008, 18:44 GMT

    Is BCCI flexing its muscles? Methinks not enough. Otherwise India would have rightfully won the Sydney test. Australia has been playing nasty for a long time. For Tendulkar they had even invented a new dismissal Shoulder Before Wicket.

  • Greg on January 31, 2008, 18:41 GMT

    Well written and objective !! As always, TRUTH PREVAILS. AUS team needs to change for the better - it's high time for them to do it.

  • Guru on January 31, 2008, 18:41 GMT

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE. Especially the comparision of West Indian and Australian teams at their heights gives a simple but ultimately true insight into the Australian side of today. West India side of the 70's and 80's was loved all across the globe not only for its mastery of the game, but also they way the played it an enjoyed it. Cricket Australia is not loved any where else than in Australia (there too with exceptions). Australian cricket is like a 'butcher with knife'. All blunt an not an iota subtle. If this trend continues, Cricket Australia is fast going to lose appeal. They should know that end doesn't justify the means. It pains me when people talk about Ind VS Aus being the ultimate contest. I am waiting for a team which will be as great and good as what West Indies once was. Then the contest will be a class and character cricket; not some vulgar-verbal tussle. Best thing perhaps for CB at this point is for Ponting to retire, let some gentleman take over the helm...tht soo hard?

  • PrateekGoel on January 31, 2008, 18:37 GMT

    The Aussies now have a non-winning streak in test cricket. That streaks stands at 2-0. India has a non-losing streak going in test cricket. That streak too stands at 2-0.

    It's so beautiful that India handed Australia a non-winning test match streak that actually started in Perth of all places.

    Aussies = non-winners India = non-losers

    fact is fact.

    India whines and complains. But why is Ponting and Cricket Australia whining and complaining after the appeal?

    Andrew Symonds says that there is no place in test cricket to be friendly. That basically sums up the "ugly Aussie".

  • Captain Swing on January 31, 2008, 18:36 GMT

    it's odd really. I read the other blogs like Pakspin and so on, and I find that Pakistani fans are just like English fans in a robust attitude of cursing players, administrators and selectors when they lose Tests. Only Indians react with hysteria and massive whingeing.

    The Pakistanis also had an absolutely cast iron case against the Hair/Doctorove slander - none of the nine constantly-filming cameras showed ball-tampering. Inzamam did the only thing he could do, and it worked. The ICC is now reconsidering Pakistan's forfeiture of that Test at the request of the Pakistan Board, which is backed by England.

    Quite a lot of dignity and respect has been salvaged from a harrowing and disgraceful incident. But of course that's not the Indian way. Hysteria and childish threat is the constant reaction to the slightest umpiring error (and I'm damn glad that Steve Bucknor is black or we'd have racist accusations to contend with).

  • rob on January 31, 2008, 18:33 GMT

    Another thing that really annoys me... India lost (yes... LOST) 2-1. They were good, but not good enough. The umpiring decisions were NOT biased. To accuse them of being biased is simply bad sportsmanship. Maybe, India will beat Australia next time in India. Good luck to them. But both sides need to remember that they won't always be the best, so some grace in defeat or victory would be welcome. In this respect, the Sri Lankan team could teach both sides a lot.

  • sunamitha on January 31, 2008, 18:26 GMT

    What I want to know is What did Symonds say to Harbhajan that so badly provoked him? Why is that not made public? Symonds has made comments like " I let him how I felt about it". But what exactly was he saying ? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to deduce that it was abusive to the point of riling Harbhajan. You want to talk about abusive behavior, let's hear the other side of the story...

  • Ben on January 31, 2008, 18:25 GMT

    Typical unbalanced, fanatical journalism to be expected from the Indian media.

  • Venkat on January 31, 2008, 18:25 GMT

    Someone commented that "Australians are the least reported side". Sadly true. Actually they should be at the top. Even in this instance where Harbhajan is guilty, the judge has clearly indicated that Symonds did insult Harbhajan which started the whole episode. Unfortunately the opponents of Aussies don't report it. Not that they are saints. They keep quiet when they are winning by a margin. Whenever the game gets close/tight, all these sledging to unsettle the batsmen start. The whole episode would not have happened if Harbhajan didn't make runs in Sydney which goes to show how saintly the Aussies are. I would prefer from here on for all the sides to carry a tape-recorder when they go out to bat against them and record and show the world how dirty the Aussie tactics are. They have used the "B" word many times in the past which is much much stronger than the "M" word even if Harbhajan used it. Now that the Aussies are losing control they are complaining.

  • Vijay on January 31, 2008, 18:23 GMT

    needless to say, was a terrific article, bringing out the reality to the fore - for long we have seen this australian hegemony, but no body came forward to report in this fashion, i find only gavaskar who can match you in terms of giving the australians back.

    I am waiting eagarly for your next article...

  • T. B. on January 31, 2008, 18:23 GMT

    While I'm certain Bhajju didn't call symonds a 'monkey', but something else that sounded possibly like 'monkey' to the ones onfield that are unfamiliar with the Indian languages through their earful of fleas (Yes, many australians have to have their ears regularly washed out to clean out fleas), I have only one thing to say, which is --- if Bhajju has indeed called symonds a 'monkey', then Bhajju is guilty of insulting every monkey that existed, exists, and has the potential to exist.

    That is all.

  • Titus Sequeira on January 31, 2008, 18:23 GMT

    I guess India has won a deserved moral victory over Australia. That said, I think BCCI has to slap a punishment to Harbajan Singh! Whatever the judgement, I believe that he is not a SAINT and BCCI needs to come down hard on such on-field behaviour - playing hard is fine, but non-sporting like conduct should not be tolerated! Anyways, Harbajan is a FLOP as a cricketer on this tour!

  • John Hanlin on January 31, 2008, 18:22 GMT

    It's an interesting article. The biggest thing to emerge out of Hansen's finding is about Michael Clarke. I think he has been found to be highly unreliable. His claiming of the Ganguly catch was appalling, at best he could have said he was unsure. People whoc clain about the Dhoni , Pietersen, well watch it again the umpire gave it out, Dhoni shook his head saying he was unsure and if I remember correctly Pietersen was called back. Clarke standing his ground after nicking to first slip was the worst thing I've seen in my life. And now they wnat to make this blatant liar the Captain? Gangulys scoop to Hussey will defintely fall under the unsure category as any batsmen who has played cricket will know that you can be sure of an yorker. Third umpire was the right desicion. Similarly nobody questions lbw desicions whether for or against Australia or India. Its the blatant caught behind and stumpings that people cringe about. The less said about Symnods the better..why did he provoke?

  • Roy's Violations on January 31, 2008, 18:18 GMT

    It would have been perfact if one can answer my question. Why ICC was providing ICC violation history only for Harbhajan and not for Rot and other witnesses.

  • Abu on January 31, 2008, 18:17 GMT

    Excellent article. The asian cricketing teams have been given a raw deal for decades . Now that balance of power is shifting towards the orient everyone's waking up and finding fault with asian teams..as for carl who thinks aussies may move away from ICC to form a new group..GOOD LUCK mate...the whole world knows who would have stood to lose more had this ind-aus tour been cancelled; i cant see power balance shifting back from asia for decades to come.

  • Joan on January 31, 2008, 18:11 GMT

    Of course Harbhajan called him monkey - and rightly so. Symonds is a boor, like every other member of the Australian team, including 'selectively fair' Gilchrist. They've had it coming for a long time, and finally someone said something to these thick-skins that really hurt, otherwise they just dint seem to get it.

    But the real monkey is Bucknor, the last of the Uncle Toms.

  • dinesh on January 31, 2008, 18:04 GMT

    Excellant article. No one has the guts to stay that australians are coward except Mukul. They cannot accept defeat. Everybody knows what happened in Sydney which India should have won. If that is the case, then India won the series. It is shame on Cricket Australia which cannot control their cricketers. Ponting continue the Wagh's legacy of bad behaviour as Greg said. It is a pity that CA is now developing another cricketer like clarke who takes the catch from the ground and appeals. There is no evidence that Harbajan has uttered that "M" word. Inspite of this, they make a hue and cry. When they visited India, they made personal comments about Ganguly. It is a shame to australian cricket board to have developed such a bad mannered team. I strongly suggest that India should not play Australia for another 10 years then only they will realise about the sport. Since they are a winning, they feel that they can do whatever they want. It is shame for all australian sports men.

  • yash on January 31, 2008, 18:03 GMT

    I dont usually leave comments. Even if I do, I dont usually leave my name and email id. I got to agree this is not only a WELL written article, but it says things as they are. I am glad I came to this page. I also am not sure if Harbhajan is guilty or not. My mind tells me that he most likely is, and I agree with your analysis of this situation. Thanks

  • Gaurav Shrivastava on January 31, 2008, 18:02 GMT

    Wow! Thats a very well written article. Doesnt seem partial to any side and conveys the facts really well. Good job Dude!!

  • sorrydaijin on January 31, 2008, 17:59 GMT

    This article is spiteful and inflammatory. I wish I had an equally spiteful and inflammatory to shove back down your throat, but the whole thing has become tiresome. Both sides are claiming to be victims when both acted like snotty children fighting in the playground. The only real victim has been the sport. Blaming the umpires is the worst part. These guys are paid to watch a ball and they do a pretty good job most of the time. having them thrown into the path of the billion dollar bus the BCCI is driving as it overtakes Cricket Australia's bogan-mobile is just not cricket.

  • GS on January 31, 2008, 17:57 GMT

    Racism is deplorable and should be condemned always. If Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey, he should bear the consequences, period. However, my question is, who decides what is offensive and what is not. Australians talk crap on the field all the time about one's mom/sisters/families and that is considered as part of the game. Where is the fairness in that? What is offensive and what is not is different for every individual, let alone different cultures. Hence, as long as we keep sledging a subjective matter, it will not be resolved. We have to look at it objectively and that will give us a clear-cut line that shouldn't be crossed.

    As for Australians crying about BCCI's "deplorable" actions, it was Australia and England who had their ways for years. Now that BCCI has the financial clout, it can finally stand-up for itself and be counted. If normal means of protesting fail, what is one supposed to do? Should we have just requested the Aussies to listen to us? Stop fooling yourself!

  • Prashant on January 31, 2008, 17:54 GMT

    Interesting that Aussie posters on the blog call this article 'biased' and 'sensationalistic.' it would appear that they, like George Bush supporters here in the US, consider every argument that doesn't completely support their opinions to be biased. The Indian reaction to events, however deplorable, is a consequence of the yob culture that dominates Australian and English sport and which has been allowed to flourish unabated for almost 40 years (remember the Chappells?) It's all very well for Aussies to start taking the moral high ground when they've reached the top. The fact is, they've opened up a Pandora's box through 40 years of on-and-off field behaviour (Slater's abuse of Dravid, Ponting's drunkenness in India etc.) What the Indians did in Oz was wrong, but the can of worms that the Aussies have opened over 40 years was bound to hit them back sometime. It's time they accepted the consequences and the fact that it will take a few years for players to start behaving normally.

  • CricFan on January 31, 2008, 17:52 GMT

    Hello all

    Good article and comments.

    For start Harbhajan is not innocent... I am sure he did said it, but if you look at it closely and also following the Symonds statement it is Symonds who started it why did this fact is overlooked. If you start it you will get back. It is fault of all ICC, BCCI and CA. ICC for not acting in correct manner and for all dual standards set by Proctor, BCCI for showing power of money and CA for no acting properly with their players conduct.

    Whole Sydney saga is mishandled from the start. Proctor showed dual standard handling the match...

    1) There is no action for over appealing. 2) Why not Ponting got banned for claiming a grassed catch when same referee banned Rashid Latif against Bangladesh. 3) Main point is over looked as Symonds who started it I am sure Lee is good enough to handle things on his own this shows me that Symonds love to bully players.

    Proctor should have banned Harbhajan, Ponting and Symonds for un sportsman behavior.

  • Ranjiith Selvarajan on January 31, 2008, 17:52 GMT

    (contd.) I really believe that Symonds' was a case of misunderstanding.Hayden & Clarke seem to be talking out of their backsides.They were in no position to have heard what Singh said(certainly not in a better position to Sachin).

    Time to get a move on and play the game.

  • Omar on January 31, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    This is all pretty stupid, "Monkey" isn't even racist, CALM DOWN. there are much more racist words that can be used, Symonds needs to stop acting like a little sensitive character, and Harbhajan just plain needs to be suspended by the BCCI for a few games. It doesn't matter what the ICC's outcome of this was, the fact that Harbhajan even brought this upon the good Indian name should give BCCI enough reason to handle the matter in their own personal manner. They fought for their guy on the world front, Now they need to discipline him in the home front.

    CA also needs to discipline Symonds for his unsportsman like conduct and quotes. "There is no place for friendship in Tests".

    Throughout this whole ordeal, I have seen one thing come up more and more, People saying India and Australia are done playing each other.

    They are TEAMS, understanding the concept of team, They can both be unhappy with each other, however it seems, most of the team's players are quite content with opposition.

  • Ravi Dasika on January 31, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    Bravo Mukul, you voiced the sentiments of cricket fans like me. Its time the australians get serious about their cricket. Remember the idiot Michael Slater's incident in India some years back. The Australians haven't learned much in the recent years.They play cricket orally , not with their bats and balls. Its disgusting to see them like that. I call for a separate Asian Block in the cricketing world and we will see the results.

  • Ranjiith Selvarajan on January 31, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    I see a lot of comments about how Tendulkar changed his story from the 1st hearing to the 2nd.Where did you get that from? Tendulkar denied that he heard Singh saying 'monkey' during the 1st hearing.And he said what he heard in the 2nd.In the 1st hearing,Procter dismissed Tendulkar's witness as insignificant because he was supposedly not close to the action when the original exchange takes place.

    Now,if any of you have recorded what happened(or if there is a youtube version),please go back and look at it.Tendulkar was the only person apart from Symonds who was the closest to the exchange.Hayden came running over from the slips(from where he couldn't have heard much.Gichrist who standing quite close to him denied having heard anything) after everything was over and reading Hansen's report,his testimony seems to someone trying to stick up for his friend(just by taking his friend's word).Clarke's testimony is even funnier and from the video,he seems even farther off than Hayden(contd.)

  • HB on January 31, 2008, 17:47 GMT

    It is hilarious to see people get their underpants in a bunch about this. Why don't we just say it as it is. 1. Harbhajan is an uncivilized spoiled brat of an Indian athlete who thinks he is better than everyone else because he is an athlete. He carries the same superiority complex as the old British Raj and every administrator in India. 2. Symonds actually looks like a monkey not because of his race but because of his ridiculous face cream that he smears to be "intimidating". All those jokers that smear more than a jar of cream on their face each time they go out in the sun are just making a mockery of themselves. 3. None of the participants in this fiasco are famous for their honesty or their strength of character. They are famous because they can hit and throw a ball. Let's not deify them on either side of the fence.

    Cheers. Oh and this is coming from an Indian fan by the way.

  • Sadasivam on January 31, 2008, 17:40 GMT

    Very well written! Aussies are definitely sore losers. Look at how they reacted when India stalled their victory streak in the 1960s by defeating Richie Benaud's team in Kanpur. Benaud and his team responded by skipping the customary post-match tea with the opposing team. The Aussie press accuses India of using money power to arm twist the Aussie board. Where were they when Kerry Packer, the Aussie TV moghul, flexed his muscle to coerce the Aussie board during the one day series held there earlier? Due to the pressure he placed on the board, it was agreed that matches would be terminated within a time framework (whether the matches were complete or not) to facilitate telecasting of the results within the timings his network dictated. Cricketing history has shown innumerable times that Whites and Blacks alike look down upon Browns. This deep-seated racial prejudice is at the root of all such controversies, with a ruckus being created when the tables are turned in favor of the Browns.

  • Vibhor Jain on January 31, 2008, 17:37 GMT

    This is one of the most thoughtfully and maturely writen article on the recent Aus-Ind issue, except for the 'GeorgeBush' comparison. It is clear that the Aussies have been bullying the opposition teams, especially at home, and now they are uneasy because India/Indian players told them to stop doing that in order to win. Aussie are a bunch of sore losers who don't even want to acknowledge that they have a probelm with their behavior. Ponting has been particularly nonchalant about it, since they had been winning. After they lost the Sydney test, he's squirming in his captain's seat like a rat!! Well done India and Judge Hansen for showing the mirror to the Aussies. Oh and also there's the small matter that world-cricket in future is going to be controlled by an Asian country. Take that snobby whites!!!

  • Shantan Lingala on January 31, 2008, 17:37 GMT

    Well said Mukul! I think you have been a bit harsh on Ponting and the comparison with George Bush is a little overboard. But, I think India should be even more pissed right now because Symonds was let off scotfree. Why was Bhajji's fined but Symonds let off? The Indians should have taken up the case against Michael Clarke for bringing the game into disrepute, first by not moving after the big edge and then for claiming a dodgy catch! I remember the same Mr. Procter banned Rashid Latif for 2-3 test matches for claiming a dodgy catch. Where is Mr. Procter's fair sense now? No wonder Sunny Gavaskar cried foul and called it racism on the part of the match referee!

    To be fair, it was great test series and the just result would have been 1-1 instead of 1-2 against India. India might have won in Sydney if Bucknor had heard the edge of Symonds when he was on 30 or Symonds had 'upheld' the spirit of the game by walking!

  • Shankar on January 31, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    Too much of a hyperbole.

    Why should Tendulkar's word be taken as gospel? Why this unnecessary deification? I think he acted admirably in the team's best interest. Absolutely no problem with that.. But even Tendulkar wouldnt be so shocked that his word is not being accepted. Can all rules of propriety be broken as a result of one party getting an advantage over the other? An appeal was possible, anyway. Isnt everybody equal before the law -- Mike Procter's charge or Hansen's commission?

    Also running down Ponting is so context (article) driven. He doesnt have a great record against India.. ok.. but how can anybody ignore his batting prowess/talent? World cup final in SA, 242 in Adelaide vs India.. How poor is his record against India as compared to Dravid's record against Australia? or Gangulys'? :-)

  • austen on January 31, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    One can't really comment from afar on the outcome of this particular case. Obviously I intense dislike racism because it is an affront to human dignity. But so are mealy mouth forms of sledging that is common within the Aussie team. Why are they allowed to get away with it?

  • Two eyes. on January 31, 2008, 17:34 GMT

    Absolute hogwash. Mukul your journalistic drivel is one of the many reasons why cricket is doomed to split. Don't be afraid I won't spit at you.

  • Mahendar Oza on January 31, 2008, 17:33 GMT

    The favourable replies to this article by Mukul are testaments to the facts well represented. Mukul please continue to write objectively like this to improve the Deteriorating playing conditions in the world of cricket namely, the players, public, commentators,umpires and the administrations.

  • Ezhil on January 31, 2008, 17:30 GMT

    Very well written Mukul. Your article is very well balanced and deeply analysed. But I strongly believe that the Aussies will not correct themself. Only way of returning back to them is, Indian team should take the CB series cup.

  • Different perspective on January 31, 2008, 17:26 GMT

    Let me start with this. I hate BCCI.

    Now here the point.

    BCCI was in much better position to influence Mike Procter who is an ICC employee not a high court judge from NZ.

    Please read total transcript and you have to agree that judge did full analysis of the event.

    Yes, Harbhajan was lucky to get away with only 50% match and Symond was also lucky to go scot free.

  • Farouk Cassim on January 31, 2008, 17:25 GMT

    When bad umpiring is compounded by a thoroughly inept handling of a hearing something drastic had to happen. Someone ought to undertake a scientific study to determine how many bad decisions went against Australia in the last twenty years and how many against the teams they have faced. I seem to think that a disproportionately large number of really bad decisions have been given against the teams playing Australia. I think it is absolutely essential for each team to have three opportunities per innings of appealing a decision. If an appeal is upheld the quota of three will still be in force.

    If the whole world can see that a decision is patently wrong why let the injustice go unchecked and spoil the outcome of a match?

    Thanks for a well written article. Everyone will have got the message that the days when officials could rough shod over players is FINALLY over. If indeed it was Tendulkar and Kumblewere who stood their ground, then I say to them well done. This is a watershed.

  • Vivek on January 31, 2008, 17:24 GMT

    This is something!! Well written! You have exposed the real frustration in just one sentence " Anglo-Australian commentators saw not an evolutionary shift in cricket's centre of gravity, but a thuggish take over, while south Asian fans and journalists saw a western unwillingness to acknowledge the end of empire."""

  • Vivek on January 31, 2008, 17:22 GMT

    This is something!! Well written! You have exposed the real frustration in just one sentence " Anglo-Australian commentators saw not an evolutionary shift in cricket's centre of gravity, but a thuggish take over, while south Asian fans and journalists saw a western unwillingness to acknowledge the end of empire."""

  • Preet on January 31, 2008, 17:18 GMT

    Good one Mukul, The article completely emotes the situation on hand. Aussie and Brit media are spinning the news and view to make it look like it was all India's fault. Kudos to you for bringing out the other side of the coin.

    I would just like to add the few more instances of Micheal Clarke's lack of character. He is a complete liar, as pointed out by the judge, in saying he didnt hear 'anything' from Symonds even when Symonds himself agrees on calling names. And then the issue which surprisingly on one has raised, the way Clarke bowled to Dravid in Perth in the first innings. Just before Dravid got out Clarke was rushing through his overs and by rushing I mean he was running up even when the batsman was not ready and umpire had his arm outstretched to signal the bowler to wait. Needless to say it was infuriating for the batsman and Dravid seemed reasonably upset after the over. He even complained to the umpire, but the shrewd aussies have won the mind game by then.

  • Srikki on January 31, 2008, 17:11 GMT

    I was waiting for Mukul's take on this issue. I should say I was not disappointed at all on reading this column. This whole article is nicely balanced and puts things in perspective from a historical stand-point. The biggest villian of the whole episode is future Aussie captain - Clarke.

  • shamoni8 on January 31, 2008, 17:10 GMT

    lol. i havent read all the comments, but the aussie fans will still tear you apart for dissing their team & for even trying to blame them.

  • Andre on January 31, 2008, 17:09 GMT

    Great write up. It puts things in perspective. All the Aussies complaining out Mukul's take on Indian take over of cricket, only have to read Peter Roebuck's take on the same issue to cool themselves.

  • Sledger on January 31, 2008, 17:07 GMT

    Nice article. I think Hansen has given a fair decision, though I believe Symonds also should be punished for starting all this absolute nonsense. Why he should be worried if Lee has no problem. Sadly, his plot worked at least for a few weeks

  • Murali Dhanakoti on January 31, 2008, 17:01 GMT

    I don't understand why the Aussies cry foul over the judgment, there was not enough evidence and the case was tossed out - its simple stuff people. Aussies have reason to feel aggrieved if they genuinely feel Harbajan was guilty which they seem to believe, but they just cannot heap all the blame for losing the case on BCCI. They lost because of lack of evidence and the judge's lack of sympathy towards their plea because it was Symonds who had instigated this whole drama. All the talk of BCCI flexing its muscle is hogwash. It is amazing how it is all fair and well when you call a Sri Lankan "Black Monkey" but when it comes to getting it back all of a sudden the whole world has become devoid of justice. What a pansy bunch of hypocrites surrounded by an equally hypocritical media.

  • Ravi Motamarri on January 31, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    I have been hardcore (Indian)cricket fan all my life and this incident doesn't stop me from being one.

    I hope this crap goes off our minds once T20 and ODI Starts, but the truth of the matter is 1-1 would have been a rightful result of the test series. I was disheartened waking up and looking at the Sydney test result.

    I am hoping that India does the miracle that England did in the previous CB series(asking for more?)

    GO INDIA!!!!

  • sreekaanth on January 31, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    However, given it is an objective interpretation that is not the end of the matter. I must consider if the “ordinary person” would have been offended in a 3.3 sense. That again requires a look at context. Mr Singh had innocently, and in the tradition, of the game acknowledged the quality of Mr Lee’s bowling. That interchange had nothing to do with Mr Symonds but he determined to get involved and as a result was abusive towards Mr Singh. Mr Singh was, not surprisingly, abusive back. He accepts that his language was such as to be offensive under 2.8. But in my view even if he had used the words “alleged” an “ordinary person” standing in the shoes of Mr Symonds who had launched an unprovoked and unnecessary invective laden attack would not be offended or insulted or humiliated in terms of 3.3. [58] So on that alternative basis I would also have been satisfied that the requirements of 3.3 would not be met. So even if bajji had used "monkey" he would have been let off as provoked by symo

  • cheeka on January 31, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    If the aussies have played hard and fair, then how come they dont know they were claiming bump catches, standing their ground after getting out in a glaring manner, using a gentlemanly agreement for getting unfair decisions, I think aussies are lousy in basic sportsmanship. If aussies have not been billed in the Sydney test for all their tall claims, it shows ICC, the referee and the umpires in poor light. The way they have taunted Harbajan after his chirping, shows they care two hoots for racist taunts. They would enjoy using this against the person who said it. Can you call this any slur except that the aussie cricket spirit seems to be a slur on sports.

    When sehwag appealed, on his first few matches in SA, he was banned, because he was moving towards the umpire when appealing. Pollock, Warne, Mcgrath have done vociferous appealing, glaring, sttanding their ground or going towards the wicket keeper. They got away with it. Can there be any more mockery of bending a rule.

  • errol on January 31, 2008, 16:57 GMT

    Very well written article. You should replace Peter Roebuck.

  • Saxon on January 31, 2008, 16:51 GMT

    Excellent analysis of the situation; would have been a great article except for two points:

    1. It is a myth that the West Indies team was "loved" universally - Read Gavaskar's book. We disliked them for bouncing the tailenders and their fans for "beying for blood"

    2. You ought to keep your socialist/communist political views where they belong and stick to sports writing, at which you are good. So, don't lecture us about George Bush and Iraq.

  • Chinmay on January 31, 2008, 16:47 GMT

    I think we all should forget about all that happened in Sydney and enjoy the excellent cricket that these 2 nations have dished out during the test series..Lets also appreciate the behaviour shown by Adam Gilchrist and VVS Laxman,for being the only guys who walked soon as they knew that they were out..Great sportsmanship there...

  • Cricket Tragic on January 31, 2008, 16:45 GMT

    To Dean: I appreciate that as an Australian fan you want to stick up for your team. Fair enough. At the end of the day though, every cricket fan who does not support Australia, whether they are from England the Windies or India will tell you that the Sydney test was a farce created only by the Aussies. They cheated, they got ludicrous decisions in their favour and most of all they behaved like a bunch of prats - I was embarrassed for them just by watching on TV thousands of miles away. In terms of the sledging, they are incredibly intimidating and say things to opposition players that would get you a bruise or twelve around my neck of the woods. I agree that racism is totally unacceptable. However, people need to understand the rule of cause and effect. Indians, generally speaking don't spend time in first class cricket sharpening their sledging skills. So when in a intense environment like Test cricket, if someone is subjected to extreme abuse,then he will react. Aus-hypocrites.

  • Kunal Jain on January 31, 2008, 16:44 GMT

    Also, they need to get over it if they think that Bhajji called Symonds a 'monkey'. I think everyone should agree that calling someone a 'monkey' is not as bad as calling the whole team 'bastards' or using the four letter word. YOU are a racist if YOU think that calling Symonds a 'monkey' is a racial slur because YOU really think that he looks like one and YOU are making it look even more serious than what it is. If you're not a racist would you still mind it if someone else was called by that? NO!!! Anyways... who would listen to me? lol...

    Also, if they think that India has flexed its financial muscles in Bhajji's case, then let it be. After all, this is not the 1950s anymore and 'survival of the strongest' should very well apply here according to Mr. Ponting!

    I'm loving Australians getting treated like this. They are definitely the best cricket playing nation but they deserve to be shown that there's more than just cricket in this sport they need to learn!

  • proj on January 31, 2008, 16:44 GMT

    Peter Roebuck should read this or someone should have him read this !! He should understand if the aussies have a culture, indians have one too and the australians should be cognizant of that. Congrats Mukul ! i have faced this personally in the US as well with none to back me. The whites are the biggest racist in the world.

  • proj on January 31, 2008, 16:43 GMT

    Peter Roebuck should read this or someone should have him read this !! He should understand if the aussies have a culture, indians have one too and the australians should be cognizant of that. Congrats Mukul ! i have faced this personally in the US as well with none to back me. The whites are the biggest racist in the world.

  • siva on January 31, 2008, 16:43 GMT

    Racism does not exist in India - as you can see Gandhi, who is called as Great Soul (Mahatma), worked to liberate Black from White fanatics. So, in India, nobody uses or abuses based on race. I am sure Bhajji must be the same. So, because of provocation, he might have abused Symonds, which Australians are very well known, in his mother tongue. So, I hope this stops the Great Australian Sledging team stop the sledging on the other teams.

  • Pratik on January 31, 2008, 16:42 GMT

    This whole fiasco makes me angry and happy about what happened in Australia. For once Indian players stood as one. Another thing is why is no one seems to be blaming Symonds since he started this had he not said anything neither would have Bhajji. Its Funny one of the post here says that Aussie and other nation are going to split from ICC and make another body. In that case i would like to recite a dialogue from "SHREK" "You and what other army"(Country). What happened to "Innocent till proven Guilty thing" If anyone who thinks that Bhajji said "Monkey" Provide the proof. Hell even Symonds is not clear what he said. I would take Tenulkar's word as oppose to anyone else in the cricketing world. In many peoples view it's Bad INIDA having the money power, but iam sure There are quite a few countries that are glad that it is this way I bet even PAKISTAN would agree on this. Great Article by the way.

  • Travis on January 31, 2008, 16:42 GMT

    Mukul has got the Bush-Iraq analogy the wrong way round. The BCCI were the national interest acting unilaterally in this case.

    Mukul is pretty lame as a cricket writer, but when he then tries to relate it to international politics?! Oh, please. What a joke.

    I feel embarassed to even be a witness to such self-righteous idiocy.

  • gopi on January 31, 2008, 16:38 GMT

    Accountability? Are everyone involed in a cricket match accountable for their mistakes? Yes the players have to perform if not they will be axed,they have to behave both on&off the field if not they will be banned. What about the umpires? I agree they aren't super humans but they have to be made accountable if they keep making mistakes(one can't survive in football as a referee if he makes so many errors).Umpires in the elite panel can't afford to make so many mistakes .If that would have been avoided then the rest would have gone smooth. On the other hand captains should be role models Mr.Ponting is not an ideal man to revive the tarnished image of the Aus cricket team as he himself hasn't had a good reputation on the international scene right thro his career(pawar incident,post match conference in syndey 2 name few).When Cricket Australia felt that WARNE wasn't the right man to lead their team for his off field behaviour I can't understand how they have choosen Ponting to lead.

  • Kunal Jain on January 31, 2008, 16:29 GMT

    Here're my comments to this entire episode especially after Ponting said that it's not the 1950s anymore:

    Mr. Ponting and Team have got things wrong and now Ponting's comment (this one) contradicts himself and his team's latest reaction to Sreeshant's agression. If this is not the 1950's (as he says) then why does he expect Indians to behave the way they have behaved all these years. If Indians are changing too atleast to the deserving Australians then when can't they take it sportingly. They have problems with the new cricketers in the Indian side because the new guys are really agressive and that's why they feel comfortable with the veterans as they have always suck up everything! We are not suckers anymore and we will cotinue to treat them the way they deserve to be treated! I'm sooo looking forward to see some typical Sreeshant agression when he goes out to the field soon! They just cant accept the reality that India is a much better and agressive side than it used to be!

  • Matthew on January 31, 2008, 16:28 GMT

    I'm sorry but your article is all 100% bullshit. India and Australia are both very good team's. They don't need a moron like you commenting on it, you racist. I watched every single ball bowled, and i believe that in total there where 7 incorrect decisions made against India and 6 against Australia and while the timing of those decisions was poor you cant blame The Australian cricket team for what a blind aging umpire did, unless your saying that the umpire is match fixing (well?),in general the umpiring was better than the last time the ashes where played in England, where there were 18 incorrect decision's made against Australia and 4 against England in which Australia lost the ashes, so get over it racist, umpires are human and it happens , and if memory serves correct India agreed to having that blind umpire ,umpire the match . Go crawl back under the rock you came out from under neath racist. Cricket doesn't need your kind at all. You are Irrational and Racist.

  • George W. Bush on January 31, 2008, 16:24 GMT

    Excellent unbiased article. No wonder most of the non-Indian sounding named readers are moaning. It hurts to be caught pants down in your own backyard. Slippery or not, Michael Clarke did cricket no favor by standing although he was within his rights to wait for the umpire. As was of course Symonds, the paragon of truth telling who later confessed knowing he was out but stood regardless because it is the job of the umpire. Sure enough Symonds can rattle off the number of times he had been wrongly given out so by that rationale, what goes around comes around. "its racial vilification mate..". Good to know at least the great Hayden does not agree with Symonds that opposition players can't be friends!! Mate=Friend..geddit!!!! As for being cry babies, guess aggressive appealing for everything is ok. War cry perhaps! BTW, I am taller that Punter and at least don't lie.

  • Arnab on January 31, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    Mike Procter never gave the impression of being balanced and fair - even in the past.

    Calling some one monkey is no issue in the subcontinent. Even a father may call his son a "monkey" while scolding. However, it is not common, and of course quite offensive to call a person a "bastard". Isn't that a comment on someone's "origin" (given that ICC doesn't tolerate abuses based on race, religion, color or origin) ? But probably the Australians use that word left right and center.

    A grown up guy starts taking offense into things without much thinking, initiates a brawl by decrying a friendly behavior - all that evade Procter's eyes. And he falls for the simian puzzle.

    I hope he is not a racist, but it would certainly not touch the favorable side of the subcontinent mind that still stands witness to colonial aggression and racism - albeit they are history of the past.

  • George W. Bush on January 31, 2008, 16:21 GMT

    Excellent unbiased article. No wonder most of the non-Indian sounding named readers are moaning. It hurts to be caught pants down in your own backyard. Slippery or not, Michael Clarke did cricket no favor by standing although he was within his rights to wait for the umpire. As was of course Symonds, the paragon of truth telling who later confessed knowing he was out but stood regardless because it is the job of the umpire. Sure enough Symonds can rattle off the number of times he had been wrongly given out so by that rationale, what goes around comes around. "its racial vilification mate..". Good to know at least the great Hayden does not agree with Symonds that opposition players can't be friends!! Mate=Friend..geddit!!!! As for being cry babies, guess aggressive appealing for everything is ok. War cry perhaps! BTW, I am taller that Punter and at least don't lie.

  • Angshuk Pal on January 31, 2008, 16:16 GMT

    A perfect rejoinder to the Aussie media Mukul. Ponting and his men were getting away with 'blue murders' on the field all these years. Playing the game 'hard but fair'(??) --- my foot! Remember Sreenath's bouncer hitting Ponting on his face? Sreenath , like a true gentleman had apologised---remember how Ponting foul mouthed him? Ponting and his ambitious 'thuggy' deputy Clarke are trying to take over the pedestal of moral highgrounds now! And worse--Ponting says the civility of 1950's does not hold good in the current times! I say this is the most brazen act of hypocrisy in recent times.

  • Katherine Champion on January 31, 2008, 16:11 GMT

    This is one of the MOST balanced articles I have read on the affair. Some of us don't want to acknowledge that Harbhajan swore at Symonds in Hindi & did not call him a monkey.

    It is time for sledging to STOP, altogether. The Aussie & India cricketers and all other teams who are quite good at this deplorable practice should get on with the business of sport (I am loathe to use the words "spirit of the game" because that is long dead and killed by sledging).

    Mukul's article highlights that the Indian team have a dubious guilt about forcing the hand of the BCCI and the ICC as opposed to what some fans (I am supposing they are Aussie fans) think that he is trying to white wash Team India. He has not vindicated them of all wrong doing, in fact he points it out.

    I think the chickens have come home to roost & that those used to bullying others don't like it when the boot is on the other foot.

    Let's play nicely boys (and girls). Cricket is the loser in all this brinkmanship.

  • frusrtrated on January 31, 2008, 16:10 GMT

    I think what Paul McGuiness has said is right. India should stop playing Australia and Australian players should not be allowed to participate in IPL. Let Cricket Australia form their own council and play within their own group as wished by theird ardent fans. they do not have to play with a country which cannot accept their honest and law abiding "sledging" the OZs who destroyed aborigines talk about racism...... the fact is - even the fanatic OZs know that racist accusation was a perfectly planned screenplay to ratte indian team [as OZs were scared of a defeat] and to downplay umpiring decisions [12] which were disgustingly against India. I saw the video of underarm bowling of the last ball to ensure a tie against new zealand in 1982 onde day cricket - this shows how ugly and stinking OZs are when it comes to winning. they will win - at any cost. and the losing team should keep their mouth and as* shut!!1 if they retaliate - OZs will cry and accuse them of racistic comments.

  • addfair on January 31, 2008, 16:05 GMT

    The more I read Pontings comments in The Australian/Fox sports about how badly poor Symonds was treated the more hilarious I feel. Poor Symonds, an honest straight- forward chap, hard done by the judge. How dare they not respect the judge. Of course the judge was right about Symonds-he is totally unsportive and abused first. Wonder why it does not get through their heads that this is not right! BCCI did the right thing by supporting its players. Mr Peter Lalor has articles very one sided. Is he paid by CA and the Aussie team and express their views! Actually I feel very insulted as an Indian as to how Ponting can feel an aggrieved party ( in the NDTV interview). One can see he is very much deluded. Pooer chap. Its OK for his team to insult but not the other way around. Do we really want to see this bunch playing in India in April?. We should boycott it. I feel really disappointed in the Australian team. I had more respect for them before their reaction to the judges verdict

  • over this on January 31, 2008, 16:05 GMT

    mukul the tool what a vile article you have produced . To compare ponting with bush is nonsensical but i guess that trait is probably a requirement in your media. The way your countrys board has acted is a disgrace and you know it. Whilst no angels on the field australia is not a cheating country and for you to say as much with your cricket teams proud disaplinary history, going right to the early 80s with crickets self appointed moral guardian gavaskar walk off effort, reeks of hypocrisy. Do you even recall youraj singhs effort in the 1st test when he did the exact same thing as clarke after a massive edge? Oh and speaking of slippery, how many times has ganguly had to front the icc, even as captain to explain himself? When was the last time an aussie was fined for over appealing? A gentlemans agreement is just that but when its made with a bunch of spoiled princes used to getting their own way it will always become a farce.

  • Brian on January 31, 2008, 16:03 GMT

    Absolutely spot on. The best article I have ever read on Cricinfo. I hope the Aus team reads it and the comments and takes note.

    The Aus players' protests against the decision in Harbhajan's favour are a further disgrace. He may or may not have used that word but there was no conclusive evidence so there was only one possible verdict. Besides, they are being just a bit too precious (not to mention hypercritical) about all this. Racial abuse is unacceptable of course, but I don't really see why ANY insults are aceptable and they have a long, long history of insulting opposition players and have never been properly brought to task.

    The true result of this series was a draw. Australia won the Sydney test by cheating and if there was really any justice it should be declared null.

  • Rajeev K. Bansal on January 31, 2008, 16:02 GMT

    This is a very well written article. It is a shame that Australians play the game in such bad spirit. It started with Steve Waugh and has continued with Ricky Ponting. I see no positive changes happening in near future as Michael Clarke is being groomed for the captaincy.

    I strongly feel that IPL should reconsider some of the contracts for the above-mentioned players as they do not play the game in the right spirit, and therefore have no business playing in India.

  • SM on January 31, 2008, 16:01 GMT

    Wow, what a post Mukul - Filth on the field and Beer off it, well written Sir!! Just look at the statments of SYMONDS: "..Symonds said he had objected because "a Test match is no place to be friendly with an opposition player" but Hansen dismissed that explanation ("If that is his view I hope it is not one shared by all international cricketers"). and before that he said "...I was standing nearby and when I saw what happened, I thought, 'Hold on, that's not on'. I'm a firm believer in sticking up for your team-mate so I stepped in and had a bit of a crack at Harbhajan, telling him exactly what I thought of his antics. He then had a shot back, which brings us to the situation we're facing."

    So looks like Symonds need help in dealing with people on the field! He seems to think He is the saviour of the Aussies!! THis whole mess is nothing but a joke and Pointing is the worst 'cry baby'

  • JJ on January 31, 2008, 15:58 GMT

    Nice article...just sad that you don't say too mych about the cry-baby Indian cricketers who were going to take their ball and go home if they did not get their way. Now that is a mature nation isn't it?

  • Leyland Mingo on January 31, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    Excellently written, you could not have been closer to the truth. Everytime I watch Austraila on the field, I get this feeling that they are there to win, no matter who get 'slaughtered' in the process. They play and does so dirtyly and it is high time this is stopped. As a West Indian, I have seen the Aussies basically bully umpires into sticking their finger up and how can I forget the Sarwan/ McGrath fiasco. They make cricket seems not like a gentleman's game but like men at war.

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    However, given it is an objective interpretation that is not the end of the matter. I must consider if the “ordinary person” would have been offended in a 3.3 sense. That again requires a look at context. Mr Singh had innocently, and in the tradition, of the game acknowledged the quality of Mr Lee’s bowling. That interchange had nothing to do with Mr Symonds but he determined to get involved and as a result was abusive towards Mr Singh. Mr Singh was, not surprisingly, abusive back. He accepts that his language was such as to be offensive under 2.8. But in my view even if he had used the words “alleged” an “ordinary person” standing in the shoes of Mr Symonds who had launched an unprovoked and unnecessary invective laden attack would not be offended or insulted or humiliated in terms of 3.3. [58] So on that alternative basis I would also have been satisfied that the requirements of 3.3 were not met. Judge Hansen is saying is even use of "monkey" would not attract 3.3as symonds provoked

  • Sreekaanth P on January 31, 2008, 15:54 GMT

    [53] In my view it is therefore necessary to determine under 3.3 whether the “ordinary person” would be “offended, insulted, humiliated, intimidated, threatened, disparaged or vilified” on the basis of “their race, religion, gender, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin” by the words that were said. [54] Furthermore, the behaviour must be looked at in context. Such events are always contextual and the language or gestures referred to in 3.3 cannot be looked at in isolation and need to be considered in the context of the overall behaviour. However, given it is an objective interpretation that is not the end of the matter. I must consider if the “ordinary person” would have been offended in a 3.3 sense. That again requires a look at context. Mr Singh had innocently, and in the tradition, of the game acknowledged the quality of Mr Lee’s bowling. That interchange had nothing to do with Mr Symonds but he determined to get involved and as a result was abusive towards Mr Singh.

  • Umesh Srinivasan on January 31, 2008, 15:53 GMT

    Well done Mukul,a good analysis of the situation.It's high time the Aussies realise the Asians have it in them to give it back on and off the field.

  • Haroon Rashid on January 31, 2008, 15:52 GMT

    India's victory in the third test proved that umpiring was not up to the mark in the second test. Why do Australian commentators shrugg off criticism of umpiring is beyond understanding. The manner in which Ponting delcared Ganguly's catch clean was shameful Had the Indians or Pakistanis done so, they would have been declared cheats

  • Roger on January 31, 2008, 15:52 GMT

    Mukul Kesavan is talking nonsense.

    Fact: Australia are the best cricketing side in the world. They have won 16 times in a row,not once,but twice. No other country,India,included, has not even come close.

    Fact: India could not even bat for two sessions at Sydney. THAT is the reason they lost. Umpiring errors were inflicted on both sides.Sachin Tendulkar was out leg before to Michael Clarke when on 48. Both Wasim Akram and Ravi Shastri confirmed it. Blaming umpiring is a cover up excuse for India's poor performance.

    Fact: India nearly lost at Adelaide.

    Play the game and win,India.

    Flexing money muscles is not "the spirit of the game".

    Sour grapes.

  • Kishore Sharma on January 31, 2008, 15:52 GMT

    If you think it is likely that Harbhajan had uttered the word monkey, then it follows that Tendulkar,Kumble and Harbhajan had lied to the Match referee and the entire cricket world when they said that the word had not been uttered. How do you defend this action by your 'secular popes' Tendulkar and Kumble (who are most prepared to preach to others about the spirit of the game)?.

  • sreekaanth P on January 31, 2008, 15:51 GMT

    As well it is not without significance that the Australian players maintain other than Mr Symonds that they did not hear any other words spoken only the ones that are said to be of significance to this hearing. This is a little surprising in the context where there was a reasonably prolonged heated exchange. Indeed Mr Clarke went so far as to say that he did not hear Mr Symonds say anything. Given Mr Symonds’ own acceptance that he initiated the exchange and was abusive towards Mr Singh, that is surprising.

  • Rajeev K. Bansal on January 31, 2008, 15:51 GMT

    This is a very well written article. It is a shame that Australians play the game in such bad spirit. It started with Steve Waugh and has continued with Ricky Ponting. I see no positive changes happening in near future as Michael Clarke is being groomed for the captaincy.

    I strongly feel that IPL should reconsider some of the contracts for the above-mentioned players as they do not play the game in the right spirit, and therefore have no business playing in India.

  • Chatura on January 31, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    Carl Jackson in response says that Australia is trying to form its own little clique! I say, good riddance. Australia can play their brand of uncivilized, filthy cricket full of sledging, with their like minded buddies. The civilized world can then play a more sophisticated brand of cricket that will be enjoyed by the more sophisticated people of this world! Mukul, great analysis, BTW.

  • Vijay on January 31, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    Great Post Mukul. Exactly what any cricketer thinks in his mind. Absolutely spot-on.

  • Rohit Hippalgaonkar on January 31, 2008, 15:49 GMT

    pretty awesome article. nice job of rounding off all and sundry involved in this whole hooplah. The bit on the BCCI not really caring for the game still has me in splits! hahaha...

  • Sreekaanth P on January 31, 2008, 15:49 GMT

    When reviewing the evidence it is apparent that following incidents in India there was a little of ill feeling between Mr Singh and Mr Symonds. Mr Symonds felt he had been called a “monkey” which was a racial insult by Mr Singh. Mr Singh for his part said that he never called him such thing. Whatever was actually said it is apparent that they shook hands and there was an agreement. Mr Symonds maintained this was an agreement by Mr Singh not to use this word again. Mr Singh said it was a two way agreement whereby neither of them would speak to each other on the field in such a way. Mr Symonds was not cross examined by counsel for Mr Singh as to the extent of this agreement and whether it was two sided matter. But equally Mr Singh was not challenged as to his version that it was a two way agreement.

  • Sreekaanth P on January 31, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    Mr Symonds accepted that Mr Tendulkar of all the participants was closest to Mr Singh. A viewing of the video shows that people were moving around but certainly Mr Tendulkar appears to have been closest to Mr Singh in the course of the heated exchange we are concerned with. Contrary to reports that Mr Tendulkar heard nothing he told me he heard a heated exchange and wished to calm Mr Singh down. His evidence was that there was swearing between the two. It was initiated by Mr Symonds. That he did not hear the word “monkey” or “big monkey” but he did say he heard Mr Singh use a term in his native tongue “teri maki” which appears to be pronounced with a “n”. He said this is a term that sounds like “monkey” and could be misinterpreted for it.

  • Sreekaanth P on January 31, 2008, 15:47 GMT

    Please read transcript carefully.

    [12] It is apparent that the heated exchange arose because Mr Symonds took exception to the appellant patting the bowler Mr Lee on the backside. I have reviewed the television evidence of what occurred. It is clear that Mr Lee bowled an excellent yorker to Mr Singh who was fortunate to play the ball to fine leg. As he passed Mr Lee while completing a single Mr Singh patted Mr Lee on the backside. Anyone observing this incident would take it to be a clear acknowledgement of “well bowled”. [13] However Mr Symonds took objection to this and at the end of the 116th over he approached Mr Singh telling him he had no friends among the Australians in foul and abusive language.

  • Latha on January 31, 2008, 15:41 GMT

    Aussies Used Sledging and off-ground talking effectively over the years to gain substantial phsychological advantage over the opponents. they named it as aggresssive play. The batsman has to think both how to play next ball from McGrath and also how not to get him self furious to his sledging(you know his famous talk with Sarwan) It took a while for the opposite teams to stop them. Finally India put a check on them. Now all the teams learned how to drag the aussies into their own net.

    I don't blame anyone here it's all part of the game and the game contiues.

  • Sharon on January 31, 2008, 15:40 GMT

    Wonderful article Mukul. kudos to u..aussies sure cannot digest reading the truth. We are proud of our country and our that indians one game winning treak is stopped after Adelaide test. To all the aussies out there who cannot stomach indian's power in cricket, dont come and play in IPL.We will flex our muscles coz of our money power. Let aussies come to india in Sep.

  • Wally on January 31, 2008, 15:34 GMT

    Im a proud aussie cricket supporter. However I have travelled to India prior to this debacle and had many conversations and joy with for example poorer Indians who love the game, he would say his favourite aussie player was Lee I would say my favourite Indian player was Tendulkar.

    Lets not ruin our common cricket tradition and all take aim at the ICC, BCCI and CA to promptly put in place management changes, protocols codes whatever it takes to remove the shocking management that cricket and Aussies and Indians deserve. Some media and journalists are making the situation worse also.

    Lets try release the pressure, how about when Symonds goes out to bat in the 20/20 he walks like a monkey for a few paces, both sides could have a laugh and play some decent cricket and forget this crap. Or perhaps if that is a bit sensitive and outrageous, which I imagine it is, a streaker should run out in a monkey suit :) I dunno, bring some humour into it.

    Over and Out - Wally

  • Bob W on January 31, 2008, 15:28 GMT

    OH!! All you armchair cricketers-cricket officials and court room judges. You all think that you would do it better. If so then get off your backsides and get into cricket administration and one day you might take Malcom Speeds job. Then see if you can do a better job with a corrupt BCCI trying to run the entire show. My opinion is that Tendulkar has lost his integrety and is a Liar, Kumble is a hypocrite and Harbhajan is a racist and a liar. But that is my opinion and opinions are like arseholes they all have holes in them and the Indian ones all stink.

  • rsingh on January 31, 2008, 15:28 GMT

    Very well written!! True winners never cheat: that rules out 80% of each of these two teams. However, it was refreshing to see Sachin stepped up and held his ground, and to some extent, I believe Brett Lee did the same.

  • ami on January 31, 2008, 15:23 GMT

    Guys ENOUGHT! So Much hatred. You take a white aussie or take a brown indian and cut their hand and guess what colour the Blood is. We may be different in colur but we are all "Humans". We both love our countries and are proud of our people but as the great Ghandi said "An eye for an eye makes the world blind". To my fellow Indians we belive in incarnation, who's to say we were not aussies in our past lives or vice versa. Life is too precious too hate. Lets agree to disagree like "Men", lets not see eye to eye but letsnot hate. Most of you here critising oneanother have never even met. Have your view's but remeber when you put your head on your pillo to sleep tonight, how will you judge yourself. Will you be proud of what you have said and done, will hate make you proud, would bitterness make you proud. I am a proud Indian but I live in a great country called Australia. Unlike you all I love Indians and Australians Equally. And when i sleep tonight i will be proud of being me. Will you

  • Mike Apparicio on January 31, 2008, 15:23 GMT

    I am neither Indian or Australian, just a very frustrated cricket lover whenever I have to watch any cricket team playing against the Australians, and often wonder why the Umpires allow the Auzzies to get away with such obnoxious, foulmouthed, unruly behaviour. I am so relieved to find a journalist capable of, and not afraid to,put pen to paper and "hit the nail on the head" regardng, without argument, the best cricket team in the world, at present! Unfortunately, once these eleven Australian Cricketers get's onto a cricket field, th onlything that seemingly comes into play is their foulmouths

    Well done Makul

  • Saggi on January 31, 2008, 15:23 GMT

    Good post Mukul. However hoarse the Aussies cry, let the fact be known.."THE POWER HAS SHIFTED".Why did the CA/ ICC not stand its/their high moral ground and let India call off the series if they thought they were soo damn right? Bottom line, They "PISSED" in their trousers. And to some fellows like "DEAN" posting that Indians have in the past been "reported" 7 times and that Aussies have no history, they get the favor of the refrees and the umpires(balance is shifting).Unfair as it may seem, that is the truth. Aussies are the worst sledgers(cannot be contradicted) and they whine and cry (and lodge a complain) when given back. Also, no one can say unequivocally and with absolute certainity that Bhajji used the word "Monkey" as opposed to "Maaki". Can we forget McGrath/Sarwan or Lehman race rows? Who was the racist then? And for all those sympathising with Procter, remember is famous/infamous -"sledge away, boys, I love it!".Double standards will not and cannot be tolerated.

  • blueSky on January 31, 2008, 15:19 GMT

    Great article. I am proud of Tendulkar, Kumble and the whole team, who put their collective foot down against this mischief by Aussies.

  • Cannuck on January 31, 2008, 15:18 GMT

    Despite the evidence that shows H.Singh was provoked , Symonds & Ricky are not in total clear, let's assume for argument sake, that this word was uttered. Ironic isn't it then, that this exact word was used few years back by a McGrath, towards Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka? "Black Monkey" was the exact term & it's amazing how everyone, including the media have forgotten that incident so easily. It never came up in front of the judges, mediators or supporters defending this "never sledged, up holders of Spirit of the game" Aussie Team. Sri Lanka is then & still is not a power outside of the cricketing arena. They couldn't get justice at the time, but India being the current super power in financial terms, did what their neighbours couldn't do. Treat the mighty Aussies a lesson with their own medicine. So in the name of justice, regardless of who said what & did or didn't do, I tip my hat to India for going to bat for the little guys who couldn't do it.. Pay back is a (female dog) ain't it?

  • Cannuck on January 31, 2008, 15:17 GMT

    Despite the evidence that shows H.Singh was provoked , Symonds & Ricky are not in total clear, let's assume for argument sake, that this word was uttered. Ironic isn't it then, that this exact word was used few years back by a McGrath, towards Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka? "Black Monkey" was the exact term & it's amazing how everyone, including the media have forgotten that incident so easily. It never came up in front of the judges, mediators or supporters defending this "never sledged, up holders of Spirit of the game" Aussie Team. Sri Lanka is then & still is not a power outside of the cricketing arena. They couldn't get justice at the time, but India being the current super power in financial terms, did what their neighbours couldn't do. Treat the mighty Aussies a lesson with their own medicine. So in the name of justice, regardless of who said what & did or didn't do, I tip my hat to India for going to bat for the little guys who couldn't do it.. Pay back is a (female dog) ain't it?

  • srikanthan on January 31, 2008, 15:15 GMT

    As Mukul mentions , it is quite possible that Bhajji called Symonds a monkey. It was good that Indian players decided to put a stop to this loutish behaviour of the Aussies. Aussie journalist as well their players brought up on a overdose of filthy language ( used under guise of mateship sometimes and sometimes playing hard) think that what is acceptable to them should be acceptable to the world.They are the masters and we are the huble foolwoers. No one has any sympathy for thes guys. Let them start behaving. Their credo is simple. We will provoke , you can't react. Enough of that guys

  • numb on January 31, 2008, 15:12 GMT

    yes yes yes ... india was right ... australia wrong ... another brilliantly biased article ... unless people can admit that BOTH teams were guilty of reprehensible acts as well as BOTH boards, we will see stupidity like this all the time

  • RM on January 31, 2008, 15:10 GMT

    Bravo!

  • xsupratim on January 31, 2008, 15:08 GMT

    For all the people cribbing about Indians' behaviour here, please remember we have 30 years worth of insults, vile abuses, biases and downright cheating yet to pay back.

    For aussies complaining of Indian umps in the 80's, that is bloody awful cheek. Please go see the pitiful record of your umps in the 80's.

    And, just because your umps did not give front-foot LBWs to spinners in the 80's and the 90's does not make it right. Thanks to Hawkeye, most neutral umps now give front-foot LBWs to spinners now, which the Indian umps used to do back then, too. And, you cry-babies used to call them cheats.

    I wonder if you blokes are even aware of a bit of cricketing history .... Nah, you are aussies ....

  • yogi on January 31, 2008, 15:07 GMT

    I wonder when will Indian media learn to write articles without any bias.Author have forgotten all the foul plays that indian team has adopted in this series and before this also.He has also forgot abt the bad umpiring decisions against aus in 3/4 test.In any way how is it justified to call off tour if harbajan is found guilty.That shows no respect in laws.We indians get angry when there is racial abuse against shilpa shetty but are not ready to think for a second that how symonds must have felt when he was racially abused.Please write considering all the angles and considering all the facts.

  • S. Sen on January 31, 2008, 15:06 GMT

    When an Australian cricketer uses the expression "racial vilification" on the field, and even seems to know what it means, one smells not a monkey, but a rat.

  • S. Sen on January 31, 2008, 15:05 GMT

    When an Australian cricketer uses the expression "racial vilification" on the field, and even seems to know what it means, one smells not a monkey, but a rat.

  • Avinash on January 31, 2008, 15:04 GMT

    Harbhajan used abusive langauage and accepted using it.Hence was fined by judge Hansen. Although Symonds started the exchange, he did not use any abusive language. If he had used then Harbhajan would have told in the hearing and Symonds would have been duly fined then. There is no question of Symonds being fined, if he did not use abusive language.Going back to McGrath's exchanges with Brandes & Sarwan, McGrath only targeted the individual and not their familys. But in return what he got was an insult to his wife, which is bound to irritate anybody.IMO, if your remarks are targeted towards the individual player only, that is sledging, it adds spice to the game and is acceptable. But if it is targeted towards the family of the player, it becomes abuse and should be punished via 2.8 offence. Now if the words are targeted towards race or origin, then it becomes racism and is certainly not acceptable and must be punished through 3.3.

  • Mike Apparicio on January 31, 2008, 15:04 GMT

    I am neither Indian or Australian, just a very frustrated cricket lover whenever I have to watch any cricket team playing against the Australians, and often wonder why the Umpires allow the Auzzies to get away with such obnoxious, foulmouthed, unruly behaviour. I am so relieved to find a journalist capable of, and not afraid to,put pen to paper and "hit the nail on the head" regardng, without argument, the best cricket team in the world, at present! Unfortunately, once these eleven Australian Cricketers get's onto a cricket field, th onlything that seemingly comes into play is their foulmouths

    Well done Makul

  • xsupratim on January 31, 2008, 15:01 GMT

    Why is sledging acceptable? Calling into question the parentage of players or the fidelity of their spouses or their sexual orientation? How is this acceptable on a field of play? Because this is NOT acceptable to us. These are the worst insults that you can ever hurl in India.

    And, if that is acceptable conduct from you'll, then I am afraid monkey is the least that you will hear from a resurgent India. While you can only point to bad behaviour from Indian players in the last few years, I can go all the way back to the 80's to document instances of boorish Aussies.

    And, I think the Aussie public needs to think about another aspect of the Symonds incidents in India - how is it that the Windies do not face that kind of crowd behaviour, when they are in India. After all, they are an all-black team????

    Maybe, it has something to do with what Symonds says and does?

    And, we too remember the Aussie crowd chant of "Murali sucks" ..... where was your great "sporting" behaviour then?

  • kuttappalu on January 31, 2008, 15:01 GMT

    this is a sensible piece and a different angle to cut the cake. Well written!

  • mku on January 31, 2008, 14:57 GMT

    Philip John Joseph why don't you just run along and go play with your diseases and run around in that over populated, underdeveloped wasteland you like to call India. Ughhh I've only heard others talk about the smell that you create. Come talk to me when you evolve ok MATE?

  • Dinesh Bhagavth on January 31, 2008, 14:56 GMT

    Well Mr Mukul-India may not think much of Ponting but who cares-Ponting has been part og three world cup teama and has led them to 2 world cup wins and single handedly wrested the ashes nack from England-and even after all this hoopls,Indai winning the test in Perth itself is seen by many as the ultimate.Well we Indians are happy that we competed against the Aussies.Well Ponting,interms of achievement and a s acricketer is way ahead of any Indian(apart from Kumble).

    Have a nice day Mr Mukul.

    Dinesh Bhagavath

  • Jon on January 31, 2008, 14:55 GMT

    The behaviour of both teams in the match was shameful to say the least. And the supporters of both teams keep on calling each other liars and cheats instead of acknowledging what a wonderful and hard-fought series it was. Grow up everyone.

  • Amar on January 31, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    Very good Article. I am amazed by the fact that many people appreciated and commented it.

  • Rajesh on January 31, 2008, 14:51 GMT

    Excellent article, everyone enjoyed reading it covered every aspect of the Sydney controversy with a good fair view. What about Symonds & Ponting who started it and held the cricket-world to Ransom. He got away with nothing!! Expecting ICC to reply it!!

  • shovan das on January 31, 2008, 14:51 GMT

    For once Ricky Ponting and his band of " sledgers " are back-pedaling. They have single-handedly destroyed civility in cricket and it is high time somebody puts them in place. Harbachan had the guts to do it and I am proud of him.

  • Amar on January 31, 2008, 14:49 GMT

    Very good Article. I am amazed by the fact that many people appreciated and commented it.

  • Mikte on January 31, 2008, 14:49 GMT

    Time to change the name of CricInfo to CricIndia. Too many opinions surfacing in news stories on this site, and they have become a red flag to every un-educated clown (of both nationalities) with a gripe and a keyboard.

  • ant on January 31, 2008, 14:48 GMT

    I wonder what would have happened if the ICC hadn't mysteriously 'lost' the record of Harbajan's previous (and many) infractions. He was on a suspended sentence after his disgraceful recent behaviour in India - would the Indians still have pulled out of the series if he had been made to serve that 1 game ban hanging over his head? Or would they have acknowledged that they have a serial transgressor in their ranks who needs internal discipline and not support? Guess we'll never know, huh?

  • Valavan on January 31, 2008, 14:47 GMT

    I have no idea who is ICC? are they working under BCCI. First of all ICC is just an organization who try to rule the cricket by their money which is mainly sponsored by BCCI. Player sledging should be punished whoever it might be?? How BCCI can order ICC to urge the other cricket boards to stop players joining ICL. ICC licks BCCI boots. Punish all 4 who were involved. Clarke, Ponting, Symonds, Harbajan and Sreesanth must change their behaviour. Umpiring Errors are unavoidable. ICC maintains double standards to enjoy the benefits from BCCI :))

  • S.N. on January 31, 2008, 14:47 GMT

    The lartge number of comments proves 2 things:- 1.Cricinfo has a very large readership. 2.Most Indians are vexed about the way the Aussies behaved. The lesson learnt from all this 'Never pardon an Aussie for his misdeed' Let them have it everytime they misbehave and let the ICC's database have a large number of Australian chargesheets.There are enough characters in the Australian team who can be targetted.Let Team India formulate a strategy. Play like gentlemen but expose their ungentlemanliness at every opportunity.They will then be the first team to recommend thet there should be no sledging and no complaining to the umpires. Do not allow things that happen on the field to remain on the field but bring it out in the open.Do not tolerate their abusive language.This will make the cry babies repent and they will soon mend their ways.Lastly do not welcome them in a grand way when they come on tour. Let he bell boys show them to their rooms.

  • Larry on January 31, 2008, 14:47 GMT

    that was absolute crap, fair article my butt. i never saw indian say sorry for bad descisions in perth or sorry for abusing umpires it is all fair play when indian does it. When indian is on the receiving end they whine and threaten to go home, Most people I know wish they had

  • Nigel Gregson on January 31, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    Ah the irony, Australians calling this article parochial and one sided. Apparently Mukul has no evidence of Clarke claiming a grounded catch yet the SMH bleats "Harbhajan got away with it" in bold letters. Cricket hasn't been this much fun in decades. I say go gamesmanship, its excellent TV. Strap every player with an always-on microphone; would make great viewing and would really sort out the men from the boys.

    Australians getting touchy about the whole thing, get used it. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait till the Indians start giving it to ya on field without provocation. Oh wait maybe then it'll be time to return to the spirit of the game?

    Sorry but the time when you were calling the shots has passed. Live with it or Punter will have to sell crispy strips on a permanent basis and ya’ll will need to buy a lot of the "Sydney win" memorabilia to keep CA afloat.

  • Pankaj on January 31, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    One of the few balanced articles on the incident.Thanks Mukul!

  • Shailendra on January 31, 2008, 14:46 GMT

    This is an awesome piece of writing! Hard hitting, objective, analytical, and in-your-face (just as the Aussies like to do it but not receive it). Compare this with the weird stuff Roebuck writes (contradicting himself in his last two posts), and you know where truth lies.

    Ponting has begun the inexorable slide for the Aussies. With more imminent retirements, I feel sorry for him and the Australian side. Will they go the way of the West Indies?

  • Ravi Balkish on January 31, 2008, 14:45 GMT

    This is a terrific article exposing the years of Australian arrogance and disgraceful sportsmenship. For thos ewho have a problem with Pawar and India's brinkmenship, it was Damien Martyn and Ponting who shoved Pawar from the dias and posed for camera

    Also, many times, during awards presentations, Aussies are known to ignore Indian speakers such as Ravi Shastri and deliberately spend time with Simon O'Donnell and fellow caucasian guys.

    This behavior of Aussies has not gone unnoticed with Indians. British cricketers are dignified and have always sportingly accepted defeats.

    It is time, Aussies get a code of conduct for behavior and spirit when they play the game

    There are some who grovel, that no Indian is on the Elite Panel - let me throw the question back - why there are no more Australian tennis player that can win grand slams - The pack dog mentality and hunting and win at any cost attitude of Aussie cricketers is the main reason why 16 wins in a row happens

  • Wallaby on January 31, 2008, 14:42 GMT

    carrying on... haydo took a brillant mnkey like catch in the fourth innings at Adelaide. If i said he displayed appe like skills in catching that, would that be racist?? I guess not... because he's white... Aaaahh, its the fact that YOU white guys used Monkey as a deragotory term towards blacks for hundreds of years, and we should pay for your guilt ridden political correctness?? Go sit on a barbeque somewhere...

    I'm claiming the language back...its as Sanjeev Bhaskar would put it ...."INDIAN"

  • SM on January 31, 2008, 14:42 GMT

    Well written Mukul. Keep it up. This is the first time in the history, Australian got it back what they were giving to everybody and You can see that it is hurting them badly now.

  • Arpit Shukla on January 31, 2008, 14:41 GMT

    Mukul, fantastic article. You are DA MAN!... the Aussies have a very slimy way of claiming "fair play" while sledging and abusing on the field but being careful to simply not say anything that is "politically incorrect". It does not make it any better. For decades our (non Aussie and English) teams put up with blatant racist (and worse) language and verbal abuse from these guys..and now in today's age our boys respond in-kind and more... and they can't take it. Recognize it ...Australia and England!...there's a new sherrif in town, and we're not afraid to kick some ass... As other nations have found out.. do NOT mistake Indians' nice-ness for weakness... you'll regret it.

  • Vinay on January 31, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    I for one, think it much more likely that bhajji said "teri maan ki" than "monkey".

  • Bone on January 31, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    Can someone please tell me what abusive words Symonds used? Not once has it been said anywhere that Symonds was abusive. If Singh doesn't like being told he has no friends in the Australian team then bad luck, it doesn't justify using a racial term! As for the suggestion Singh used another word, well why didn't he say that in the first hearing? That defence didn't rear it's head until a couple of days AFTER the first hearing! As for the Clarke catch have a look at the replays, you cant tell one way or another. The man who should be ashamed is Ganguly - for standing his ground when it was agreed that both teams would accept the catchers word. I must say that what disappoints me most is Tendulka, he was in the best position to remedy the situation when it happened, he didn't, he then proceeded to make it worse by leading the charge with threats to go home. I have never resented him making a 100 but in Adelaide I did. He is no different than the rest of the brats that play for India!

  • mko on January 31, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    Google: Pig Latin

    Mukul you should be ashamed writing this biased trash.

    India did you enjoy your one game winning streak?

    Tinkysay Onkeysmay

    India why do you lose so much and then always blame it on something or someone else? Surely you are used too it by now and have come to realise that India just cannot produce talent and therefore you cannot produce wins.

    Tinkysay Onkeysmay

    They say cricket is a religion in india, well maybe you should consider converting to something else because you are getting nowhere.

    Tinkysay Onkeysmay

    Can't wait until the tour is over the smell you carry is awful please take it back to india. Why dont you 'people' wash?

    Tinkysay Onkeysmay

    How are the diseases going?

  • Sam on January 31, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    Great Article Mukul.!! Kudos to you for capturing & scripting precisely the emotions of every Indian cricket fan watching this horrible SCG saga and can't share or spread the word to cricketing world.Judge Hansen rightfully said Symonds should have kept his mouth shut when Bhajji patted Lee friendly ( Well - Bowled !!).I am sure he was waiting to get into a fight (so as the other players) coz Bhajji was playing well and scored valuable 63 by then.I just want to remind the readers about the 6th ODI where again this more-on Symonds got into an argument with Pathan when he hit Symonds for a Six. Pathan lost his coll and threw his wicket immediately. No wonder why the fans in India started Monkey chanting. Symonds should be thrown out of the field for starting these ugly incidents so is Mr.Ponting for crying foul when things aren't going his way.I hope every Australian reads your article and realize what kind crickeing cricketrs Australians are.

  • John on January 31, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    Please people, enough is enough!

    Let's summarise the state of affairs here: the Indian cricket supporters feel aggrieved by the happenings of the last few weeks, as do the Australian supporters. No amount of hysteria or biased argument emanating from either side is going to convince the other to change their mind. End of story. Let's move on and focus our energy on admiring two very good cricket teams slugging it out on the paddock.

  • Vivek on January 31, 2008, 14:33 GMT

    Mukul, your article seems to comes across as a pro-India sensationalism. While I am uncertain as to what really happened on the field what with microphones developing hearing losses, the fact is that neither side is really blameless. Australia has a history of being particularly unsporting on the field and tend to behave like school-yard bullies, all in the interests of "winning". India, in the recent past, for some obscure reason seems to want to emulate this behaviour (Sreesanth comes to mind). But beyond all this, the BCCI should have taken a more intelligent route and agreed on neutral authorities to make the judgement. Rather they came across as whinging, spoilt brats. As an Indian, I would have loved to have seen Bhajji exonerated without such grandstanding. It simply shifts focus from the bigger issue of a fair game to petty arguments and mud-slinging. Anyway, both sides need to move forward from here and adopt a more professional attitude towards the game.

  • Shailendra on January 31, 2008, 14:32 GMT

    This is an awesome piece of writing! Hard hitting, objective, analytical, and in-your-face (just as the Aussies like to do it but not receive it). Compare this with the weird stuff Roebuck writes (contradicting himself in his last two posts), and you know where truth lies.

    Ponting has begun the inexorable slide for the Aussies. With more imminent retirements, I feel sorry for him and the Australian side. Will they go the way of the West Indies?

  • Wallaby on January 31, 2008, 14:32 GMT

    Its a good blog mate. For my aussie bros who're upset about balanced journalism - look at the Age, its picture of HS waving an indian flag married to the headline. Yeah that's very balanced....Then to the guy who thinks that Oz will leave the ICC and others will follow...yeah, and that woud be Canada and Zim....Good luck mate..

    A lot of you have to just live with the fact - India WILL lead cricket in the 21st century. The unnamed Aussie player who bust a gut ("money talks") obviously plays for the love of the game, and donates all his earnings to a carbo offsetting fund!! If you have a problem with capitalism, cricket is not exactly the stage where this should be debated.

    The problem is squarely put -being led by India. What?? Us half naked, slum dwelling, poverty ridden Indians?? Surely not. Wake up and smell the coffee...

    One open question. If Harbhajan had called big unit (pea brian Haydo) Monkey, instead of Symo, would that be construed as racial abuse? Why not?

  • wilson mathew on January 31, 2008, 14:29 GMT

    Now that is a sensible no partial post unlike some of the utter crap being dished out. Thank you Mukul K for spending time to clear the crap out. We know the nonsence BCCI would not be part of a good deed, it had to come from other quarters to stand up for its players. Until ICL came along its own low level players were left out in the cold. Take care

  • ruchit on January 31, 2008, 14:26 GMT

    @billabong pigeon

    The 1 billion vs 20 million comments made by some Aussies is restricted to cricket. Don't bring other nonsense like "Without the Indian techies working in Oz, your lot would be drowning in the amber fluid."in here.

    Regards. Ruchit.

  • Peter Slocks on January 31, 2008, 14:24 GMT

    Hi Mukul, Inspite of being an Aussie, I agree with most of what you say. But I don't see this episode as being "made-up" by the Aussies. Harbhajan may have called Symmo a monkey but as Hansen says, there is no proof. What is plain hypcrisy is the Aussies complaining about this (by citing a pre-series agreement to report all racist comments)when they have been guilty of much more filth (Srawn-McGrath, Waugh's team, sledging over the last 10 years...) on the field. Secondly, I see Clarke and Hayden as the big villains here. They are supposed to have heard the monkey call but failed to hear any of the initial dialogue from Symmo. Hmm, thats definitely a case of hearing just what you want. As a captain, Punter should have had a talk to them about how this wont cut with real judges like Hansen like it did with Procter.

  • Parth Pala on January 31, 2008, 14:22 GMT

    Let's be honest, Aussies got what they deserve. Acting without civility and constant precedents they have set shows not only their immaturity but the nations aswell. They have no respect for the rule of law, nor are any of them educated enough to realise that hay-days of imperialistic bullying are over. Do they ever wonder, why they are not respected by not only Indians, but most other cricketing nations? Do they believe acting like animals swearing and cussing is tough? They need to take a page out of Clive Llyods book. As far as Harbhajan goes, the burden of proof is on the accuser, without proof, he is innocent. This doesnt mean undue BCCI influence. Maybe Douglas Jardine was right to call Australians 'a bunch of unruly and uneducated mob'. For someone who is educated would not act like they do nor would their nation see it a sporting parcel. Shame on you and the examples you set for your children .

  • harjit on January 31, 2008, 14:19 GMT

    Great article. The Aussies had it coming. They were once my favourite team, but now they are just a bunch of arrogant louts who happen to play cricket well. Adam G and perhaps Brett Lee are the only decent guys in the team. Of course we too must introspect and make sure that guys like Harbhajan and Sreeshant focus on cricket and not try and 'ape' the Aussies and make 'monkeys' of themselves.

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 14:18 GMT

    very one sided article. its a shame that indians are uncapable of looking at their own demons and keep on accusing others...this article made some judgments about doubtful decisions and they easily could have been right too....but again this is exactly what i expect from an indian biased writer to write. keep on living in your own world....rest of the world is not blind...and just to calarify...i am not even an australian and not even caucasian.....

  • whoa mama on January 31, 2008, 14:15 GMT

    Reading this article felt almost as good as watching the Perth win. Anil Kumble (probably Tendulkar was the brain behind) played like a grandmaster. Ponting was left aghast as was evident in the last 2 tests. Symonds, Clarke etc. have been humiliated by the findings. The "teri maa ki" twist was absolutely hilarious.

  • Jeremy68 on January 31, 2008, 14:13 GMT

    I respect Mukul's frankness:he thinks Harbhajan probably called Symonds a monkey.Indian contributors seem to broadly agree with the article but nobody seems to care whether Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey or not. Do you think that it wasn't a racist remark? Do you think that even that if it was Symonds deserved it? Do you think Symonds had any reason to feel racially vilified if Harbhajan said it? If he didn't say it he had every right to defend himself, but if he didn't should he have admitted to it? If you beleive he said it (as Mukul does) does Hansen's decision exonerates him? If you think Harbhajan said it do you consider him racist, dishonest for denying it, both, or neither of these?

    If you disagree with Mukul that Harbhajan said monkey then all is fine, but if not, or have some doubts, honesty requires you to consider your position towards Harbhajan.It would be hypocritical to condemn the Aussies for falsely claiming catches etc, but condone Harbhajan's conduct.

  • kulaputra on January 31, 2008, 14:11 GMT

    Mukul, While your logic is good, there are some things that you have not said that needs pointing out. 1. Harbhajan is no angel. Furthermore, his action is suspect. His punishment for having said 'teri maki' should have been much harsher. 2. Symonds is no angel nor is he a victim as Aussies claim. he is the chief instigator and has escaped too easily. He should have been on the mat. 3. Ricky Ponting should be jailed for complaining, withdrawing and whinging all the time. Learn to bat against incoming ball. 4. Except Kumble, Dravid and Sachin, Indians are not exactly well behaved. Indian board, better watch out. 5. Peter Roebuck has said enough about Aussie behaviour. No point adding fuel to the fire. 6. Mark Benson and the idiot Mike Procter should be fired as well, one for incompetence and the other for dishonesty. Clean up cricket please. Will BCCI, CA and ICC all realise that they are ruining a fairly unique sport?

  • Antu on January 31, 2008, 14:09 GMT

    Well written Mukul. We all know - what goes round, comes around. The Australians have been givers for a long time; it is time they become takers and enjoy the taste and this whole saga is about it. People talk about India flexing her muscle in cricket, only because of the monetary strength. But isn't that happening off the filed always? See the G8 nations, so why cry. Just learn to accept because that's not going to change - I bet.

  • Poo man chu on January 31, 2008, 14:09 GMT

    Mukul, thought provoking stuff, any good cricket india might have played has been over shadowed by your sensational story. Your not doing India or Indian cricket any international favours by looking for and creating any more excuses. Stick to the facts:

    Poor umpiring Sledging Rascist taunts BCCI cover up Some good cricket Indian 2-1 loss

    If India fielded better, run harder between wickets, focused on being prepared and winning the game. It might have been close. Stop playing the blame game.

    Shame you couldn't right about how well a player or team performed.

  • Shouvik on January 31, 2008, 14:07 GMT

    Beautiful article Mukul. Spot on.

  • Jez on January 31, 2008, 14:06 GMT

    Jasoos said: "Australia's racial divide is reflected in the consideration of Michael Clark as their next captain and not Andrew Symonds. Andrew must be feeling inept and inadequate at such a slight."

    You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. In June Symonds will be the same age as Ponting, by the time Ponting gets on in years and retires...so will Symonds. Clarke is being groomed (I don't think it's been finalised that he'll be the next captain anyways) because he has an eye for the game AND is young at 26. Think before you post and start abusing us all of being racists for thinking about making Clarke the captain in waiting.

  • karan on January 31, 2008, 14:03 GMT

    The truth is that australians could not digest that any body challenges their champion authority. from the moment Ind defeated them in 20 world cup, it was obviuous that they will provoke such an issue in near future.So it is not a surprize for most of cricket lovers. Also if they are not friends on field, then what are they? Are they foe then ? Are games (including cricket) are played to increase enemies? Surely Ricky Ponting and his party are doing this thing to this gentlemen's game. If we observe unbiased, we can conclude that only Lee and Gilchrist have sportsmanship among Aus players. And the sudden announcement of Gilchrist may have roots in this very issue, he may have being to tell lie before judge and favour team activity and surely he denied such involvement. Anything can happen in this world. Sorry for Gilchrist 's retirement.

  • nitin on January 31, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    First, lets not make it into a personal debate. Most of the Aussies over here seem to be taking this somewhat personally. This is just about Cricket - so lets talk Cricket

    Second, Peter Roebuck (probably the most sought after journo in Australia) was equally harsh in critisizing Ponting and the way Aussies have played the game.

    Third, I can believe that Ponting and Clarke still believe that they took the catches in question properly (even after viewing the tapes)

    Fourth, I have no hesitation in saying that the power in Cricket has shifted and trust me, it was long overdue. I applaud the political moves taken by the BCCI to protect the players who have long been on the receiving end

    Fifth, I think Aussies should stop taking shots at BCCI but rather direct their anger to Cricket Australia for they had a major major role to play in this. They feared they were goin to lose lots of money and did wotever it took to set it right

  • Hemant on January 31, 2008, 13:55 GMT

    I am an Indian. I am disgusted by this biased and filthy blog. Don't play dirty politics like Indian politicians with the game of cricket. We Indians are no angels.

  • Narayanan on January 31, 2008, 13:54 GMT

    Mukul, Well written. While you tried to balance your views, your focus on the second appears to make it one sided. The fact that neither CA nor Ponting is willing to take note of Symonds' behavior says a lot about their leadership. In India, Ozs complained about the celebration of ICC 20-20 victory. What is their problem when other team prides in their achievement? Ozs are indeed bad losers who can not take defeat gracefully nor behave when they are about to lose. Wish Oz players individual success and many more defeats as a team. Clarke: Shame on you. I watched the video of Dravid's catch. It is the first thing you learn as a cricketer about bounced catches. What a pity, one day Clarke might lead Ozs.

  • billabong pigeon on January 31, 2008, 13:51 GMT

    To all the Aussies who keep talking about their 20 million versus India's 1 billion, I have 2 remarks:

    1) Without the Indian techies working in Oz, your lot would be drowning in the amber fluid.

    2) Such racially correct guys like you should know exactly how many aborigines your ancestors "ethnically cleansed" and how even the next generation of aboriginal people were basically stripped of their identity. Thank God you have a decent PM in Kevin Rudd now, after years of John Howard, or should we call him "Mr. Cricket" ?

  • Salman - Pakistan on January 31, 2008, 13:47 GMT

    Biased or not, I can't help but crack up at the hilarious paragraph on Ponting. "Indians don't think much of Ponting...."

    I feel that the ICC judges player behavior from Western standards. Calling someone a 'monkey' might classify as abuse in Australia or other places where the white-black 'thing' is a sensitive matter, but the same doesnt apply in other places. In India and Pakistan for that matter, calling someone a monkey or elephant or lion or crow is no big deal. Imagine where the Aussies would land if they started getting fined for every expletive they utter? On the footpaths, I assume!

    Looking forward to more articles from you in future Mukul!

  • ruchit on January 31, 2008, 13:46 GMT

    Reading all the comments by Indian and Australian fans I can say that Harbhajan-Symonds incident probably has damaged not only cricketing relations but also other kind of relations between India and Australia. So much of vitriol is being spread. Both Symonds and Harbhajan are repsonsible for this and they both need to punished severly. Symonds for instigating harbhajan and Harbhajan for all the shit he spewed.

    As an Indian I am ashamed of jingoistic stance that has been taken by most Indians on this issue even though chances of Bhajji having said the monkey word are very high. It doesnot matter whether it can proved or not. I personally dont think monkey to be racist but if some one of offended racially by it then it is plain wrong.

    Also the Australian fans have not been impressive either. Imagine a race that exterminated Aborgine population no too long ago now cry foul for a black Carribean player. Hypocrisy!!.

    Regards.

    Ruchit.

  • mc on January 31, 2008, 13:45 GMT

    Mukul is the best blogger, columnist down under period. Man, this dude can really write.

  • Jez on January 31, 2008, 13:45 GMT

    I have a few issues with this article beyond it's overall tone, first the comparisons with Bush are outrageous. He looks a bit like him?? Even if he did I don't see what it has to do with anything. Comparing "Shock and Awe" to "Hard and Fair" I don't understand either. Yes, a couple of terms with an 'and' between them, very nice. You're trying to link two completely unrelated matters, then inferring that "Shock and Awe" is somehow bad, and so must the Australians be as well.

    Also your attacks on Clarke are unfair. You point out a catch that he claimed, which the video doesn't support either way and jump to the conclusion that he's lying about taking it. Right. Then he stands his ground for a whole 4s after edging it, not great but waiting for an umpire to make a decision is completely normal. Harb stood for several mins after being bowled against England while launching a verbal attack against Pietersen. Is he a slippery evil genius hell bent on destroying the opposition as well?

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    Mukul, This tells it all. Aussies should realise that gone are those days when they were byllying elder brothers. If they spit, they get it back. It was unnecessary for Symonds to provoke in the first instance when the game was played in the real spirit. Australian bunch are feeling that their right of bullying and sledging is taken away by this episode and they are gagged. I am surprised Symonds and ponting got away without warning. God save Australian team if liar Michael Clarke becomes captain.

  • Rob on January 31, 2008, 13:42 GMT

    What a pile of crap Mukul - umpires always favour home teams, Aussie teams have had shocking runs with umpiring decisions in both 2005 & 2001 which cost them both series. We just take it on the chin and move, India just complain, complain, complain and then threaten to leave. An absolute disgrace and they seriously need to grow up.

    Well done for a one-eyed article!

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 13:35 GMT

    Australians are known to use vulgar language in their day to day chat on & off the field. I have a first hand info since I was present during the 1972 tour of Australia to the West Indies. Every sentence was smeared with expletives. A well written article, Mukul.A photographer was around taking pictures while I with another doctor was with Mr. Dennis Lillee who had problem with his back at that time. Mr. Lillee used a lot of "F" words in a matter of a couple of minutes while the photographer was taking pictures. All he said was " Ah, Lele treats Lillee"!

  • Sammy Kumaresh on January 31, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    Mukul- an excellent article. But not of Indians would disagree with me but Harbajan is very unsportsman like character. He taunts lower order batsmen and he has even been left of the indian team due to his behaviour. - Symonds is no devil and defintely Harbhjan is no angel

  • afterthought on January 31, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    Well, hopefully the big storm in the tea cup is over. As a 50 year old brown skinned who tried to play cricket in Australia after growing up in Inida I have seen the abuse first hand about 20 years ago. My first pick up practice at one of the most prestigious University where I was a graduate student was the words "Break the brown bastard's head" from the slips and 2 beamers in that over. Moral high ground does not wash with me. I did go on to play club cricket in the city. I was a left handed opener for the next two years with an average of 43. I also do not agree with strong arm tactics to push the game. India has the most revenue but that revenue does not happen if they dont play strong teams. I doubt they will fill the stands against Zimbabwe or Canada or Ireland. Ergo; Australia needs India's money;to the anon Aussie who moaned "money talks"; money also pays the bills. u need the Rupees. To the Indians "you need the aussies to fill the stands". So sit down and figure it out!!!

  • loki on January 31, 2008, 13:34 GMT

    well i think this blog has become a fighting blog where people just want to write to prove that their point of view is correct without proper verification of the respective stands taken. If we all want to continue replying on this article by makul - why not discuss & put forward steps that need to be taken by ICC, all cricket boards & all cricket fans alike inorder to prevent such incidents surfacing time and again in world cricket. Please remember cricket as a game is much bigger than an individual. so here are some of the suggestions from my side which can help prevent such incidents in future: 1)Representatives from ICC,Cricket Boards & Teams (possibly captains) need to formulate a code of conduct clearly indicating the way players need to behave while palying. 2)If there is a code of conduct already present ICC needs to review. 3)Ban sledging - Just not acceptable. Remember there are other sport like badmintion & tennis which are played hard & fair. plz reply ur take on this.

  • Rajesh on January 31, 2008, 13:33 GMT

    The Aussies blaming BCCI is a joke. What did Cricket Australia do? Offer a compromise? Surely a bit of money is not important when it comes to fighting the big bad evil of racism?

  • Cricket Lover on January 31, 2008, 13:30 GMT

    Andrew Symonds was the one who started and provoked Harbhajan. Why is he not fined?

  • Nair on January 31, 2008, 13:29 GMT

    I agree Harbhajan is an idiot and so is Sreesanth or Karthik if they retaliate. Look at Dravid and be gentlemanly unlike Dhoni or these. If you say Monkey is racist it was defined by Westerners,mischevious kids are called little monkeys. SO the mindset is what matters if Australians feel that it is racist then it is. If Harb said it then he is guilty but the statements of Clark, Hayden and Procter that they heard not Sachin clearly it is unacceptable and unjust. They started and created this when India was playing well shows how well planned from Aussies side. Inept umpiring 8 times against India while in remaining test equal towards both teams shows something wrong. Bucknor, Hair always had issues with subcontinent teams why they always come when Aussies tour these or vice versa? I can say a conspiracy will any Aussie agree? Sooks?? U descendent from penal colony learn to be decent. Yes India has clout and westerners leanr that days of white rule is over

  • Arindam Biswas on January 31, 2008, 13:28 GMT

    After all this, i seriously think the Aussies should reconsider their decision to play in the IPL. Cause for one, if they land up in India, who will be responsible for their safety with their boorish behaviour onfield? Its time that Australia formed their own club and started playing amongst themselves.

  • Suresh Nagraj on January 31, 2008, 13:27 GMT

    Mkl writes: But I'll leave you safe in the knowledge that we beat you once again.

    Mkl, without the help of the umpires, and without your gamesmanship and sledging, you can't beat any good team.

    Mukul says that the Sydney test may mark the end of sledging. If that turns out to be true, many teams are going to be able to beat you.

  • Furhan on January 31, 2008, 13:21 GMT

    As a cricket lover I support Indis wholeheartedly. I am truly fed up with the bias of decisions towards Australia because they have this appearance of gentlemen who play hard but fair. As a Pakistani fan I recall a document produced by the late Bob Woolmer in regards to decisions against Pakistan which were questionable. It't not difficult to be number one when you have 15 players on your side. Great article.

  • Mat on January 31, 2008, 13:19 GMT

    This is test match cricket we're talking about, not a game of tiddlywinks. This is professional sport. If you want 1950's behaviour, make it an amateur sport & not a business. Stop crying about sledging & be men. Personally, I think Symonds and Harbhajan should be allowed to say whatever they like to each other. Many of the Indian bloggers seem to agree, stating that Harbhajan was justified because Symonds started it. I would like to see it taken a step further. Harbhajan calls Symonds a monkey, so Symonds responds in the time-honoured, gentlemanly manner, by suggesting they meet up behind the grandstand to settle it like men. Do you really think the Aussie players care whether they get sledged or not? (Racism is not sledging) Indians aren't the first to give it back to them. When will one of these cricket teams realise that you don't win a cricket match this way? You win it with the bat and the ball. If India had any guts they would have pushed for a win in Adelaide. Disappointing.

  • KK on January 31, 2008, 13:19 GMT

    Aussies have a problem here. They did not even have the courtesy to thank the Indian team for a fantastic gesture of withdrawal of appeal against Brad Hogg (who thinks he can play test cricket at this age). Now they are crying for reasons that they are not aware of. They lack the insight they are worst ones to play under the spirit of the game. I strongly believe that all this was set up against Bhajji to get back at him which left the scene without any evidence. Ultimately, this is always true 'Winners are grinners, looser are weepers'. On cards it may be 2-1 for Oz but world knows who the real winner is.

  • Shamik Ghosh on January 31, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    -------> Well not anymore. Aussies can enjoy themselves believing Harb is racist and that the BCCI is abusing its power. mkl, dont worry mate, I wish my India went home too, your country smells rotten, we should leave you Aussies to bask in perceived self rightousness. Enjoy your No1. spot. Being top is good...but at what expense? I'd rather have india drop to 8 by playing fair and square. I really hope India dont retaliate to anything during the ODI series. I dont care about the result. I want India to back up the moral advantage they have. Also, they should never play the Aussies again unless they agree to behave like decent humans.

    mkl - i pity you

  • Philip John Joseph on January 31, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    mkl, you are funny. India sends a bunch of old-age home retirees and Australia just about scrapes through with a draw in the last test. You want to talk about 1 billion people? Let's talk about why Australia can barely beat a bunch of pensioners like Kumble and Tendulkar. Do you really want to play the best cricket players in India? The best cricket players in India would wipe the floor with Australia. Australia should thank it's imperialist stars that the BCCI is incompetent and can't figure out who the best Indian players are. As for Australia, maybe it should grow up and play a real sport like soccer and find out what real white countries like Germany would do to Australia, the joke of the white world. Oh, I forgot, the German football REJECTS reduced their beer intake and beat the Australian field hockey team at the World Cup AND the Champions Trophy. Australians are the dregs of the white world. Go back to the outback already ....

  • R.J.Lewis on January 31, 2008, 13:14 GMT

    The days of Aussie hegemony are over. If it is ok to sledge your opponenent then it ok for the opponenent to give it back, whether in kind or greater.You sow what you reap.Here's to crushing Australia for ever.If their crowds behave badly let us return the favor. No more holding back.As to the Aussie who said they want to form a new league go right ahead.Let us see who plays with you.

  • Sujith Babu on January 31, 2008, 13:12 GMT

    To John on his "verdict" on catch claimed by Clarke being inconclusive as per TV replays and the catch claimed by Dhoni being conclusively not-out. I don't what TV you were watching , I guess Channel 9. The rest of the world apart from Australia watched ESPN-Start Sports. It was clear in that Clarke had grounded the catch. It was also reported in 'The week' that unlike ESPN-Star SPorts, Channle 9 never really showed the full motion of Clarke and Ponting when they claimed these bumb catches. No wonder they were adamant after the Sydney test that these catches were clean, but the rest of the world saw the truth.

  • Jan on January 31, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    To steven, "Its a bat not a fishing rod" = sledging "big monkey" = racism Imagine if an Australian player called Singh a monkey!!! Imagine if an Australian bowler celebrated like Singh did when he got Ponting out!! "fielder had confidently claimed a bump ball catch"=your opinion=wrong" Mcgrath did call jayasurya a "black monkey" and got away with it because people from sub continent did not think it was racists except for the word black. ICC has made new rules to suite the culture of the Australians and south Africans and apply it on Asian countries. They seem to be the one deciding what is offensive and what is not. mcgrath has used worse phrases for sledging compared to what is reported by Steven. Symmond has no business to pick up a fight with Bhajji. It was done only with th eintent to create trouble.

  • Alex on January 31, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    "If you want to criticise batsmen for not walking - all 11 of your team must walk. Yuvraj anyone?"

    I was thinking more along the lines of Harbhajan not walking after getting bowled by Kevin Pietersen.

  • Jan on January 31, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    To steven, "Its a bat not a fishing rod" = sledging "big monkey" = racism Imagine if an Australian player called Singh a monkey!!! Imagine if an Australian bowler celebrated like Singh did when he got Ponting out!! "fielder had confidently claimed a bump ball catch"=your opinion=wrong" Mcgrath did call jayasurya a "black monkey" and got away with it because people from sub continent did not think it was racists except for the word black. ICC has made new rules to suite the culture of the Australians and south Africans and apply it on Asian countries. They seem to be the one deciding what is offensive and what is not. mcgrath has used worse phrases for sledging compared to what is reported by Steven. Symmond has no business to pick up a fight with Bhajji. It was done only with th eintent to create trouble.

  • Warren on January 31, 2008, 13:08 GMT

    So, the aussie players wanted to get back at Harbhajan for what happened with him and Symonds in India. They were looking for the right opportunity to sort Bhaji out. The first one they got, Symonds jumps at him and since the whole thing is planned Hayden and Clarke chime in. The whole thing was a charade and a stake out. So, what is Ponting and co crying for. They thought they were smart and now have mud on their faces. They should be happy Symonds didn't get called for punishment as well. The Indians should have asked for it. The Judge (seasoned as he must be) saw through the charade. It is not about India r Aussies or about money. The trick Ponting and co tried to play on Bhaji fell through. That's it. That's like making a monkey out of all of them.

  • Opus on January 31, 2008, 13:06 GMT

    Verdict from judge Hansen is actually an indictment of the Oz team than Harbhajan. What conclusions we get from the reasoning: Andrew Symonds comes across as an aggressive boor. Ricky Ponting coerced the umpires to report the incident, rushing to judgment with half baked facts.. Stuart Clark comes across as a liar on the witness stand having maintained that Symonds said nothing Matthew Hayden is an untrustworthy witness having understood nothing but was still very confident of his comprehension of one word only. Finally in public the most shameful of all: the spirit of Oz team, test matches are no place to have friends from opposite team.

    What was Harbhajan’s crime, responding to sever provocation, but most satisfying verdict is that even if he had uttered “Monkey” he would not have been punished.

  • Sujith Babu on January 31, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    Dear mkl, May be we went without winning the series in Australia. But do you think you are going to win in India the coming October? Get a hold on it, mate.

  • Neilo on January 31, 2008, 12:56 GMT

    Something that's been overlooked entirely is that the draw in Adelaide ended India's incredible 1 game winning streak.

  • Jasoos on January 31, 2008, 12:54 GMT

    Mukul,

    This is right on the money as always.

    Ponting could not be described any better. The Aussie concept of hardnosed cricket is a bunch rubbish to hide their lack of crikceting ability and insecurity on the field.

    The Aussies need to stop monekying around with the English and start playing cricket the right way. They are sour winners and loosers, the next generation - Ponting's kids would judge him for their Sydney antics.

    Symonds cuts a lonely figure in the Australian side, he was overcompensating by pretending to protect B Lee. Australia's racial divide is reflected in the consideration of Michael Clark as their next captain and not Andrew Symonds. Andrew must be feeling inept and inadequate at such a slight.

  • amit on January 31, 2008, 12:53 GMT

    What’s a real pity here is that Aussies are damn good at the sport too and that they of all people should not have to resort to verbal volleys to win a game. But by repetitive acts of sledging, they make me question their real skills at the game. A champion doesn’t need to put somebody off their game by talking. They can impose themselves by just playing better. And this Australian team is certainly one of the best collections of players and quite capable of doing that. So either they need to shut up on the ground for the sake of their own credibility, or someone else will find ways to do that for them. I will not try and defend Harbhajan – if he did say what was alleged then he deserved to be put out of the game till he had learnt the lesson. But if he hadn’t, and this is certainly the result of the appeal, then the world needs to be fair to him. Critics can hate BCCI, it deserves some of it, but this whole mess wasn't created by them. It was the doing of a bully named Roy.

  • unbiased on January 31, 2008, 12:47 GMT

    In one part of the article its the age old reference to Aussies being masters at sledging. Because everyone just seems to know what the aussies are saying on the field. Maybe its just because they are usually winning that gets people angry rather than what is being said.

    Does anyone complain when the losing side sledges. The problem is that the other side can't say "look at the scoreboard..." like the aussies.

    Aussies = sledgers. OK we accept that! Indians = Cry babies. Accept it. Next time. Take your bat and go home. Dont just threaten.

  • Vinayak on January 31, 2008, 12:47 GMT

    That was one amazing write-up! Perfect, unbiased and gave a complete picture. I agree with the point that Harbhajan could have called Symonds a monkey! I felt that too and you are right that decisions cannot be based on what we think, but what it actually is!

    Regards, Vinayak

  • Sujith Babu on January 31, 2008, 12:43 GMT

    Well written Mukul. I find the word Integriry being mentioned in these posts. The whole world (through ESPN Start sports) clearly saw that bumb catches were claimed by Ponting and Clarke. But Channel 9 did not show the whole of the motion in these 2 cases. Now where is the integrity in both the Aussie players and media here.

  • BALU FROM MADURAI on January 31, 2008, 12:43 GMT

    The article is well written,but one finer point is it not the mucle power "the author is referring to the India and BCCI" really played it is the pride of our Players had a greater say, and he is not mentioning Symonds attitude more aggressively

    any how it is ok

  • Ananth on January 31, 2008, 12:39 GMT

    This is a superb post. I just can't understand why you should sledge. Once you start doing it, things may be out of your control. Majority of the spectators want to watch cricket. How come you scold cricketers mother or wife ...? Sometimes cultural differences between the countries play a bigger part in this type of controversies. Don't say we in Australia, sledge even in schools and so we got used to it. When you are playing international cricket you need to have some moral values, sportiveness and common sense. Australian team need to develop this. Sledging should be banned. ICC should enforce this strictly.

  • Greg on January 31, 2008, 12:38 GMT

    To Pathanjal, watch some European soccer where the crowd make monkey chants at dark-skinned players, mainly those of African descent. Yes, monkey is a racist term directed towards dark skinned people, and is a world wide issue, not an Australian one.

    However, even if Bhaji called Symonds a monkey (which I think he did, but obviously can't be sure), I don't regard Bhaji as a racist. After being abused himself, it is understandable for him to respond aggressively at Symonds. So, like most Australians, I have no problem with this incident. However, like many, I am sick of the Indians using this latest furore to throw all sorts of accusations at Australians such as non-walking, over appealing, sledging (few specific examples), without acknowledging that your precious players are guilty of these things as well. International cricketers as a whole need to improve their behaviour, nut just blaming Australians does no service to you usually wonderful Indian cricketing supporters

  • Dhiren on January 31, 2008, 12:35 GMT

    to carl jacson if austrailia leave icc who will join tell me one country that will join it and not to be rude where will will the money come from you can not cheat and expect o break world records mate

  • Mike Leach on January 31, 2008, 12:33 GMT

    Top-class article. Particularly penetrating comments on Procter and Clarke.

    And Rohit - sadly, it's not only in India that criminals can run a country. It happens all over the place.

  • Ifthi from Dubai on January 31, 2008, 12:33 GMT

    Now then, how come Symmo went scot free without any punishment for triggering the whole saga?

    The judge should have meted out some punishment to Symmo too.

    If you see the Aussie gang that went against Bhajji, not a single one is trustworthy among them.

    Ponting & Michael Clarke both were dishonest by claiming a catch that wasn't a catch at Sydney. Symmo himself admitted that he was out in Sydney before he went onto score the century.

    In some of the photographs, we could see that Gilly too was there in the middle when this argument took place. Then how come he was not among the gang endorsing this racial comment? It only means that Gilly knew what was discussed & it did not definitely have a racial tone in it. It further proves that Gilly is an honest Aussie player.

    I am with Arjuna Ranatunga who said that when Aussies get their own medicine back, they become nervy.

  • krish on January 31, 2008, 12:32 GMT

    I read the article as well as the comments; notwithstanding the underlying emotions of nationality and pride, the fundamental issues are somewhat muddied through some questionable comparisons (Bush and Ponting, for example). The fact remains that code of conduct on a cricket field is not well specified or imposed(compared to soccer, for example). To make matters worse, the umpires are rank amateurs masquerading as professionals. A scoring system that ensures that umpires work in teams and only the best teams get to referee key contests (as in American football) would ensure a degree of professionalism. Lastly,one cannot ignore the brand damage Ponting and his boys may have done to Australian cricket. "Tough but fair" has always been associated the hallmark of Australian cricket. Gilchrist is a universal symbol of this. However, in extending the boundaries of toughness, present day Australian cricketers may have sacrificed fairness, which in sport is all about attitude.

  • Shail on January 31, 2008, 12:31 GMT

    As always Aussie readers find it hard to digest that a team which dominates world cricket but lacks respect for other team can do any wrong. All their players say is right, rest is all rubbish. Australia and England ran the game which is no longer happening as sub-continent teams are increasingly having more clout. Australians have never been reported for match referees Like Mr Procter have never found any fault with them. If people remember the match which Windies won by chasing world record score, Glen McGrath and co actions were worse than seen during the Sydney test even then no serious action taken.

    Aussie readers stop moaning, one reader says they leave or move away from ICC, why? Just because you can't your way now!! Leave if you wish (good riddance)!

  • Jarrod on January 31, 2008, 12:30 GMT

    "distance brings perspective" hardly. what a hypocrite. so michael clarke's slippery? what of habarjan, refusing to walk after being bowled against england. AFTER BEING BOWLED. what of Doni claiming a catch that bounced a foot in front of him in a test match against england. "writers" like you should be ashamed. so should all the nationalists who applaud you.

  • Avinash on January 31, 2008, 12:26 GMT

    Think it is as yet incolclusive that Clarke's catch of Ganguly was a bump catch. If you still see the replay there is a doubt. But there is no doubt that Dhoni claimed a bump catch of Pietersen at Lord's which was first given out and then not-out.The point is not here that Dhoni & Clarke are cheating. The point is that in the heat of the moment you don't realise and appeal. It is for umpires not to get pressurised and give the corretc decision.Its unfair to blame Dhoni or Clarke. Similarly, if a player is not walking then its umpires duty to ask him to walk if he's out. Yuvraj did the same thing in Melobourne in both the innings (he even stood after being given out by umpire while Clarke waited for the decision). In the 3rd & 4th tests there were lot of decisions which did not go Australia's way. Does that mean Aus ask for removal of umpires and backing out od a test match.

  • UMW on January 31, 2008, 12:25 GMT

    India's very sporting behaviour in this test series alone, only from when I really began keeping count after the sydney furore.

    -------------------------------------------------- Just like kumble over appealing in melbourne

    Just like Yuvraj sullenly staying at the crease in melbourne

    Just like an indian bowler appealing for an LBW after a stroke, that hit 3 stumps outside off stump in adelaide.

    Just like Pathan staring down hayden from very close range after a denied LBW...then chasing the umpire to square leg to harass him with questions in adelaide.

    Just like Indian appealed for a Clarke bat-pad that was 8 inches away from the bat in adelaide.

    Then, they carried on with the umpire about it!!

    Then, Karthik went to the umpire, wagging his finger in the umpire's face.

    Then, he went and spat right at the feet of Clarke from short leg.

    Ganguly did not walk after he would clearly have felt that the ball cleanly hit his bat before hussey caught it - adelaide.

    Sharma taunting hayden with his looks, after bowling him, while hayden walked off staring at the ground all the way from stump to outfield - adelaide --------------------------------------------------

    Indians have to get rid of this "Every Indian is cultured and ethical" and "Every aussie is rough and boorish" attitude.

    Each country has every type.

  • Karthik on January 31, 2008, 12:24 GMT

    Good one Mukul. I am vexed of reading the comments of Peter Reobuck who once was surprised that Indian team didnt return after sydney test and said Australians targeted Harbhajan and played on him. Yesterday i see him blaming BCCI very strongly. I ask Australian media, all these distinguished writers, to give me one concrete evidence to prove Harbhajan has uttered that word "Monkey". without knowing that they make conclusions that Indian Powerhouse has won the case only becoz of money. When Harbhajan pats Lee its not on for Symonds, but when Brett lee hurls a ball into Rahul Dravid even though Rahul is in his crease, its a friendly gesture. Ponting wants an excuse from Harbhajan when he touches ponting while fielding, but Symonds collides and pushes Rahul Dravid in Adelaide and nobody cares. In what sense Australia is mighty. Just becoz they appeal more and get away from Referee, celebrate like wild dogs when umpires won them the match.SYdney, perth, Adelaide India dominated. Bottomlin

  • Samir Chopra on January 31, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    Very good stuff Mukul. In explaining this whole business to folks in NYC, I tried developing an analogy involving trash-talking and verbal retaliation here: http://eye-on-cricket.blogspot.com/2008/01/just-small-analogy.html

    For my biggest beef in this whole affair has been how lightly Symonds role as Arsonist-Extraordinaire has been ignored by the press (starting from his comments about Indian celebrations after the T20 World Cup).

  • mkl on January 31, 2008, 12:20 GMT

    Petulant Sooks.

    We'd all have rathered you went home.

    Every series that India play in is marred in controversy.

    But I'll leave you safe in the knowledge that we beat you once again.

    1 billion people and you still can't find 11 who can knock us off.

    Unlucky.

    Needed to be repeated

  • stoic on January 31, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    So let me get it straight: Symonds calls Bhajji a fu***** H*** - no issues, he was being a mate Ponting claims a grounded catch - no issues, according to some people that's fine as long as he was supposedly in control of his body (read the rules again) Clarke claims a grounded catch, ponting gives him out and umpire is apparently bound by the agreement between Ponting/Kumble and not by cricket laws - no issues Bucknor (and Jenson) give 9 howlers in a single match- no issues on their competence. keep going Bhajji allegedly calls Symonds a monkey when provoked- and he is a racist?? Well let me tell you something. Someone calls me a f***** h**** and I will not call him a monkey. Trust me, he's gonna have a bloody nose. I am not expected to keep list of backgrounds of all the players to know what might be offensive to whom. It's simple, don't open ur mouth if u can't take it back. Remember Mcgrawth/Sarwan. ozzies are the inventors of 'mental disintegration' so don't be cry babies.

  • pablo on January 31, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    mukul, you are a gala!The most biased piece of so-called journalism I have ever come across. Ponting being likened to George W Bush...give me a break.You actually sound like one of the republicans pr spin doctors.You slag the aussies of for being bullying sledgers on the field??? I don't know how long you've followed cricket,but thats how most international teams have played over the past 30 years(Ian botham played this way,I dare you to start slagging him off!!!)Indian players have have reprimanded more than any other team in the last 3 years(43 times, opposed to 27 from the aussies).AS for teams getting unfair umpiring in OZ,the Aussies refused to play in india for 10 years because of your umpires being cheats.As for darrell hair,He umpires the game to the rule book and gets chased out of the game for it.Your just upset cause your crappy team is still 2nd best to the aussies.Tendulker is a ball tampering cheat by the way.1 billion indians,20million aussies,and u still cant beat us!!!

  • Damien on January 31, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    Hi Mukul, terrific article. I salute you. You have conveyed the truth in a manner which none could possible have. Absolutely brilliant I must say. From my point of view, the Australian team had been my most favourite team since the times of Kim Hughes, Allan Border, Mark Taylor & Steve Waugh & I not only used to admire their skills but I used to love the way they played the game with such panache & sportsmanship.I was such a great fan of Aussies that I wanted Australia to win when India played against them or maybe a draw. But ever since Ponting took over, I detected a change in the Aussie style when arrogance, bullyism & shameless " hard & fair " attitude took over & all my Aussie charisma disappered & I disliked the way Ponting played his game. Unfortunately the only guy in the Aussie team I have respect & admiration left is only Gilchrist & you could see that he didnt like what went on at Sydney & thought intially that he quit because his conscience didnt approve. Anyway Excellent.

  • Subramani on January 31, 2008, 12:16 GMT

    I am glad you made a reference to Ponting's habit of spitting on his hands and then rubbing them. This disgusting gesture is perhaps the image of Australian cricket today. Roebuck called them wild dogs in the aftermath of Sydney, which was a bit unfair if you consider that there are players like Stuart Clark,Bret Lee and Michael Hussey in the team as well. I have always had the highest regard for the Australian cricket team for their never say die attitude. That said,it is unfortunate that their image has plumetted so low under Ponting despite his great feats with the bat. Cricket Australia needs to take things in hand, heed their own Prime Minister and work towards bringing about an image change. They need someone like Mark Taylor as captain. Not someone like Michael Clark who has been seen in very poor light by the ease with which he has resorted to falsehood to win the day for Australia. As a stop gap arrangement, I think they should bring in Michael Hussey as captain.

  • Ananth Narayanan on January 31, 2008, 12:16 GMT

    The article, as was intended, has gone well and will go very well with the Indians dispersed all around the world. BCCI will flex its financial muscle and the IPL carrot and can get away with anything in future. Don't like the umpire, no problem. Don't like the match referee, no problem. Mr.Lalit Modi will remind players (and others) of IPL contracts once in a while so that everyone will fall in line. Has any one wondered why one of the most respected of journalists, Peter Roebuck, who got the maximum coverage in Indian media for his scathing article on Ponting and his men, has now written about BCCI and its muscle-flexing. Not very surprisingly, he has no media coverage now. I expected a more balanced coverage from Mr.Kesavan. Very disappointing.

  • Spade A Spade on January 31, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    brilliant!!

  • Simon B on January 31, 2008, 12:14 GMT

    Mr. Gurpreet, I am NOT ignorant of the fact that India got bad decisions in Perth. Both teams get them, and both teams deserves them. The point I was making was about HYPOCRISY by the Indians - they accused the Australians of many things after the Sydney Test, and now, at the end of the series, they are guilty of nearly all of those accusations themselves!

    Let me say it again: India are perfectly entitled to behave in that fashion (you will notice that the Australians raised no complaint). They are NOT entitled to bleat when the Australians do it.

    If the Indians have only just realised the path to success on the cricket field in Australia, then it's about time!

  • Michael on January 31, 2008, 12:14 GMT

    Anyone heard the story about pots and kettles?

    Perhaps everyone should get a grip and get their own house in order, then seek to criticise others.

    If you want to criticise batsmen for not walking - all 11 of your team must walk. Yuvraj anyone?

    If you want to criticise a team for overappealing, you must never appeal unnecessarily. Kumble/Harbhajan anyone?

    If you want to criticise a team for not respecting the umpires, never show any form of dissent, intimidation or aggression towards any umpire, no matter how bad the decision. Karthik finger pointing and "spitting the dummy"?

    If you want to criticise a doubtful claimed catch, never claim a doubtful catch - Ganguly World Cup, Dhoni England anyone?

    If you want people to play in the spirit of the game, keep your own over rates up and don't send batsmen out with 2 right gloves.

    If a country wants to adopt this position, then I'm happy to listen. Otherwise, everyone's at fault but the game goes on.

  • Raj Balakrishnan on January 31, 2008, 12:11 GMT

    I am ashamed of BCCI’s childish threats of boycotting the rest of the series if the judgment does not go their way. It is quite sickening to see the way they throw their weight around. I hope the guys who run the show in BCCI grow up soon.

  • KS on January 31, 2008, 12:10 GMT

    This is ugly nationalism at its worst. Indians are treating a game of sport like it is some kind of colonial struggle against an oppressor. What they are struggling with is not the umpires and Australian team but the massive chip on their own shoulders. Compare the way that China is handling its rising power, with a degree of state craft and restraint that makes India look like a tin pot third world country caught in a post-colonial time warp. Australia has a population that is 2% of India’s and is remote from the major global centres of power, yet succeeds at dozens of sports against the most powerful nations (it came 5th in Olympics after US, China, Russia & Germany as I recall) because we believe we can control our own destiny rather than being a victims of our geography, history (from convict beginnings) and small population. I would like to see India try a similar tactic in football, swimming, cycling, athletics or tennis rather than a parochial game like cricket.

  • Sayeed on January 31, 2008, 12:09 GMT

    Well written brother! I would like to draw everyones attention here to the comments made by Barry Richards about Procter being the beacon of light during the dark days of apartheid! His allegedly legendary struggle against the system(apartheid)alone was responsible for it's demise???? Is anyone aware of his heroic deeds? I understand Indian players reactions quite well in this situation. Over the years an overwhelming number of decisions made by match referees have gone against Asian teams for a fact! I am amazed at how our players retains their cool before such one eyed clowns(referees)! I would also like to suggest Kumble not to shake hand with the unhygienic spit monster ponting! Instead, he should offer him an artificial hand? Just my own thought and definitely not instigated by BCCI! Cheers.

  • Cameron - Melbourne on January 31, 2008, 12:07 GMT

    Wow! The amount of people wanting to comment on this and the amount of rubbish alot of them are spouting is unbelievable. I don't think anybody has come out of this looking good: Symonds starting the incident was juvenile & stupid & Harbhajans response was similiar & probably vile. The Indian board,fans & journos have showed immaturity in their response regarding racism. The BCCI has behaved like bullies with their threats to boycott & chartering of planes. The ACB has looked weak when it says it supports its players but does a deal to downgrade the charges against their will. The ICC have been made to look incompetent by not providing the correct records to. People who post in blogs have been revealed to be biased, ranting, insulting, racist, offensive, illogical, vindictive, dellusional & cospiracy theorists. Thankfully ther was some fantastic cricket played, particularly by Tendulkar, VVS, Hayden and Lee. We also got to see the emergence of a fantastic new talent in Sharma

  • Ryan on January 31, 2008, 12:03 GMT

    This is in response to GlaCial, U talked about diff. between India and Australian culture...... do u really want to argue on the point of culture and history ? Remember what Arjun Ranatunga has said about australia and their culture ? or should we start again.......

  • markadam on January 31, 2008, 12:03 GMT

    Beautifully explains why the Australiars were sitting looking so glum, exactly like a bunch of brats in the Principal's office. Arrogant, dishonest, vicious, and now exposed. And their reactions says it all: unless EVERYONE bows to their bullying, they consider it unfair - even the Judge is now being called corrupt, though there is absolutely no reason to think that he blinked at all at anything. The Judge's comments damn Symonds as the violator of the agreement, Clarke as a liar, and Hayden as something far worse - looks like Hayden PLANNED this attack with Symonds.

    Good take, Mukul, now please try to get Vaidyanathan and the other dhimmies to read it, or read it to them real s l o w l y...

    Cheers

  • SamD on January 31, 2008, 11:55 GMT

    I can only presume that I must have hit a nerve with Mukul in my previous posts (all three of them) as they don't seem to be getting posted. None of them were abusive, offensive, or transgressed any of the guidelines as far as I can see. So perhaps Mukul or someone might have the decency to tell me why I have been excluded from this discussion?

  • Arjun Agarwal on January 31, 2008, 11:55 GMT

    Mukul: Another comment. This may be flogging a dead horse, but if Harbhajan was penalized for using abusive language, why hasn't Symonds been? Judge Hansen concluded that Symonds initiated the exchange and used 'abusive language' - has the outraged Aussie media considered that Symonds may well deserve to be penalized as well?

  • Gurpreet on January 31, 2008, 11:55 GMT

    The guy above who said India benefited from bad decisions in perth is ignorant. Dhoni and Sachin also got bad decisions aswell.. but you forgot that.. Oh thats right cause ur an aussie.. and Aussies are ignorant.

    Get use to it, India will dominate from here on in. Get ready to cry like babies alot more.

  • Michael on January 31, 2008, 11:54 GMT

    Some clarification perhaps of the contradictions in many comments. Australians are not upset at the "clearing" of Harbhajan on the racism charge - after all, it was a JOINT submission from Ponting and Tendulkar that brought this about. The issue they are taking (and with which Hansen now agrees) is that they expected a 1 match suspension. Hansen has already confirmed that if the ICC had told him about Harbhajan's numerous past indiscretions, then the penalty would have been very different.

    In a nutshell, cleared on racism (which was inevitable and justified given the absence of proof) but a complete mess made of sentencing thanks to the ICC.

    As for the BCCI, atrocious. Don't like the umpire - hold game to ransom. Don't like the decision - hold game to ransom.

    The Indians had the moral high ground after Sydney, then threw it away quicker than Karthik unjustifiably spitting at Clarke in Adelaide!

    Apparently 2 wrongs make a right? As Roebuck said, God help cricket!

  • Rohit on January 31, 2008, 11:54 GMT

    Indians! Indians! They say it happens only in india and they are very true. Only in India can you have criminals running the country. Only in India can you remove Ganguly for some overrated and undeserving cricketer. Anything that goes against us, is against the spirit of the game and all decisions whether correct or wrong that are in our favour are a part of the game. How can you have people like Harsha Bhogle who should be commenting neutrally openly criticizing every australian. I think the australians should have kicked the indians out of their country instead of tolerating heir dictatorship. They say sehwag has a very short memory and he forhets about the last, I think thats the case with every indian as they seem to forget the decisions that their umpires had given back in India.

  • Simon B on January 31, 2008, 11:49 GMT

    India are well on the way to becoming the new Australia: they are certainly losing the respect of the cricketing world at the required rate! Regardless of what we Aussies think of the behaviour of the Australians' behaviour, the Indian have lost a lot of the respect they were previously afforded, with their repeated and petulant threats to abandon the tour, their interference in the assignment of umpires, and most of all for their blatant hypocrisy in whole-heartedly adopting exactly the behavioural standards they complain about in the Australians!

    Now, basically all India need to do is get a fair bit better at playing cricket BEFORE the series (and trophy) is stone dead!

  • S.N. on January 31, 2008, 11:46 GMT

    A well written post.After reading The Hon.Hansen's judgement, it is becoming clear as to who is to blame for all this.Harbhajan was targeted by the Aussies since he can not keep his cool.Andrew Symonds not only broke his promise made in Mumbai but abused harbhajan for appreciating Lee's bowling.Michael Clarke's evidence shows he can not be relied upon. Hayden only joined in to support Symonds and to cover up his fault.Channel 9 did not give the relevant video to ensure that Procter does not beleive Sachin's evidence.Ponting complained to the umpires like a cry baby and precipitated the crisis. Procter, a S.African a true one time follower of apartheid did not consider that the Indians could speak the truth.All in all it was a frame up and a good and great judge saw through the plot and unravelled the truth.Thanks to the ICC, Harbhajan escaped with a minimum punishment. In future when ever the Aussies abuse, the Indian Captain should complain to the umpires and put them in the dock.This

  • Shankar on January 31, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    To Aussies who dont seem to understand a basic premise---Which the good Judge has clearly pointed out, that the big bully Symonds started this spat. Harbhajan responded not with Monkey but with Maan Ki which is a very solid insult in Hindi. In India if he utters it to an unknown person he would have been beaten. I am ashamed about his behaviour but Symonds also should look at his backside first. Lee Patted Tendulkar on the head after he got out at Adelaide, and it was a friendly gesture, So If the big bully Symonds was an Indian and he was non striker he would take the issue with Lee and abuse him??? Bloody utter bull shit and he got back what he gave from Harbhajan. In India cusswords like bastard, fuck are frowned upon and not accepted as a standard of behaviour. So people use them when they get seriously angry which Harbhajan used when Symonds provoked him. And who the hell this big bully Symonds is to question what we celebrate and what we condemn. It was none of his business

  • Vinod Ranganath on January 31, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    Hi Mukul, As a true blue indian cricket fan i would enjoy this post for sure.. but at the same time.. i personally feel that misplaced aggression of the kind that Harbajan and Sreesanth have been showing off late on the cricket field are not worth entertaining or appreciating. we indians are not good at sledging and so should refrain from doing so. If a Manki Aag is misninterpreted as Monkey as reported in the press then a whole lot of Indian abuses could be misinterpreted and land Indian players in trouble. the Aussies know how to sledge and let them do so... its the way they have played their cricket and so be it. At the same time the reality is that Aussie aggression has reached a stage where the powers that may be should seriously look at the Aussie claim of Playing the game Hard and fair. We all recollect Macgrath yelling abuses at Ramanaresh Sarwan in West Indies and which was caught by Stump mikes And Slater abusing Dravid. why did ICC not take action against them

  • Mukesh on January 31, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    Hey Carl Jackson.. I hope you're right, and good luck. Cant wait for the sponsors and crowds to roll in to watch Australia v England v New Zealand EVERY SUMMER.. ha ha what a joke..

  • Ranjeet on January 31, 2008, 11:43 GMT

    Hope there will be strong personalities in the Indian team post Kumble and Tendulkar who can twist BCCI's arm to ensure that players' reputation is not held hostage by Kangaroo or South African courts.

  • Simon B on January 31, 2008, 11:42 GMT

    If Ponting = Bush, then what does that make Ganguly/Kumble? Osama bin Laden??

    No-one came out of this untarnished. What of the Indians revelling in benefitting from bad decisions in the Perth Test? If they are going to criticise Australia for that sort of behaviour, they would do well to refrain from using it themselves...

    What of Kartik's disgusting behaviour in Adelaide, blatant dissent in the face of a correct umpiring decision. Could you imagine the uproar if the roles had been reversed? Clarke appealing for a bad decision, sledging during play afterwards, and spitting at Kartik as he walked off the field. If that had happened, Clarke would have been strung up, but because it was Kartik, we are supposed to act like everything is OK.

    To every Indian who says Aussies dish it out but can't take it, I say this: DON'T criticise the behaviour of the Australians if the Indian team is slavishly intent on copying that behaviour down to the very last detail!

  • Prasad on January 31, 2008, 11:41 GMT

    I think Mukul got most of it right. About the transgression Aussie media keeps throwing at us regarding Indian team being the worst is exactly what infuriates the cricket fans. They see the Australian teams getting away with murder while the Indian and Subcontinent team getting dinged for everything. There is no consistency in how the decisions were made. The overappealing was the perfet ewxample. Sehwag gets punished but Ponting and team don't. What justice!!!

    Dean, about the Harbhajan bowled situatuion, let me explain how I saw it. He got bowled, no doubt about that as far as you and I are concerned. But as far as Bhajji was concerned he never looked back to see its bowled. He thought he was stumped. And guess what, the umpire wasn't sure about it. If he had seen its bowled and not walked then he should be castigated.

    About the catching agreement, why the hell do that when you know sometimes there is doubt in a catch even if the fielder is sure? Better refer it upstairs.

  • Rohit on January 31, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    Dear keithoz, "Didn't do anything to help Proctor" - If you can't see things clearing please refer to his statements after Sarawan incident and when he banned Rashid Latif for 5 test matches and turned a blind eye when Ponting did the same in this match. Rohit

  • Arun on January 31, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    An incredibly biased and flawed article. Indian cricket fans are pretty much the most parochial and unsporting in the cricketing world. Think about torching stadiums and burning effigies. Sure the Aussie cricket team have MANY flaws... but the Australian media and the general public are not backward in calling them out. All we get from Indian fans is excuses and accusations... it really takes away from some of the very good cricket that the team played. Face it - you know Bhaji probably said Monkey AND you know it is a racist term. Imagine if Ponting had called RP or someone a Monkey? Harbhajan should have been man enough to admit what he said and wouldn't have had to drag Sachin into this mess. Minus Harbhajan's comment and you have a very strong performance and the moral high ground. Now with the carry on and articles like this I dont know what to think.

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    continued... He was the clear evident why Indians and other players from subcontinent have been on the wrong side of law. He refused to see the arguement and context, and we all have to go through this sorry saga. He said, being in south africa he understands what raical slurr is, we can't deny that but, what he could not see was the preceeding incidents and faile to envison suceeding ones. We all should agree that he was inept and raises a question about integrity and aptitudes of match referee. He was no more than Ponting in disguise, taking words of few selected men as they were written laws. If one looks at the history, the most disgusting scenes in the field of cricket has mostly been involving Australians. Incident involving Glenn McGrath and Ramnaresh Sarwan is still fresh in the mind. No. of years Glenn Mcgrath went on to play after that is a representation of where true power lied. Australians must accept this changing time. continue...

  • Simon B on January 31, 2008, 11:34 GMT

    It's so simple - WHY do so many Indian supporters not understand the difference between sledging and racism? A real example: Symonds was not punished because he sledged BUT did not break any ICC rules or conduct codes. Harbhajan was cited because he was heard using a RACIST epithet! Ponting was OBLIGED to report him - any other course of action would have been a reprehensible backdown in the face of racism.

    Now, we already knew that Harbhajan was a racist, and now we know that he is a liar as well, and so is Tendulkar. Why? Because no mention of "Teri Maa Ki" was made at the original hearing! Why not? If they'd mentioned it then, Harbhajan would never have been charged with racism!

    So why did "Teri Maa Ki" suddenly surface at the appeal? Because the Indians realised they could avoid the charge that way. The Indian batsmen lied either at the original hearing or at the appeal - no other conclusion can be drawn.

    And there is only one cricket nation that flouts the match referees!

  • Shrinagesh on January 31, 2008, 11:31 GMT

    All the Aussies responding here are like anyother Aussie. Amazing. Their self importance, their wonderful bloated opinion of themselves, their respect for Ponting, Symonds amd Clarke, their dis regard for one of cricket's greatest blunders-the Caught behind decision of Dravid, their sledging as mark of toughness, India's forgiving of Aussies for the B word and Aussies ingratitude towards that gesture,their inability to receive criticism in dignity make me think that Down under is really DOWN under as far as culture is concerned. India should not ape these values, come what may.

  • Vijay on January 31, 2008, 11:30 GMT

    This is a fitting response to some of the ridiculous headlines in the Aussie media. I believe BCCI should now insist on Symonds being charged for hurling "invective laden attack" at Bhajji. He does not deserve any good will from Indians. According to the judge, even if Bhajji used the monkey word, Symonds has no reason to be upset because he started the whole thing. I don't know what is Ponting & co unhappy about; that the judge exposed the real culprit, or he has revealed that his mate first broke the pledge made in Mumbai or he found one of his mates to be unreliable. We have to ask Malcom Speed, who maintains that he retains the right to charge players even if not charged by match officials, whether he would charge Symonds for bringing the game to disrepute. BCCI is right in using what ever means it has to protect it's players from unfair treatment. Ponting & CA should be happy that his players are getting away with nothing for bringing false charges.

  • Hafizk on January 31, 2008, 11:30 GMT

    The issue is simple; would one accept the word of Symonds, Ponting and Hayden or that of Tendulkar. In my view there is no contest.

  • Just a fan on January 31, 2008, 11:29 GMT

    Firslty. To compare Ponting to someone who is responsible for hundreds of people dying everyday. Thats just not cricket. Secondly. Neither country is bigger than the game. Thirdly, has there ever been so many great players on the field at once. Imagine this team: Hayden, Sehwag, Ponting, Tendulkar, Hussey, Symmonds, Gilchrist, Kumble, Lee, Pathan, Clarke And finally, Being a racist is very un-Australian. I too get searched when at the airport.

  • phoenix209 on January 31, 2008, 11:29 GMT

    And one final thing to add - what worries me is how is the Indian mob of 100k in the smaller cities of India, provoked by the media, react when the Aussies tour India in Oct. BCCI better ensure that there is no racial chanting, etc. then and culprits are thrown out summarily. To the intellectual in this forum who claims that monkey is more offensive than f£$k or b"$5ard, it depends on which side of the fence you are mate!I would rather be called a monkey than a b"$£ard - calling me sub-human (I am brown by the way)and linking me to my ancestors (yrs as well I guess) is fine - informing me that I was conceived out of wedlock and with someone other than the man I call dad is not! May be some people prefer otherwise but then to each man his own!

  • Ashish on January 31, 2008, 11:24 GMT

    Many here have accused Indian team for throwing tantrums or holding the series for ransome, yes they did, but i feel it was better than quietly seeing yourself being cheated and just actig like gentlemen even when your opponents are not. But then these are just my views.

    Some of my other views are The article was good, but the 'Iraq War' part was out of context. Ricky Ponting is not least similar to Bush in behaviour or attitude, but i do think he looks a bit like him. Umpiring standards need to be raised. I totally agree with the Australians that sledging is ok until not racist and giving decisions is umpire's work and respecting them is that of players

    And at last, really most of the Indians don't know that monkey is a racist word, though i think those spectators doing mokey chants in India knew what they were doing.

  • NATARAJAN TANJORE on January 31, 2008, 11:24 GMT

    Mr. Seano, There is a difference between Mr. Michael clark, a senior cricketer with lots of test experience and Ishant Sharma, a novice with just under four tests experience. May be he was emulating the rich precedence set up by the illlustrious clark. Also I find that the aussie writing seems to be hell bent of terming Harbhajan racist and one Mr. justin crawford says that if any aussy had indulged in racist remark, he would have been turfed for ever! Well what happened to Mr. Glen Mcgrath, Mr. Dean Jones? And to top it all we have mr. Ian chappell waxing eloquent about the ground manners and behaviour when he had no shame in pulling down his zipper to the umpire on ground! Indians are no whiners, and let australia win one game with out sledging anybody and we will accept them as a great team! Post Sydney their standards were no where the standards they had before - reason - Public attention on their sledging, so the great boys couldnt get their adrelin pumped up with choicest @$@%

  • Shalabh Saxena on January 31, 2008, 11:22 GMT

    ...continued Unfortunately, Mr. Ponting didn't have the vision to realize it. I always believed that captainship in cricket is synonymous with leadership; Mr. ponting had put a doubt to that. A leader has to has this vision, a clarity of thought, which Ponting didn't have. There was a saying in spiderman movie that "great power brings great responsibility", Ponting failed miserably to understand this repsonsibility. Agreed, its a responsibility for a leader to stand up for its team mate, but he failed to understand the game of cricket is worth much more than self invited offense of a savage beast(disclosure:- this use of term is generic and not racial). Now again, by showing his resentment on the decision, which is factual, rational and more legitimate, he has shown a total lack of leadership skill. Knowing where to field his man is great art, but to know when, why and how to field one thoughts is greater. Mr.Procter also had his share of involvement in this sorry saga. continue...

  • rext on January 31, 2008, 11:22 GMT

    To all the Indians living in Australia who can do nothing but denigrate their host Country I would ask "Why the hell are you here and not in India?" If Australia's so bad get on a bloody plane back there and stop bludging on us! Ungrateful parasites!

  • Neil on January 31, 2008, 11:21 GMT

    Mukul, just when I begin to see evidence of "balance" in your blog you come up with a heap of sensational flag-waving anti-Aussie tub-thumping. Your description of Ponting is the most hateful harmful piece of writing I have read during this entire sorry saga. The spitting on the hands thing is a very Australian blue-collar "lets go to work" habit, one that is entirely in tune with Ponting's approach to cricket and life in general. Imagine the uproar if an Aussie cricket journo suggested that Harbajhan was somehow lesser because he sits on the floor and eats with his hands. I'm afraid you only draw attention to your own limited knowledge and bias. By the way the most blatant "cheating" non-catch in recent times belongs to Dhoni (Pietersen in England '07). Surely not an Indian? You say the Aussies are "universally unloved". My response is that Aussies love Kumble & the famous 4 and will be sad if we don't see them again. They bring great credit to India. Today, I'm afraid, you do not.

  • phoenix209 on January 31, 2008, 11:21 GMT

    Mukul,I am an Indian and an avid cricket follower who stayed up all night here in the UK to watch each and every ball of the four tests-therefore as passionate as a cricket fan gets!Whilst I agree that at Sydney "we was robbed", that in no manner absolves India of the brinkmanship that followed.Whether HS called Sym a monkey or not is something that only HS and Sym know,but if HS did,he should be punished & I wouldnt defend him just because he was Indian.What was depressing was the manner in which BCCI sought to put pressure on a judicial process-that was unneccesary given the evidence and childish.But then I have come to believe that the Indian sensationalist media (see star news-thank you Mr. Murdoch-ironically an Aussie) controls and it was no surprise that BCCI's actions were sensationalist and playing to the gallary.You comparing Ponting to Bush-despicable & not on-shows absolute lack of culture.Finally,Ponting&co-if sledging is mental disintegration,using money power is as well.

  • Poo man chu on January 31, 2008, 11:21 GMT

    Mukul call it what it is!. We all saw on TV during the 20/20 series how well adjusted Indians are with rascism. We all know its another cover up. Proffesional Australian sportman of all codes are very successful because they are fitter, train harder, mentally tuffer and understand the difference between rascism sledging. Indians cricketers should work harder at their shortcomings and start acting like proffessionals rather than bollywood stars.

  • Vinayak Kane on January 31, 2008, 11:21 GMT

    BRAVO!

  • parthasarthy on January 31, 2008, 11:19 GMT

    after reading comments from all my fellow men from Australia, it is clear that they have accepted :

    1. to have lost series 1-2 to India (since matches can not be won for claiming ground catches) 2. they will get back the same thing they throw on others. 3. their supremacy is now over (In cricket if not in English) 4. "Ma Ki .." is acceptable rather than "monkey".

    Some other animal (may be Donkey) and not "Monkey is their ancestors.

    GREAT SIDNEY WINNERS (you may feel proud of above)

  • UMS on January 31, 2008, 11:17 GMT

    Mr dwblurb this is start of great debacle...take it this way...r aussies satisfied with the result? and if they r, then yes it is start of demise of aussie empire..

  • Hari on January 31, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    Well-written! The Australians have been getting away with murder all these years in the name of 'playing hard' (whatever that means). Now when they are getting a taste of their own medicine, they are crying and going to mama..Ponting and his team are such a bunch of pathetic specimens..It is great that India reacted the way they did. All the sub-continental teams (India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) should decide to endlessly harass the Australian team whenever they play against them. At the end of the day, Australia is just an insignificant part of the world economy, and it is time the country is shown its place.

  • Victor Trumpet on January 31, 2008, 11:14 GMT

    Hah!

    I think there was a fair colouring of Indian bias in this piece, no doubt a product of the death threats Mukul received after his first piece villifying Harbhajan. That alone says quite alot about India - it's a country where you can be deified one day - killed by a crowd with machetes the next.

    Having said that, this article is intelligent and funny and deserves to be widely read. I agree that there is more than a bit of George W. Bush in Ricky Ponting, and truly Ponting is the one guy in this whole affair who like Harbhajan, really does look like a simian.

    But Indians still remember the astonishing way Ponting single handedly destroyed them in the 2003 World Cup, an innings that has only been equaled by Gilchrist's slaughter of Sri Lanka last year.

    India won the moral victory in this Test series, and with the addition of Sehwag and Sharma, and with the subtraction of Hayden - proved that they are now atleast as good as Australia.

    The next set of matches should be dynamite.

  • k.kuppusamy on January 31, 2008, 11:14 GMT

    One thing is clear namely barring certain honourable exceptions, no Indian respondent seems to see the fault in the Indian behaviour,as, for example, threatening to quit if the decision went against them and most Australian respondents seem to harp on the bad(?) history of Indian behaviour whuile supporting the Australian players. The divide is too wide and perhaps a cooling off period gfor a few years qwith no bilateral series with Australia will do more good than anything else

  • deepak nair on January 31, 2008, 11:13 GMT

    "Any sort of character assassination on Andrew Symonds would be completely unfair," Ponting said. "He's someone who doesn't want this stuff happening, it's the second time with what he had to go through in India as well, and it's the last thing in the world he wants." if he did not want this stuff happening symonds should have kept his mouth shut, what you sow you reap!! maybe ponting doubts the integrity of the judge, should the judge leave the room mr.ponting??

  • pillai on January 31, 2008, 11:10 GMT

    "The Indian board has no interest in cricket as such:" -- LOL!!! So very true! That has to be the statement of the century!

  • Steve on January 31, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    I used to think we (australian's) are world leader in cricket but now my opinion has changed.

  • UMS on January 31, 2008, 11:08 GMT

    Lets defeat Aussies by 3-0 when they come to india...coz this team will be weakest team toured in recent past. And we can also go for our kind for wicket prepartion.

  • Sean on January 31, 2008, 11:07 GMT

    It really does give me a good laugh each day reading these articles from the Indian media... :) :) Cry, cry, you pack of sooks!!!!! :) :)

  • paimaamq on January 31, 2008, 11:06 GMT

    First article in thousands which I have read over last 5-10 years on cricinfo which prompted me to put an response. Amaszing analysis. Well done Kesavan.

  • raghu seshan on January 31, 2008, 11:04 GMT

    Hey

    Whats going on, sledging/slashing/commenting/profusing/stripping/staring/bumping and all possible "ings" except the word cricket. I heard monkey, he heard teri maaki. They heard bastard he patted, some spat in his palms fopr shining the ball. Licking, tampering, someone said black crow another was sacked for boozing and a legend for smoking ganja.

    Nice this far from what Wordsworth wrote of Ranjitsinji. What the world admires the Don. he was also an Oz. Lets not get out to be mokeying/butting or bullying the situation.

    I will want India to honour Bucknor, show him true Gandhism. Indians please do not be the dirty side of Cricket, this will go into HISTORY. I do not want any Indian to be a part of this.

    Get out of this crap gentlmen, allow the grace to continue.

  • Sten on January 31, 2008, 11:02 GMT

    Who ever wrote this rubbish must have had their brains blown to bits by indian curry - everyone knows that indian honesty is dodgy, try getting anything done by their public service with out rubbing someone's palm with dough - their cricket team and administration is no different. The only reason the racist Harbajan got off was cause the ICC is incompetent

  • Just a fan on January 31, 2008, 11:02 GMT

    Well done to everyone for your comments from both sides of the crease. I have no idea of what it must feel like to be an Indian cricket fan. But i am learning fast. The pride for your team is growing due to thier success & with great players such as Tendulker, Kumble & the up and coming Pathan, you feel like you have to protect them.

    This sounds very familiar. I have great respect for the Indian team. They have proven over the last 6 years that they are up to the task.

    Being an Aussie, I love a good competition more than anything. But what i have a problem with is the media taking a simple game that normal people play(not super heroes)and drag it & the people who love it through the mud.

  • matt on January 31, 2008, 11:01 GMT

    what said on the field, should be left on the field. sledging is part of cricket its been happening for a long time now and why should it stop??? however i think indian management took it to far when it was said if Harbhajans suspension was not withdrawn they were going home. well come how old are these guys??? and the burning images in india well ill just say im never going to india grow up and act like adults, bloody cry babies.....

  • Robert Hitchiner on January 31, 2008, 10:58 GMT

    I love cricket. And I love good cricket. As an Englishman, I do not care if it is played by India, Australia or England, so long as it is good. The Australian and Indian spat makes me so angry because these two nations seem to have forgotten that they are the guardians of the sport - not politicans whose petty squabbles need to be broadcasted. Australia's gracelessness, arrogance and uncouthness is unpleasant. Michael Clarke's bump ball catch was painful to watch - because he must have known it was not out. Further, unless it can be proved that Harbajan said what the Aussies claim, then he did not. I think Indians are right to feel aggrieved. However, Indians must remember that they are not necessarily beyond reproach either - I am thoroughly sick of hearing that the umpires are biased, that India should have won and Kartik's spitting is as shameful as the Aussies behaviour. If only the whole Indian team behaved as responsibly as Tendulkar, Kumble and Dravid.

  • Nathan Crane on January 31, 2008, 10:58 GMT

    I suppose that is about as impartial and objective as we can expect to get an Indian journalist on an article involving Indian cricket, which is good to see.

    Many of the Indian supporter's comments sound more like Cardinals responding to criticism of the Pope and are quite insane. But hey, you already have your narrative set, Australia are the Nazis or Imperial Japanese of world cricket and India are the shining beacons of freedom or something. Pfft.

  • Shalabh Saxena on January 31, 2008, 10:57 GMT

    Well, what made more interesting than rading my fav cricket writers are comments on it, clearly showing Indian and Australian divide. One has to look at this incident holistically and unfortunately only two writers have done that, one is you Mukul and second Harsha Bhogle, both Indians. Now lets look first at the allegations, Australians believed it was racial in nature, may be it was. Harbhajan is no saint, as we all agree, but behind every act of crime, there is a motive, and no act should be taken out of the context and assessed for verdict. If Symonds believd that test match field is no place to be friendly than Harbhajan has all the right to tell Mr. Symonds how savage he is, and it won't be unfair. As for Mr. Ponting, we all have been in school and colleges and even at home where teacher asks us to report every mischief a mate commits. But do we go and report it all, we don;t because there is life beyond such incident and there is relation to tend. continue...

  • Phil on January 31, 2008, 10:53 GMT

    100% kosher Sir. I congratulate you on a well balanced and most excellent article.The issues that remain now are whether Clarke will go on to captain OZ and Proctor's future with the ICC. I for one will keep an eye open to both developments.

  • dwblurb on January 31, 2008, 10:53 GMT

    "... most Aussies are a condescending, isolated bunch. This is their worst nighmare come true"

    Er, I think Australian supporters would be having far more nightmares were "team India" to actually beat Australia in a series. As it currently stands, all the Indian behaviour (threatening to return home, burning effegies, blaming umpires for defeats, taking of conspiracies, etc) is doing is reinforcing steareotypes that Indians should be keen to rid themselves of.

    The BCCI would do much more for the benefit of Indian cricket were it to schedule a decent itinerary for their national team and develop their junior players, not to mention provide decent facilities for spectators, rather than the grandstanding that has gone on in recent weeks. Threating to go home every time something goes against you (as in this instance and South Africa 2001) doesn't smack of a mature or well-run organisation.

  • SamD on January 31, 2008, 10:52 GMT

    This is no great piece of writing despite what some people are saying. Just another piece of justification for beliefs from one side of the fence in this never-ending argument. Only slighly more elegantly written. Although comparing Ponting to Bush is pretty juvenile.

    Seriously guys, can't we all get beyond this and start appreciating the cricket? I'm looking forward to some good hard action in the 20/20 match tomorrow night.

    My prediction (much as I hate to say it) is that India will come up trumps.

    But in the ODI's the team that didn't even make it to the knockout stage of the world cup will fold once again...

  • Sankaps on January 31, 2008, 10:50 GMT

    Just two points:

    1. "Monkey" is not considered a racist term in India. Why is it so hard to understand? It is just another mock-abusive word, like "jackass". Father call their sons monkey, kids call each other monkey, no one connects it to racism until political correctness comes along and Indians are told to view the world through Western lenses (though Westerners are not told to show the same sensitivity to Indians, and are therefore free to call them "bastards".)

    2. It is a bit rich for Australians of all people to be suddenly so sensitive to issues of race and color... remember the Benson & Hedges Finals in Sydney in 1985? India was playing Pakistan, and there was a big banner held up in one of the stands that read "Bus Drivers vs Tram Conductors". If that is not racism, then nothing is. Of course back then the Indians and Pakistanis were too polite to make a big fuss about it. Imagine if that had happened today!

  • sam david on January 31, 2008, 10:49 GMT

    I am an Indian and i find Harbajan to be little more than a mediocre off spinner with a hot head that has had little training in refinement. Like many people i feel the Aussies had it coming for some time now and i applaud the aggression that some Indian players are employing as part of their on-field strategy. However they have to learn to be more subtle with the sledging and should learn from the masters themselves. Instead they now find themselves in trouble for being crude and lewd.

    I honestly feel that it is very likely that Harbajan did call Symmonds a monkey and not anything in Hindi that sounded like it. Us Indians are very capable of doing such things!

    If indeed that were the case then I am rather ashamed that this man has not been dropped from the team and sent on a behavioural therapy course along with Sreesanth perhaps.

  • borabora on January 31, 2008, 10:48 GMT

    All I can say to all the Aussies who are spewing invective at India and Indians is " Make sure no Australian player, retired or active, plays in the IPL"; after all, you guys are such noble hardy souls and don't care a jot for the money do you ??

  • SpiMan on January 31, 2008, 10:47 GMT

    I'm with Woppa. This is the 21st century and the game has inexorably changed, as do all other sports which are totally professional. It's all about money these days and any player will try and get away with anything to ensure that a win at any cost is achieved. No win, no sponsorship, no support, no income. If that means having to sledge, well so be it and the Indian cricketers are becoming as adept at this as the Australians, thanks to Greg Chappell no doubt.

    Harbhajan got off scott free: there is a huge difference bewteen racism and sledging and I think we all know that Harbhajan made racist remarks.

    At the end of the day the winner in all this is the BCCI - they ambushed the ICC and Cricket Australia. And why - because it's all about money and control. No win, no sponsorship, no support, no income, no control.

    But all the conspiracy theories - Bucknor, Benson and Proctor's decisions as well as the Ponting, Bush comparison leaves Mukul's article lacking credibility.

  • jaytara on January 31, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    It is unfortunate that some comments by themselves are racist. take "Aisch' for example who claims that another alleged writer can not be an Aussie because "his lack of grammer (sic)" gives him away as an Indian. Since when were Aussies considered good grammarians, "Aisch' can't even spell the word correctly.

  • Madan on January 31, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    Excellent article..but I am not convinced that the BCCI didn't resist their temptation to wield power..more like Sachin Tendulkar's staunch support of Harbhajan provided a trigger...but power for a just cause, unlike in the case of Shane Bond, in which the power-abuse was more subtle and devious. Apparently, Ponting is upset that the quantum of punishment for Harbhajan could have been higher....what about the punishment that Symonds DIDN'T get, mate..he too has a "record" to boot.

    And, dear Radakrishnan, when the ball hits the glove and it is then caught by a fielder or the keeper, it's OUT in cricket. Have a good day!!

  • Michael on January 31, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    Someone far wiser than me said "let he who is innocent throw the first stone". Clearly this theory went out the window once articles like this were written. Firstly, let me go on the record and confirm that Harbhajan had to be cleared. There was no conclusive evidence. But if the Aussies thought they heard it, they had every right to report it, and similarly if the Indians disputed it, they had every right to appeal. End of story. So Australia has Ponting/Clarke/Symonds/etc behaving badly regarding catches, provocation, not walking, aggressive appealing, emotional theatrics, sledging. Geepers, that sounds like every side in world cricket. India has Ganguly (WC claiming half-volley catch), Dhoni (England claiming half-volley catch), Harbhajan (track record of swearing/dissent, not walking when CLEAN BOWLED), Karthik (spitting towards umpire and batsman after Bowden correctly refused appeal). Funny how we all see things from only one perspective, isn't it?

  • Amitesh on January 31, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    There are a lot of Aussies commenting on this Blog claiming Australians are champions and they are winners and that they beat India. My only question is that Who is a real winner and a champion. in our Indian Culture we are taught that a real winner is one who is assosiated with being liked and admired. Unfortunetly the whole world (that has cricket interest) and a lot of decent aussies barring some of the idots on this blog do not even LIKE ,let alone LOVE and RESPECT the Australian Cricket teams of past and now. If a team is hated and not liked then how can you call them a champion team or a winning team. To be a champion you have to win the hearts of the public that watches you. They may take more wickets and score more runs but they are also lack "INTERGRITY", they lie , they abuse , their past champion players send abusive and vulgar text messages to other women behind their wives back, they push senior citizens off the stage without disregard. Hail Aussies !Indeed you are champs

  • Krishna on January 31, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    continuation.. BCCI has exerted influence and forced the issue into a court of law. Listening to Mike Procter's judgement would eb akin to taking Ponting's word on the Clarke's claimed catch...where as the BCCI's much hated financial power forced the debate to a third umpire (a court of law) where it is evident that it was a bump ball and/or an incomplete catch. Id say case closed. Lets not get into the character of Indian and Australian players because that is a battle that will never be won by either side. Both teams have their gentlemen, Australia have Gilly and Hussey and India have Kumble, Sachin, Dravid, Laxman and Sehwag. Lets stop at that.

  • Raja Venkatesh on January 31, 2008, 10:40 GMT

    Having lived in this country, Australia, for the last 7 years and experienced racism in every walks of life, I am not surprised by the behaviour of Aussie cricketers. The one that I liked was the punishing reply by the BCCI and the one that I don't like is why do we have to put up with this shit?

  • THRISSUR on January 31, 2008, 10:39 GMT

    hai OZS stop crying we are the power house and we will rule the cricket world, dont try to question us

  • matt on January 31, 2008, 10:39 GMT

    what said on the field, should be left on the field. sledging is part of cricket its been happening for a long time now and why should it stop??? however i think indian management took it to far when it was said if Harbhajans suspension was not withdrawn they were going home. well come how old are these guys??? and the burning images in india well ill just say im never going to india grow up and act like adults, bloody cry babies.....

  • Kirthivasan on January 31, 2008, 10:38 GMT

    Wow! What an article! There is intellect showing in every word you say Mukul(which is a disadvantage these days). Looking at the wider picture, I am sure one would agree that there is a pattern emerging in the backdrop of the ineptitude and incompetence that the so called governing body has. The pattern is that of trying to cause as much damage to the image of Asian teams and believe me, it is all orchestrated. The first thing that the Asian block should do is to try and break away from the ICC and have their own governance systems which should be 'state of the art' in terms of use of technology, law, ethics and fairness and then the world would know what they have missed all along.

    Keep up your work Mukul and do respond if you have time(to my email).

    Please dont let your fair views to be edited by some thugs who cant take much when it comes to pointing out the obvious - stay as you are and Good Luck

  • JohnCho on January 31, 2008, 10:38 GMT

    Being of Chinese background, I have to admit I don't watch much cricket but after watching and reading what has been going on in the cricketing world, it has struck a similar chord in the sense that it is quite similar to what China has faced and is facing in the real world...a growing economic and military superpower challenging the west who got so used to dominating most of the world's affairs for more than a century. In cricket, power used to lie with England and Australia. Suddenly you have this growing enonomic powerhouse from the subcontinent challenging the traditional powerbase. As far as the ruling is concerned and based on the facts available to the judge, a correct judgement has been made. I also can see more problems/divisions cropping up in the future between the anglo cricketing teams & the subcontinent ones. But, I hope common sense prevails and cricket wins. In my book, both Symonds and Harbhajan are guilty.

  • Siddharth Ganesh on January 31, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    Great article - one that puts things into perspective. Wonder what happened with the Brad Hogg case though. It is also surprising that the cricket journos have hardly covered the stimulus for the Harbhajan incident. Symond's claim of "stiking up for his mate" sounds laughably ridiculous as does "test cricket is no place for friends". Did a pat on Lee's back warrant such a response from him? Surely, Lee didn't have a problem. It would have been more apt if both Harbhajan and Symonds were punished. Did Symonds escape punishment because India didn't lodge a complaint? India's threat of a pull-out has set a bad precedent but I hope it has put an end to the nonsense called sledging.

  • dan on January 31, 2008, 10:34 GMT

    Looking at the article from a neutral angle, one would say that the game of cricket has taken a real beating by the end of it all. Although I am an Indian, I am sorry to say that the new breed of cricketers are not at all a good sign of the way Indian cricket is heading. The Dravids & Tendulkars are the ones to emulate not the Harbhajans or the Shreeshants since the former have won many a game for us by being cool. Our test victory at Kolkata in 2001 when we had our backs against the wall, the victory in Adelaide are all examples of this. The level-headed are not intimididated by the opposition or the situation and they are the ones who perform. Remember Kapil's Devils have won a famous world cup against a really good West Indian side by just going out there and performing.Its high time ths fans of "CRICKET" get their moneys worth of onfield entertainment rather than a bollywood potboiler of controversies....

  • Mick Of Oz on January 31, 2008, 10:33 GMT

    I can see the Indians disappointment. They have 1 billion people - we have 20 million and they still cant beat us fair and square.

    Losing graciously obviously isn't an Indian trait judging by this article and subsequent replies.

  • Raja Pakistani on January 31, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    = This is really a great write-up.

    = ICC has become a fully-owned subsidiary of BCCI.

    = Bhajji is a Sardar.

    = Malcolm Speed is the biggest culprit in bringing ICC to where it is today.

    = ICC (Malcolm Speed) removed Steve Bucknor from Third Test, to justify his actions of reluctantly removing Darrel Hair after Oval Saga, besides his attempt to spoil the gradually improving relations of West Indies Cricket Board with the Asian Cricket Maafia (India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka), which was evident when West Indies Board voted against Darrel Hair on Oval issue.

    = Cricket Australia was under threat to be sued by the sponsors, in the event of ODI series being cancelled.

    = As per estimates, Cricket Australia would have lost as much as US$: 60.00 Million if India went back without playing ODIs, and it would have taken CA ten years to cover these losses.

    = Symonds ...... poor guy.

  • Vasudev on January 31, 2008, 10:32 GMT

    Excellent article. I wonder why Kumble does not get more credit for his statesman behaviour. He deserves more accolades

  • Seano on January 31, 2008, 10:29 GMT

    I am amazed how much criticism has been levelled at the players of both sides compared to the Indian board who presumably scheduled this tour. Why did they play only one 3 day warm up game against Victoria? Then the Boxing day test straight after, & they're one nil down. Go straight to Sydney I think after 3 days break, & they can't bat for 2 1/3 sessons to save a game. Say what you will about the umpiring, but I reckon with just one more warm up match before this, then India bat out the day 5 down, & we go to Perth with the series 0-1 instead of 0-2 & effectively over. Further I think the view that one team (whether India or Aus)in this is noble & honest, & the other team is completely in the wrong is naive & inflamatory. Amongst other things,I think ts pretty rich criticising Clarke for not walking when the Indian no. 11 hit the ball to slip at the end in Sydney, & quite rightly hung around for the umpires decision. No one criticised Sharma for this & so he shouldn't be criticised.

  • Krishna on January 31, 2008, 10:29 GMT

    WOW a bipartisan debate!! both sides equally convinced of their innocence and the opponents guilt. One thing lets have a consensus on facts. Tendulkar is the GOLD standard in terms of cricketing gentlemen. His integrity is undoubtable. So no point telling me that he lied. He understands hindi which is similar to punjabi. He was within audible distance, id say closest to the scene as was found out in the court by video evidence. It was Sachin who asked the BCCI to back Harbajan at all costs becuase he was not guilty of racial vilification. Anyone who knows Indian politicians knows that they are irrational and do things without consulting the players. Just because the BCCI sent a plane to Australia putting on a show of withdrawing from the series doesnt mean that the Indian team wholly agrees and would have withdrawn from the series. Besides the plane was there to drop the ODI and T20 players.

  • Priyank on January 31, 2008, 10:28 GMT

    Well said Mukul.

  • justin crawford on January 31, 2008, 10:27 GMT

    all i can say to this article is some good points and some rubbish, 1st i think what harby done was racist he should be banned stamp this racicist crap out ,if this was a an australian who made these remarks he would be turfed out of the game for ever. But the powers that be who are jealous that out of a population nearing 1 billion cant put together a side to beat a country of 20 million, let alone make it into a world cup semi final.i do agree australian players can be a bit heavy on the sledging, and i also so think sub continent players are a bit sensitive to it, they are a bit childish looking for mummy a bit to much. Plus india and the likes have to much to lose when they lose the fans at home take it to seriously lighten up its only a game.cricket used to be a joy to watch it still is if u dont listen to it. proud cricket fan

  • ACJ101 on January 31, 2008, 10:25 GMT

    1. The definitive article on this topic has just been written, but by Justice Hansen not Mr Kesavan. Justice Hansen's efforts were balanced, fact-based and sprinkled liberally with common sense. More than I can say for Mr Kesavan and most entries in support above! Dean's accounts of what actually happened in Sydney are well worth a read, however.

    2. My own view is the Indians have been astonishingly hypocritical. Their behaviour in the series was often appalling, for example: Yuvraj not walking for when given out in Melbourne, Harbajhan's boorish celebration in Sydney, Dinesh Karthik's finger-wagging at the umpire in Adelaide (for a claimed catch that was plainly not out, not that it matters), the whingeing about the umpiring (contrast the silence from the Aussies after Perth), the two threats of boycotts, and the massive dummy-spit after losing in Sydney.

    3. India deserved to lose the series 2-1, and as in 2004, as they did. Let's see what happens in September.

  • ashwin on January 31, 2008, 10:24 GMT

    Good dissection of the whole affair though many Australians won't agree with this. Becuase they have never faced this severe criticism before. It can be seen here many oz readers are unabashedly defending the characters like Ponting, Clarke and Symonds. The more astonishing fact is that they are not ready to accept the mistakes(claiming grounded catches and directing umpires)which were there to see for the whole world during sydney test. And as far as captaincy is concerned Mr.Ponting is not a captaincy material.The captain of a national side should have grace and mature enough to understand the intricacies of internatinal relationships. And their future captain is still worse; he has already shown the whole world that what material he is made of. God save oz cricket!. Don't they have a single graceful and honest player(like gilly) to lead their side?. I think "THE SIDNEY WHINERS" is an apt phrase for Ponting and his men.

  • Divyesh on January 31, 2008, 10:23 GMT

    Well i live in Sydney.. many of my Aussie people feel tht win in Sydney ws improper and they hate Ponting and company. Aussie people r racist thmselves.. I've been treated like shit here because i'm an Indian over here...so they can't talk about racism..and r thy d one to define d defenition of racism..??...how cm monkey is a racist word?? After so many things and Asian people's suffering Indian Board has to show his power so no complaint bout it... Coz Aussie players deserve such kind of power. Then only thy will b down to the earth..

  • K. Radhakrishnan on January 31, 2008, 10:23 GMT

    Kesavan has the same "England-Australian" hangover which the majority of our countrymen have. Though being an expert, even of the 'spectatorial" type, he couldn't see Clarke's "edge" going off the glove. He thus repeats the same arguments that Gavaskar put forward to question Clarke's credibility. And in the same breath he also feels that Harbhajan could well have called Symonds "monkey", but he cannot accept Clarke's statement since the Aussie had not "walked" when he "edged". Kesavan being a historian should also know about the "slew of bad umpiring" decisions that Indian umpires handed out to visting teams in the 60s, 70s, 80s etc. This is no speciality of the Aussies. In any case, we had "neutral" umpires in Sydney. Sitting in Delhi, Kesavan also seems to know more about what had happened in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide with regard to chartered planes etc more than the journalists on the spot. A more balanced view would have been expected from a writer of Kesavan's standing.

  • jaytara on January 31, 2008, 10:19 GMT

    Well written wrap-up of an event that has festered for 4 weeks. Harbhajan does not emerge with any credit and his behaviour is an insult to all Indians, Symonds was obviously put up to the whole thing by his craftier team-mates notably Hulk hayden and Cherub Clarke. But i am afraid our young team is going to cop an awful lot of abuse from Aussie spectators stoked by the free-flowing booze.

  • NATARAJAN TANJORE on January 31, 2008, 10:19 GMT

    The world of sports has generally been unfair when dealing with such incidents. The world cup final, when zidane was provoked by the italian player, zidane butted him with his head,he got pulled out, but the italian player went on to play and later on the italian player admitted to having pulled at zidanes shirt and also speak bad stuff about zidanes sister! Similarly, Symonds admits provoking Harbhajan, and he goes scot free and harbajan gets fined! Where is the fairness? And Mr. Symonds the neanderthal, has the temerity to say that he saw harbhajan pat brett lees back and he wouldnt tolerate such stuff! Since when did he become body guard / moral keeper for Brett Lee? Why isnt the guys who are screaming that mukul wrote a typical subcontinental piece aren't pondering on these issues! Also it is Mr. Symonds take that he was shown the monkey chants while there is no clear concrete evidence to show that the monkey chants were directed at him!

  • S.Padmanabhan on January 31, 2008, 10:17 GMT

    As an Indian I am sad at the on-field behaviour of some of our players. Bhajji's intemperance has sucked the team, BCCI and the country in unwanted controversy. I am relieved at having missed Karthick's unacceptable antics. The latest comments by Dhoni do not inspire much confidence of correct behaviour. We seem to have forgotten Vijay Merchant's motto to PLAY THE GAME.

  • Ravi on January 31, 2008, 10:17 GMT

    1. Harbhajan patted Lee on the back in a friendly manner 2. Symnonds gets offended. ( Why he should be offended is beyond my comprehension ) 3. Harbajan, supposedly, calls symonds a monkey ( Note - No evidence ) 4. Case is referred to ICC All of you can see very well that Symonds was the one who started the spat. Harbhajan was quiet till he was provoked. Why was symonds angry ? because bhajji did not pat his back ? Hansen has rightly reprimanded Symonds. Bhajji should be careful of what he says. Symonds should act gracefully henceforth. If symonds is angry at being heckled by Indians during the recent trip to India, pray, what does he think about his own countrymen who feel that its their birthright to heckle all subcontinent teams ( example -> murali ) You reap what you sow. Australian crowds sowed the seeds of hate and heckling in cricket and now are reaping its "benefits" when their cricketers get it in return.

  • Sheriar on January 31, 2008, 10:16 GMT

    So most people, including Mukul Kesavan, believe that Harbhajan very lilkey called Symonds a monkey. However, you fail to see (because of your obvious agenda) that this means he LIED to the ICC, his team mates, his family and his country! And for that the Indian community rejoices. This is not the community I know or am proud of.

  • Alsch on January 31, 2008, 10:15 GMT

    P - you are an ignorant fool if youc annot see why monkey is racist and the word fuck isn't.

    All this article has done has further highlighted the inability of Indian fans to understand clear logic. OK so the appeal was successful. Why? Your ideas that the BCCI were not behind it are ludicrous. Has anybody ever claimed that Australia do no sledge? No. But there is a difference between sledging and racial abuse, although as scenes from last years ODI series showed, Indian cricket fans are not the ones to be asked to clarify this. Pathetic. The BCCI is slowly destroying cricket. And "J S Clark", you may state that you are an Aussie but your use of SMS words such as 'plz' and 'becoz' and your lack of grammer gives you away.

  • Suresh on January 31, 2008, 10:14 GMT

    Again we see the BCCI exerting their influence! I am ashamed at the behaviour of both the Indian team and the Indian management/board. Both teams have done wrong this series, but India have been embrassing to their country. It is nearly like this whole fracas was set up to excuse losing the series and allow the players to come home as 'winners' even thought they were the second best team in a two team contest. Put blame on Australia to hide the fact the Indian team were good, but not as good. Very media organised by the BCCI once the first test was lost - and sad to see it happen. it will be very interesting to see how the BCCi gets out of the next test series loss. What Bollywood stories will they spin next time? They will eventually run out of excuses why the team has lost a series.

  • Shyam on January 31, 2008, 10:12 GMT

    Mukul, this is one great article to read. Calling spade a spade. Aussies are born sledgers and the whole world knows it. Because they were about to lose the sydney test match, they bribed the umpires to help them and then put 'sledging charge on indians' this was a simple trap setup so that at the end of sydney test match, they didn't want the press to discuss about bribed-umpires but something else and harbajan was this 'something else'.....what a shame indians/bcci fell for this. we should have called the bluff and said sydney match should be declared with india as winners or the match should be null & void. This was the core issue. This was not a case of 'bad-umpiring' this was a case of 'biased-paid-umpiring'. The umpires bucknor & benson should have been fined one year of their annual salary and unceremoniously dismissed from their service.

  • faysaltaj on January 31, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    i think whtever happened..mostly depends on the players attitude on the pitch.In the one-day series in india(australia vs india) lot of players showed wierd reaction over every match in which it was Harbajan also to emotional i guess which heated up things after that especially andrew symonds which he was in good nick against india tht series ..so whenever they clash things always do get heat up so players i think should respect each other for that ..and moreover i think.its natural when one team (Australia) is ruling cricket over 12 years 3 world cups straight is not an easy thing so ofcourse other teams do get fed up so one small victory over aussies ..say like is the end of the era for ausies. i think all players in all team should respect each other. aggression doesnt mean using abusive language this incident is popping too much infact worst happend was between (McGarth and Sarwan)when westdies chased and set world record win in westindies. so players do need some counciling always

  • Sunny on January 31, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    Can Aussies play a game and win without sledging, influencing umpires, taking help from Media - should be the prime question.

  • Reuben on January 31, 2008, 10:10 GMT

    All parties especially the journalists on both sides need to take a step back and let things cool down instead of trying to increase newspaper sales with wild innuendo. One little aside - I was on a holiday last year in Australia with my wife and 10 year old daughter. In every airport - Melbourne, Sidney and Brisbane I was called aside at security for "special attention", this with my 10 year old daughter standing next to me. Finally in Brisbane I lost it and asked the lady frisking me what profile did I meet for a suicide bomber? My wife and daughter with me? Or was it my Asian complexion? She went kind of pale, stuttered something regarding Australians not being racists and then asked me to move on - WITHOUT the additional checks. Aussies for the most part are a decent bunch, but hey quit the holier than the thou attitude. Deep down many of you do and say things which have racial overtones. No excuses for poor behaviour, it reflects on your upbringing and lack of Class.

  • Damo on January 31, 2008, 10:10 GMT

    You're not serious are you. Surely you jest! Had a great laugh reading this fantasy.......please tell me you're not serious.

  • Alsch on January 31, 2008, 10:07 GMT

    P - you are an ignorant fool if youc annot see why monkey is racist and the word fuck isn't.

    All this article has done has further highlighted the inability of Indian fans to understand clear logic. OK so the appeal was successful. Why? Your ideas that the BCCI were not behind it are ludicrous. Has anybody ever claimed that Australia do no sledge? No. But there is a difference between sledging and racial abuse, although as scenes from last years ODI series showed, Indian cricket fans are not the ones to be asked to clarify this. Pathetic. The BCCI is slowly destroying cricket. And "J S Clark", you may state that you are an Aussie but your use of SMS words such as 'plz' and 'becoz' and your lack of grammer gives you away.

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 10:06 GMT

    J S Clark, if you are an Aussie every English teacher you have ever had should be sacked.

  • R Sivasubramaniam on January 31, 2008, 10:03 GMT

    Can someone tell me why the Australians were not fined for their slow over-rate in the Adelaide Test Sivasubramaniam from Singapore

  • Sri on January 31, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    I am indian living in Australia and I have to admit I think our team behaved very badly. Aussies play hard and everyone who comes here knows that, but racism here is a big no-no. And when they see on the tv us at home burning the effigies they think we are crazy. We must concentrate on trying to beat them on the field. They are the best and we are trying to beat them just like everybody. All the rest of this argument is just because we can't beat them.

  • mike on January 31, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    It is amazing how no one has mentioned the bad behavior of the Indian 12th man spitting at Clarke for not walking when he did not hit the ball. (No apology for that...?) No one has mentioned the constant Indian over-appealing in the 3rd test when they were desperate for a wicket and the bowling attack was not good enough. And who was fined for his bad conduct? The Indian "holier that thou" attitude has quite a tinge of the spoiled child throwing a tantrum at the super market when it has not recived its sweets. The Ponting/Bush comparison is also shows your limited grasp of the importance of cricket in the scheme of the world. In prior days Harbajan would have been politely invited behind the sheds to repeat the words and bear the resulting response. Time for India to take a look at its own attitudes and stop rioting when things do not go your own way. Get over yourselves!!!!!

  • crckt_nut on January 31, 2008, 10:01 GMT

    absolutely spot on... the aussies were like George Costanza of sienfeld fame.."if you believe then it is not a lie"...

    Clarke and Gilchrist believed it so much that they thought the lie was the truth...

    yes, I know people will crucify me to using the work lie...Hang on the didn;t hansen say Clarke is an unreliable witness...

    Fact 1: Australian cricket is in deep mess. Fact 2: Clarke can make runs if and only he is given a second chance when the umpire screws up. Fact 3: Australian cricketers are the most arrogant. Fact 4: SMS text's are circulating within rabid australian supporters circle to give the INdian supporters a hard time. Fact 5: Australian cricketers don't know how to play cricket, but know how to sledge opponents.

  • nathan on January 31, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    Dear Carl, If India is not invited to join in the so called new cricket organization, the cricketing world would go bankrupt!

  • jay on January 31, 2008, 9:57 GMT

    The funniest stuff on here are those that write they are Australian, and then either type messages in broken English, or accidentally say we when referring to India. So funny

  • Imran Khan's tiger on January 31, 2008, 9:55 GMT

    for all aussies out there...I believe it was an American General who once magnificently understated that "The trouble with war is that the other person tends to shoot back." ...

  • Peter on January 31, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    To J S Clark: Is that the most Anglo sounding name you could think of? Australians wouldn't refer to Ricky Ponting as "Mr Ponting". Nice try!

  • Sri on January 31, 2008, 9:54 GMT

    I am indian living in Australia and I have to admit I think our team behaved very badly. Aussies play hard and everyone who comes here knows that, but racism here is a big no-no. And when they see on the tv us at home burning the effigies they think we are crazy. We must concentrate on trying to beat them on the field. They are the best and we are trying to beat them just like everybody. All the rest of this argument is just because we can't beat them.

  • Mark on January 31, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    Some of the stuff in this article is ridiculous. You yourself admitted Harbhajan more than likely said these comments. He should be punished to nth degree for comments like that. He should also take it on the chin instead of lying to the world in order to save face.

    If a white man had said this kind of thing, it would not matter whether or not it had been caught on tape. He would have been punished to the maximum possible degree.

    Are we saying that if you are not white, it is alright to racially abuse someone of a different colour. This is an extremely bad impression for any children starting the game to get.

    The issue here is why would Symonds make something like this up. He should have been punished and Indian cricket is ruining the game.

    So a few bad decisions occurred on the pitch. This happens all over the world and you never here test nations complaining apart from a couple. Human error is part of the game and why we love it. Umpires should not be villified for this!

  • Karthik on January 31, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    Mukul, I just have one word for your article - 'Beautiful'!. This si your masterpiece. Very well explained.

  • Imran Khan's tiger on January 31, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    This is probably the best article I have read on this whole sordid mess..and it rings so true...

    The simple fact of the matter is that Aussies are just so SO unloved by every cricket fan outside oz its amazing.... I remember the time when it used to be actually hard to root against the west indians even when they were playing against my own country...such was the love for the type of cricket they played....they were the best and they knew it...they didnt need to act like trailer park trash to prove how tough they were..

    the fact of the matter is that the aussies just cannot handle it when someone...especially the brown man takes the gloves off...why wasnt SYmonds obvious provocation taken into account? what did he say to set off Harbhajan like that....its a two way street this... and Mike proctor should have been fired after the Oval fiasco..master class of how NOT to referee a cricket match! stop crying aussies...

  • SamD on January 31, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    Hey Mukul,

    Where's the contribution I made to this blog over an hour ago? Nothing offensive in it so I'm wondering why it's not up there.

  • Rob on January 31, 2008, 9:50 GMT

    Petulant Sooks.

    We'd all have rathered you went home.

    Every series that India play in is marred in controversy.

    But I'll leave you safe in the knowledge that we beat you once again.

    1 billion people and you still can't find 11 who can knock us off.

    Unlucky.

  • Aryan on January 31, 2008, 9:48 GMT

    A good article which has covered most of the events... I wouldn't blame BCCI completely for threatening to call the trip off...i feel they adapted the same strategy of Ponting's "WIN by hook or by crook". On the funnier side I feel the one who are deeply hurt out of this controversy are the Monkey's

  • Abhimanyu on January 31, 2008, 9:48 GMT

    All I can say is THE you are the BEST !

  • Woppa on January 31, 2008, 9:48 GMT

    The game has changed since 1920-30-40-50-60-70-80-90. It is now full time professional, these are tradesmen we watch. It's the only thing they do. "It's just not cricket" is a relic of the past. Times have changed whether we like it or not. Winning a test series and performing well keeps players in the team, well paid, will stand in the record books. Let's face it. You don't play and perform well and you are dropped from the team. End of income.Time shave changed

  • Siddharth on January 31, 2008, 9:45 GMT

    While Bucknor's removal and the entire Bhajji-Symmo controversy are a sad affair, it can't be denied that Aussie cricketers are little better than a bunch of rowdy hooligans. Their on field behaviour leaves a lot to be desired as expressed by a number of former test players and other Aussie sport personalities. 'Hard but fair' might be ok when you are in a domestic league match but if you are intent on applying the same policy to a bunch of foreigners who may or may not share your views then I feel Aussies lose the right to moan and complain and should be prepared to taste some of their own medicine! And as far as financial clout of Asian lobby goes, I can only mention a phrase that my boss mentioned to me on a bad day at work - "Life is unfair, deal with it or shut up!"

  • Supratik on January 31, 2008, 9:41 GMT

    A perfect piece of writing Mukul. Congrats on how succinctly you have put the issue in a blog. Well on the way of becoming for India what Peter Roebuck is for Australia! Keep the flag flying. One complaint overall though. Please hold your horses (pen) when you are angry, otherwise you will have another post coming on like the one where you had recommended that 'Harbhajan must be sacked'. Harbhajan should not have been sacked even if he had called Symonds a 'monkey'. But i doubt he had even said that. In the heat of the battle, upon being provoked by a non-concerned party - Symonds - A sardar might have said "abey bandar teri..." if so, so what. In any event this is acceptable. Remember Javed doing a monkey jump on our respectable Mr. More in the world cup? These things happen. Australians wanted to take the moral high ground, instead have come a cropper. There integrity is definitely in question, not Sachin or Kumble's. The game will move on as we have had bigger shockers in the past.

  • Siddharth on January 31, 2008, 9:37 GMT

    I think the various comments being put up make for far more interesting reading than the article itself!!

  • LV on January 31, 2008, 9:36 GMT

    Well written Mukul! A very good representation of what really happened. Except for the comparison between Ponting and Bush everything about the incident was well written. Though I personally believe that Bhajji did not use the word monkey. Because if he did, a man of Tendulkar's stature will never come in support of him. Secondly in India the word monkey is not racial. In India we even have "monkey gods". I think he used the word "teri maa-ki" (abusing one's mom). Tendulkar understood it and thats why he defended his mate. Australians didn't understand it and so this is for the OZs. So its sledging and not racial abuse. And so the verdict is correct. Novertheless Ponting's complaint to the match-referee was really applling. He looked like a scool-boy complaining to the head-master. When you sledge, you should be prepared to take some of it. Aussies were getting a taste of their own medicine. But they managed to create a big issue out of it and took the spotlight away from how the won.

  • Amitesh on January 31, 2008, 9:34 GMT

    Mukul, Bravo! Great to see an Indian not mincing his words. I strongly feel that this is much more then just a cricket issue. India and China are the rissing powerhouses and unfortunetly the western world, Australia included are strongly resenting (as expected), the beuty of this world is that everything goes in cycles, and now the time is coming for ASIA to control worldly direction. Its a change the world will need to accept and if the Australian players reaction is a gauge to go by the wester world is not happy, but what is due will happen.

  • Vishal on January 31, 2008, 9:33 GMT

    Cricket Australia Sux. Australian team and fans do not understand a single point that they can't always be on the winning side. Even after dominating test and ODI cricket for a decade, they are not respected because they just wanna do anything to win. Winning is not everything, respect the game and opponents. Australians boast of being mentally tuffer than other international players but they shud have realized after the test series ,they are vulnerable too. Ppl like Gilchrist n Tait quit cricket after a tough series like this one clearly mentions the pressure the whole australian team had through out the series. Sub-continent teams always had poor decisions when they toured Australia, It's not just India but Srilanka and Pakistan as well. Wasim Akram and Arjuna Ranatunga were really happy the way Indian team fought as a unit against ponting's cry baby tactics. Australians should be trained and taught how to play with right spirit and how to respect opponents and how 2 digest a defeat

  • Bhaskar on January 31, 2008, 9:33 GMT

    Brilliant article, will frame it and refer to the contents when we look at 2001, 2008 and the next meeting in Australia in 201X. I am certain there will be a lot of similarity in the brilliance associated with both these series. Cheers mate!

  • Hck on January 31, 2008, 9:27 GMT

    Bottom Line: 'Innocent until proven guilty'. This applies to all!

  • Naresh on January 31, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    Nick: when Lehmann was caught calling Jayasuria a "black c***", he admitted it.

    real brave - and what was the provocation from Jayasurya for it (did he abuse Lehmann)? Oh, but the color of his skin was wrong of course, silly me!

  • SamD on January 31, 2008, 9:21 GMT

    Actually, re-reading this piece one realises that it is not at all the great piece that it first seems. The author has made a few astute observations but like so many others in this overblown debate then succumbs to the usual one-sidedness. Think about it... If you closed your eyes and had someone read this piece to you you'd have no trouble figuring out which side of the Indian Ocean it came from.

    What is needed (for a bit of relief!) is some truly objective and emotion-free analysis. Writers like Mukul just can't seem to help themselves in rising above their baser instincts.

    I mean, is it just me or does it seem as though we could all go on like this forever? Fanning the flames (like Mukul does here, albeit ever so elegantly) of cultural misunderstanding and suspicion?

    Why don't we all stop listening to and reading all these nationalistic generalisations and get on with focusing on the positives.

    Life's too short to keep chewing over the bitterness.

  • Rohan on January 31, 2008, 9:20 GMT

    There’s the story of the rich lady who decided to migrate to Australia. At immigration she was asked “Do you have a criminal record?” “Oh,” she replied “is that still a requirement?”

    Just about sums up the scumbag, hypocrite Aussie cricketers. Bring our boys back home from that lousy country!

  • Doug on January 31, 2008, 9:20 GMT

    You Indians are pathetic only accepting decisions when they favour you. Harbhajan has a history he was found guilty we all new he was guilty - both Tendulkar and Harbhajan denied it all at first only to then say it was punjabi after they had time to get their stories straight PLEASE. Harbhajan only got off because the BCCI blackmailed the ICC and used some pathetic excuses (if the guy was innocent he would have got off scott free) Harbhajan is a proven offender and a proven liar he is a disgrace to cricket. How's the form of the BCCI who had a plane on standby if I were the ICC I would have personally drove the Indian team to the plane and told them in no uncertain terms we won't be dictated to. They denied any racial abuse happened in India as well until footage of bad crowd behaviour surfaced no wonder Indian crowds have to remain behind cages. The BCCI are bullies and the world has no respect someone should tell the Indians bullying is unnacceptable behaviour just like racism.

  • dave on January 31, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    Dear Mukhul, Dissapointing would be an understatement for that article. Not only IS IT COMPLETLEY biased and quiet profoundly arrogant and offensive but it was wrong as well. Your media and your cricket officicals are fast turning the game into one that i and most of my cricket fans do not want to be part of. i love India and do a lot of work there and you should be very careful that this sort of article and carry on does not effect what should be a great sporting rivalry. Your team has been treated so far by the Australian public with great respect, you should no that if this continual biased and inflamitory writing continues then this will not last and the damage to cricket and further relations between the two countries could become severe. Both parties are at fault art this and this sort of character assasination is not fair or warranted - particularly your childish and quiet pathetic referrences to Ponting, grow up!!Very dissapointed in your journalism Indian replies to this blog

  • Supratik on January 31, 2008, 9:19 GMT

    A perfect piece of writing Mukul. Congrats on how succinctly you have put the issue in a blog. Well on the way of becoming for India what Peter Roebuck is for Australia! Keep the flag flying. One complaint overall though. Please hold your horses (pen) when you are angry, otherwise you will have another post coming on like the one where you had recommended that 'Harbhajan must be sacked'. Harbhajan should not have been sacked even if he had called Symonds a 'monkey'. But i doubt he had even said that. In the heat of the battle, upon being provoked by a non-concerned party - Symonds - A sardar might have said "abey bandar teri..." if so, so what. In any event this is acceptable. Remember Javed doing a monkey jump on our respectable Mr. More in the world cup? These things happen. Australians wanted to take the moral high ground, instead have come a cropper. There integrity is definitely in question, not Sachin or Kumble's. The game will move on as we have had bigger shockers in the past

  • satish on January 31, 2008, 9:18 GMT

    Excellent Column Mukul..

  • Haydos1 on January 31, 2008, 9:18 GMT

    Yet more tripe from Mukul. What a complete joke. Exactly what about this article is unbias and balanced. It amuses me to see Indians Whinge yet again about the Australian media when their own media is just as if not more guilty of rediculous bias. Indian players on numerous times in the past year been guilty more than once of everything the Indians despise about the Aussies. Even Tendulkar did not walk when caught behind in the one dayers in October. Why is it that every series India plays there are problems. eg England, South Africa, Australia. Could it be that they are a pack of Whingers who only see one side of the story. Utter pathetic journalism on Mukuls behalf, but that is nothing new. Why is it that the umpires only make errors against the Indians. Could it be that they don't, The other nations just don't whinge like Indians. If they only had a competant team we wouldn't be in this mess. Reserve graders could see out two overs against part time bowlers

  • David on January 31, 2008, 9:14 GMT

    To sum up this long blog: Australian cricketers are liars and cheats. Independant umpires are liars and cheats and biased against India.

    Which pretty much covers the world view of your average Indian cricket fan - tilted by the massive chip on their shoulders. The only addition from reading comments by readers is the further viewpoint that having money is reason to distort justice and manipulate the law.

    Now for an interesting fact: Of the four players in the current Indian Test side that hold or have held the captaincy, Anil Kumble is the only one that hasn't been convicted of a cheating offence in the role.

    I'm sick of these passive-aggressives who distort truth. The fabric of the game is most protected and respected by the Australian side - long may they rule o'er the ladders of the game.

    Bring on the typically doctored pitches in the return series later this year.

  • raghu seshan on January 31, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    Mukulji, why whine like the Indians. Ask both the teams to shut their mouths and play cricket, we are paying for everything that is being done in the ground. Neither of the teams have the rights to do what they have done now. This is a huge thamasha. We are made fools and good money wasted is definitely fueling to the fire. Yup Indian do have the habit of leaving people in the lurch, this is due to Politic involvement, is thi shapening to Hockey? Everything about Oz tour has been bad, right from the departure. Why single out and waste time. CA & BCCI should be more mature, now the game has ceased its importance, it is money which is playing in the grounds. Power of shots is calculated with the power of money. The game is being dumped, soon it will vanish. I am happy we still have chances of seeing good games like Tennis etc., In no time viewers will dump cricket, this is now turning out to be like one of the soap operas. How bolly or hollywoodish and cinematic thriller.

  • Paul on January 31, 2008, 9:12 GMT

    I am interested that in puerile and disgraceful aftermath of the Sydney test no Indian selectors were burned in effigy. They are the ones who didnt pick Sehwag and subsequently cost India the match.

  • P on January 31, 2008, 9:10 GMT

    Can somebody tell me what punishment is given to Symond for it was he who started and provoked the whole incident? How come four letter word "Fuck" as used by Symond is not offensive at all and word monkey is? Judge Hansen has ruled that monkey is not racially abusive word and it was Symond who started the unprovoked conversation. Then how come it is claimed by Australian media that Harbajan got off lightly? It is Symond and Brad who got off Scot free though they are the repeat offenders.

    Why India withdrew its complaint against Brad Hogg for calling Kumble a Bastard? Why he is not banned for racial abuse? Probably he is belongs to elite class who are untouchable and they can get away with murder?They are protected by their mates in ICC like Malcolm Speed. India withdrew charges to restore harmony but did Australian responded to that kindness? Off course not because fairplay and dignified behavior is not in the vocabulary of Aussie’s?

  • J S Clark on January 31, 2008, 9:10 GMT

    The most impartial article on the recent contorversy. Though i m an Australian, but i still believe that Australian control over cricketting world becoz of their capability is definitely diminishing.

    I think Australia has lost this series 1-2. This thing even Ponting knows form the core of his heart (after appealing for grounded catches).

    This aspect i think he should amicably accept. He should openely come out that without sledging he and his team can not defeat this well balanced Indian Team.

    I think to accept one's weakness is the first step in taking corrective actions to overcome it.

    So Mr. Ponting plz declare that in fact you have lost test series 1-2 and that is why i had no other alternative but to resort to such dirty tactics. Mr. Ponting try to concentrate in your batting more otherwise you can not surpass the great Tendulkar ( which i wish you do it).

  • loki on January 31, 2008, 9:10 GMT

    great article makul. i see a lot of australians replying negatively for this article. Its time they wake up & change their one dimensional thinking. To help them out, they should remember the way former & current australian palyers have been conducting themselves on the field for past so many years. Their behaviour has been nothing but ridiculous. Its time the australian players learn from their indian counterparts about how to play the game hard & remain within the spirit of the game.

  • dwblurb on January 31, 2008, 9:07 GMT

    Dave, to add to your comment

    "Maybe if the Australians want to be loved like the West Indies they should charge the umpire like Colin Croft or kick down the stumps like Michael holding or throw a brick into the crowd like Sylvester Clarke"

    Perhaps they should charge at an umpire and intimidate him until he changes his decision like the great Sir Vivian Richards? Ah yes, those West Indians, so well loved. Makes you wonder if the people making these comments were even around in the 1980s.

    To Amit, who wrote"haha this whole issue is nothing else but ricky ponting's valiant effort to push the limelight to bhajji instead of his failure in the series and Australia's not being able to secure 18 consecutive wins. No body is talking about how Australia's batting failed or they are no more the champions" You are joking, aren't you? Have you forgotten who won this series? Have you forgotten who is ranked No.1? Have you forgotten India haven't beaten Australia since 2001? Grow up.

  • Naresh on January 31, 2008, 9:06 GMT

    Apparently Ponting is "furious" - what crap.

    He should be happy Symonds got away with just a censure from Hansen. Its actually this precious kid Symonds that should have got a fine for starting a needless fracas.

  • Dario-Sydney on January 31, 2008, 9:06 GMT

    LOL@ the aussies here on this blog. I live here in Sydney and sadly most Aussies are a condescending, isolated bunch. This is their worst nighmare come true. The coloured man having some power and actually using it. The Indians and other sub-continent nations have endured alot-the colonial powers in their arrogance never imagined the wheels of power would shift to the East and now they are shellshocked and helpless.

    I say this-get used to it. Money talks-BS walks. If the Aussie players are such moral beacons tell them to sever all ties to Indian money-simple. This is a brilliant article Mukul-it covers the historical and social aspect to cricket which is paramount and always seems to be lost on western minds (or maybe they are just in denial).

  • Shaz on January 31, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    I don't like the way my team are behaving i think the bcci have did a bad thing with the hole bhaji thing. I was ashamed when team India said we are going to go home if bhaji is not let off that was very wrong. I hope bhaji shuts up in the games he gets in to much troble, my friends say we get bad name now with team India.

  • Mandela on January 31, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    Very well written. Whatever the motivations, finally the BCCI did a favor to world cricket as well as racial equality. The point of the whole sledging concept was always Australians systematically abusing other teams, especially asian teams. And that is not an accident but a pattern. Not only among Australian players, but cricket officials including CA and umpires (the best example being now disgraced and exposed Darel Hair). I would go even a bit further and conjecture this: It is not an accident that lots of umpiring mis-decisions that happen in Australia go against the visitng team. It is a pattern and it is done by Australian umpires because they are utterly unprofessional, arrogant and self-centered, while visitng umpires do that becuase they are intimidated by Australian aggressiveness on one hand and misled by the need to somehow fit-into "Australian way" by believing ugly Australian sportsmanship is the correct way.

  • Karthik on January 31, 2008, 9:03 GMT

    If aussies find "monkey" racist and prefer to be politically correct, they should stop using phrases such as "you're such an ass", "Bugger off!", "Ol' bastard" and others of a similar vein, in daily life.

    I wonder if calling McGrath "Pigeon" is also tantamount to racism.

    To the monkey (sic) who is alluding to the Lehmann incident, there was substantial evidence there. There is no evidence here that shows that Harbhajan used the word "monkey". It has also be shown by the Hansen report that Sachin was well within earshot and has stated that Harbhajan said something along the lines of "Teri maa ki" (a hindi idiom translated to "Your mother's ..." - something which is highly offensive in India and doesn't seem to have been picked up ) which would very likely have been misheard as "monkey" by an unfamiliar and ... sensitive ear.

    In other words, while there is definitely an issue of vulgarity here, the entire structure of Australia's racism complaint has been built on a shaky foundation.

  • Parhiv on January 31, 2008, 9:03 GMT

    No surprise that the king of hypocrisy should post another lot of bilge that does nothing more than highlight the stupidity of the average Indian cricket supporter, a fact borne out by the majority of the subsequent comments.

  • Sunny on January 31, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    Can Aussies play a game and win without sledging, influencing umpires, taking help from Media - should be the prime question.

  • xsupratim on January 31, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    RE: Nick - How do you know Bhajji lied and Sachin lied???? Were you there on the pitch. Even the great Symonds and Hayden admit that Bhajji *might* have said it .... what you said was libel.

    Isn't this the great Aussie dictum: "what happens on the field, stays on the field". So, how is it that Ponting and Co went crying to the umpires - couldn't they take the heat when it was their turn?

    And, given that Ponting had been Bhajji's bunny through the series, and given that Mike "Racist" Proctor relied on one set of hearsay and not another, it sure looked like a conspiracy to us Indians .... to get Bhajji out of the series.

    So, we sent the marines in .... tough luck, cry baby aussies.

  • Sammy on January 31, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    Hear the Auatralian Bias for thier team. When Lehman called the SriLankans Black C**** no one objected When The Great GlenMcgrath called Sanath Jayasurya a Black Monkey no one objected Since when is being called a bastard better than being called a Monkey (if called) --wake up After all this bullshit yet the great Aussie players will make a beeline for the ICL tournament in India-- where self respect -- sell your soul Where were you when GlenMcgrath abused batsman who had the skill to hit him for a four or two in his overs Where are you when the Aussie sledge from the corner of their mouths to escape punishment where are you all when all Australian bowlers intimidate refrees with chorused appeals even when they know the batsman is not out Most importantly ask any cricket Fan in the world who sledges and abuses the most-- IT IS THE UGLY AUSSIE WHO HATES TO LOOSE!!!

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 9:00 GMT

    Dave, to add to your comment

    "Maybe if the Australians want to be loved like the West Indies they should charge the umpire like Colin Croft or kick down the stumps like Michael holding or throw a brick into the crowd like Sylvester Clarke"

    Perhaps they should charge at an umpire and intimidate him until he changes his decision like the great Sir Vivian Richards? Ah yes, those West Indians, so well loved. Makes you wonder if the people making these comments were even around in the 1980s.

    To Amit, who wrote"haha this whole issue is nothing else but ricky ponting's valiant effort to push the limelight to bhajji instead of his failure in the series and Australia's not being able to secure 18 consecutive wins. No body is talking about how Australia's batting failed or they are no more the champions" You are joking, aren't you? Have you forgotten who won this series? Have you forgotten who is ranked No.1? Have you forgotten India haven't beaten Australia since 2001? Grow up.

  • Deepak on January 31, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    We cannot forget that the Australian cricket side is still number one in the world. WE have to work harder at our game to match this supurb team.

  • Rajeev on January 31, 2008, 8:58 GMT

    Why would a friendly pat on the back for Lee from Harbhajan offend Symonds? Is he that possessive about Lee? Probably Harbhajan should have asked Symonds about the nature of his relationship with Lee on the field. No wonder they call each other 'mates'.

  • Changeofguard on January 31, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    This was the most insightful article on this subject. Others have not bothered to look below the surface of all the rumblings.

  • A.V.Ravindranath on January 31, 2008, 8:57 GMT

    1.Umpires and match refrees have been instructed by the ICC to be tough on sub continental players. 2.Bullying of sub continental players by the Australias is a racist act. 3.Now that it has been established that Symonds started it all,and was abusive,why was he not punished? 4.Proctor was forced to give a guilty verdict by the ICC,especially after he went 'soft'on Yuvraj. 5.If Tendulkar/Kumble had not put their foot down,and the BCCI had not threatened to pull out,CA and ICC would not have reconsidered. 6.As Ajay Jadeja said on TV,Kumble was naive to enter into an agreement with Ponting,as the Aussies cannot be trusted on the cricket field. 7.Aussies are terrible losers.This particular problem started when India began a fight back. 8.Who went crying to the Umpires? 9.Of course,this ia a very Indian point of view. 10.The fact that Indian think like this should make the Arrogant Aussies introspect.

  • Shrinivasan on January 31, 2008, 8:56 GMT

    I fail to understand why are Australian players and media crying foul over BCCI flexing its financial muscle power. Do they forget that USA flexes its muscle power by attacking Afghanistan, Iraq and possibly Iran (any day) and no one including Australians stands up and tells them ‘Hey George Bush, you are flexing your muscle power. Instead Australians support all the actions taken by George Bush’. So what is wrong in BCCI flexing its financial muscle power if they can accept George Bush why not BCCI. It is necessary that Australians are reminded that Power House has shifted and they should accept it rather than complain. They also need to be reminded that if Australians sledge it is ‘mental disintegration’ but if any one else does it is ‘racial abuse’. If they have dished out rubbish all these years then they should be ready to accept it for some time and that too gracefully. Ponting needs to be reminded that even on honesty Australians have two different yard stick.

  • Decorum on January 31, 2008, 8:56 GMT

    Casting the petulant actions of spoiled and pampered kids as being somehow symbolic of a great battle of forces is going a bit far. The Aussie cricketers are spoiled through too long a period of success - they now consider it their birthright. The Indians are equally spoiled through their godlike status in India and through the power their BCCI wields - a power that has just been reinforced by this whole fiasco. India should be ashamed at the treatment of Bucknor, the repeated threats to cancel the tour unless a judicial decision went their way (i.e. independent of the truth, should it be found the other way) and of harbouring a hothead who can't stop himself from racial slurs (twice.) Australia has nothing new to be ashamed about - but they have the ongoing shame of what their attitude over the years has done to world cricket.

  • Mohit Suryawanshi on January 31, 2008, 8:55 GMT

    Very nicely put. I hope that from now on the umpiring is much better. I cannot understand those who are against technology. The MSN Radio team kept saying that if you take out subjective decisions, we might as well have robots. I ask, why not? Definitely we do NOT go to cricket matches to watch umpires- we want to watch the cricket. I hope our cricket team keeps its focus and makes sure we thrash the Aussies in all the tests when they go to India. Frankly, man to man our team is far superior to this Aussie team- we should be more ruthless. We won a few series 1-0 when we could have won 2-0 or even 3-0 like in the West Indies. Kumble is a great statesman and a fine human being, but on the field I don't think he's aggressive in his captaincy. Also, he is not an automatic choice in the side. I wish the selectots choose spinners who beat batters in the air-I really am sorry for Murali Kartik. He's the best spinner in India. Lastly, ignore all the Aussie losers who email all their rubbish!

  • cricketer on January 31, 2008, 8:54 GMT

    Well written.I am at a loss to understand why nobody is asking for symonds suspension if the incident was started by him.Judge Hansen was proudly stating Symonds called Harbajan F*** and he was only responding. Symonds is the real culprit & everyone is looking to book Bhaji.

  • Jade Courtney on January 31, 2008, 8:54 GMT

    This is addressed to Mukul Kesavan or others that care to read this.Let's just use facts here not some George Bush symmetry.Besides,while we're discussing analogies,I looked up some images of Mukul Kesavanand and well,people in glass houses.... 1. The dust had not even settled on the 2nd test before India demanded that Bucknor be dropped. Bucknor was dropped. 2. The Indian team demanded that Harbhajan's case be delayed till after the series when typically an appeal to a decision is usually 7 days. As we all know it was yesterday when this took place some 3 weeks after. 3.The Indian team officials were quoted on Jan 8 as "the tour will continue for the present". And? 4.The judge you're back slapping?Quoted as saying he'd enforce a more severe penalty had he known Harbhajan's previous infringemnets. India can't hold the game to ransom.We should have let India go.At the end of the day,India might control the game off the field but Australia will always control the game on the field

  • Sharan on January 31, 2008, 8:53 GMT

    Spot on, Mukul! Symmetry is the prevailing characteristic of nature; if the Northern Hemisphere has the Ugly American, then the Southern Hemisphere has the Ugly Australian. What else can one expect from the dregs of the erstwhile British empire?

    The tragedy of Australian cricket over the last 25 years or so is that it has had to stoop to sledging and depend on dubious umpiring to win matches. And now Mr Ponting justifies that attitude by labelling it as 'professionalism'. In doing so, he seems to acknowledge that Australia wouldn't be able to continue winning if its cricketers were to play like gentlemen. Let us be charitable and accept that gentlemanliness is too high a standard for such Australian cricketers to achieve. Perhaps his followers should abandon cricket and take up professional wrestling ...

    If Australia were to have the guts to leave the ICC and start its own 'Coalition of the Willing', it would be interesting to see which other country would follow. The USA, perhaps?

  • Naresh on January 31, 2008, 8:52 GMT

    From Steven: Heres a quick lesson "Its a bat not a fishing rod" = sledging.

    Desar Steven - I am sure Symonds was not talking of fishing rods, but Harbhajan's sexual propensity.

    Imagine if an Australian bowler celebrated like Singh did when he got Ponting out!!

    Dear Steven: We also remember how Monty celebrated when he got Sachin - we did not complain. It only clearly showed how much Sachin's wicket means to Monty (or anyone for that matter).

    So stop complaining "mate".

  • dwblurb on January 31, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    I normally enjoy Mukul's articles, but his likening of Ricky Ponmting to George Bush is as vile a piece of journalism as I have read in a while, and there has been plenty of competition recently.

    The actions of the BCCI, in threating to take their team home unless they get what the want, have been reprehensible, but not surprising comsidering the amateur, ramshakle way that organisation is structured. Nothing seems to have changed since the last walk-out threat in South Africa in 2001. Power doesn't yet equal responsibility or leadership in the BCCI's case.

    As for the general level of whining by Indian supporters about the behaviour of the Australian team, I'm afraid that looks like sour grapes when the same level of criticism is not directed against Karthik and Dhoni for their absurd appeals and complaints against Clarke for caught bat/pad at Adelaide (which was not even close), against Dhoni's half-volley appeal against Pietersen in England, etc.

  • Gary on January 31, 2008, 8:50 GMT

    The trouble with the Indians is that they are a treated like gods in their own country therefore they act like spoilt brats, the BCCI are thugs who now rule cricket all because of the mighty $$. Sad sorry state cricket is in when the Indians can get everything they want just by threatening to take their bat and ball and go home. I call that great sportsmanship, the way they went on trying to blame everyone and everything on their Sydney Test loss was a bad case of sour grapes sure Bucknor made a couple of errors but c'mon Tendulkar and Laxman were out plum LBW early in their innings and both made centuries, and who loses 3 wickets in 5 balls to a part time bowler with only minutes remaining and lost an unlosable match because of poor cricket not poor umpiring. India can't pick and chose when to whinge and complain, when the decisions go their way not a word said, the problem with Indian is they need to learn the umpires make the decisions and they have to accept it right or wrong.

  • Rajesh on January 31, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    As an Indian-Australian i am ashamed of the actions of the Indian team and it's defensive attitude of serial offender harbajhan.We as indians can't take the high moral ground after the behaviour of our crowds on the recent australian tour.....Mumbai was a disgrace.We see ourselves as having a WELCOMING culture but a whole crowd chanting"Aussies Suck"made me ashamed to be Indian.

  • Sid on January 31, 2008, 8:46 GMT

    One of the better articles I've read in the past couple of days as opposed to the biased BS thrown at us by Roebuck and his ilk!

    What everyone seems to be missing here is what Bhajji actually said as opposed to what the Aussies claim he said. According to the judge's report, all he said was 'Teri Maa Ki' ..... a very common profanity in Punjab (the state that Bhajji hails from .....abt. 2 in a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being very offensive).

    Now, in the heat of the battle, Symonds could have easily misinterpreted that as 'monkey'. Add the element of a non-local (to Symonds atleast) accent to the mix, and the probability that Symonds misheard Bhajji increases significantly!!!

    One last point. Symonds claims that the reason he went up to Bhajji in the first place is because he patted Brett Lee on the back! Fine...however stupid it may sound...no touching...point taken. Then, what about Brett Lee tapping Sachin on his helmet later in the tour?!? Aussies gotta practice what they preach!!

  • Fergus on January 31, 2008, 8:46 GMT

    When Sangakkara was wrongly given out in Hobart last year, he walked without complaint. There were certainly no requests to remove the match's Test status because of a few bad decisions which MIGHT have changed the game. And had one of them been reported, the humble Sri Lankans certainly would not have threatened to boycott the one-day series. There is a proper example of how an increasingly powerful subcontinental team should conduct itself - rather than crying racism and doing ANYTHING to get their own way.

  • Chris on January 31, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    I'd hardly call this article balanced - basically it says the Australians are liars and cheats. It’s given "Aussie haters" another forum to vent. I wonder if people would be so critical of the Australians if they weren't winning. I'm disappointed that cricinfo permits such poor journalism. If this is the future of cricket and cricket journalism I'll be watching other sports.

  • Mojha on January 31, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    Its funny how the same people who were telling us that umpires and referess decisions are final and should be respected are now going on about how Harbhajan should have been punished. The downgrading of charge was at the instance of the australian team lawyer who felt that a level 3 charge could not be sustained due to lack of evidence. It had nothing to do with the flying saucer waiting at the Melbourne airport.

  • Harry the Indian on January 31, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    It is amazing to see how our Aussie friends here take their players' word for some kind of a gospel truth. Aussie after Aussie is accusing Bhajji of lying and Sachin of supporting a liar. My friends, you ought to remember the men who accused him: Symonds, Ponting, Clarke and Hayden: none of them are exactly saints. That is why the accusation stood a snowball's chance in hell of making it. You saw the results, didn't you? And those crying that it was the BCCI's money power that did the trick: it is just a case of sour grapes.

  • Prabhakar on January 31, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    What a great piece man. I am overawed by your literary skill and analysis. Wish I could write like this. Simply the best analysis of the lot. I have to bookmark it for my life. Coming back to the incident, though as an India, you have got valid points to prove the growing change in world cricker, a few remarks like comparison of Bush and Ponting, his spitting on the palms were over the top. Nevertheless your mentioning of solidarity of Indian team, read Tendulkar and senior co. was top class. You hit the nail on its head. Give this peace to Messrs Roebuck, Craddock etc. Finally, I hope India does well in the coming one-dayers, because perrformance is what matters at the end of day.

  • Hari #2 on January 31, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    Poor form Mukul, and all those who think this is an excellent piece. Some valid points which we already knew, but the ridiculous comparison of Ponting to George Bush and the general character assassination of the Australian captain (what does his onfield habits such as spitting on his hands have to do with anything?) shows where your biases lie. Please Mukul, as an Indian I'm begging you to stop dwelling on this issue and swallow your pride and move on. I have and the real supporters have. You and your effigy burning companions need to get your thinking into the 21st century and not along the lines of an Anglo/Asian division which seems etched in your minds.

  • Carlton Isaaks on January 31, 2008, 8:44 GMT

    Spot on Mukul ! I wish some Australian journalists would learn from this.

  • Goz on January 31, 2008, 8:43 GMT

    The biggest load of dribble I have read in a while, have a look at H.Singh refusing to walk after being clean bowled in a ODI recently against England and MS Dhoni claiming a catch off Pieterson in the recent test series in England. The fact is Australia are #1, India were outclasses again and to be perfectly honest most Australians would rather go back to the good old days when India didn't tour here for eight years. Bring on the Ashes...

  • Erajh Gunaratne on January 31, 2008, 8:39 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan watching this series between India and Australia, I am appalled by the conduct of both sides. Australia, have been sledging and racially abusing other teams for several decades, eg. when Arjuna walked out, he was called far worse things than "monkey" by the Australian players. It seems when the Aussies get it back, they cant cope with it. It is sad that one of the very few gallant sportsman, Adam Gilchrist is retiring, he is a great example of what Cricket is about, All Australian and other criket players should take a leaf from his book. The Indians have no right no to ask for umpire Bucknor to be removed. Yes he had a bad game, but so do so many others. It is sad that the "whiteness" of one team and "financial reigns" of another team seem to shape the current series.

  • Fredda on January 31, 2008, 8:39 GMT

    Ummm .... so no one finds Harbijan telling Symonds that he has sexual intercourse with his mother far worse than Monkey or Bastard ? What a strange, lopsided world we live in ...

  • Chris on January 31, 2008, 8:38 GMT

    One other point is the timing of Symonds' provocation. Till then the series had been well played (according to ponting himself), mainly because Indians were struggling to put a fight. The first signs of Indian resistance start, Symonds cannot tolerate that, he starts provoking Harbhajan. Isnt this proof enough that that the australians will do anything to win and that they are poor losers ?

    Symonds, may be, thought that if he provokes, Harbhajan would get pissed off and get out (just like in Lagaan :-)). Harbhajan gave it back and Symonds started weeping like a ummm,...well, baby :-).

  • Shubhankar on January 31, 2008, 8:38 GMT

    I guess the problem here is actually the ICC's relucatnce in framing clear cut guidelines on code of conduct. The tendency has always been to allow culture specific bad behavior in the name of bravado on the field. It just doesn't make sense why Andrew Symonds should think he has the right to question Harbhajan on why he can't pat Lee on his back when Lee and the Umpire never had any issues with it. If it really was offensive, Lee would have been the first to protest. This entire thing about mateship on the field and 'standing up for your teammate' is total crap and makes things ambiguous from a code of conduct point of view. In the game of football, South Americans are known to consider 'diving' and 'faking injuries' to earn freekicks as a done thing and something to be proud of. However in the international stage they get reprimanded for such behavior and I have neever seen them protesting against that. In the same lines, sledging should be stopped, even if it's ok to the Australians

  • ARROW on January 31, 2008, 8:36 GMT

    I think we should see the big picture in what India did. 1. Everyone (even most of the Australians) agree that Australian way of sledging ('mental disintigration' my foot) is a desease and world cricket needs to be cleansed of it. 2. What India has done is to send a strong message that Australian hegemony needs to end. 3. While I don't completely agree with the means, perhaps ends satisfy the means. Just see the change in Australian Cricket Team's behaviour on the field between the first two tests and the next two tests! Personally I believe Ponting is immature and igoistic. He has over the past shown utter disrespect for a lot of Cricket personalities (remember the incident in World Cup Finals Awards Ceremony?). I sense many cricket fans all over the world have similar feelings.

  • Kaz on January 31, 2008, 8:36 GMT

    Harbhajan's guilty an idiot can see that(an innoncent man would have been aquitted)he was lucky that the ICC stuffed up and didn't have the previous offences. The Indians behaviour since Sydney has been appalling the BCCI has held the ICC to ransom with their threats and every single demand was met. Poor Steve Bucknor who made 2 mistakes only Symonds and Dravid (you can cry all you like about claimed catches) as both Pontings and Clarkes were both catches, Karticks pathetic claim of a catch in Adelaide was another story yet he carried on like a dickhead and even SPAT at Michael Clarke, what was the suspicious object Laxman put into his pocket in Perth? funnily enough the ball swung alot for the Indians. The Indians are hypocrits to accuse any nation of cheating (they should look in their own backyard) it's not the fault of the opposing team when umpires make mistakes. Harbhajan is a disgrace to India Tendulkar has lost respect over this and the BCCI are now known as dictators.

  • fando on January 31, 2008, 8:34 GMT

    It really doesn't matter what Harbajan said or didn't say. I've long been embarrassed by Australia's antics on the field, but I'm shocked to see so few Indians on feedback columns like this showing a similar reaction to the antics of Harbajan, Kumble, as leader of the squad which threatened to cancel the tour (twice) if things didn't go the way they wanted, and the BCCI, who backed up harbajan and his captain, who thought they were bigger than they game and didn't have to abide by the process that the BCCI itself had a hand in creating. I don't really feel sorry for the Australians; they deserve to get one back in the face more often than they do. What I do feel sorry about is that the BCCI seems to naively believe that it's players are incapable of wrongdoing (just as they embarrassingly claimed that Indian crowds were not chanting 'monkey'), and will make a decision from afar that it will flaunt justice and use it's financial might to bully other cricket associations into submission.

  • dr sanjeev jain on January 31, 2008, 8:33 GMT

    mukul brilliant work.factually very correct& to the point. I am a indian fan but not awild eyed one.all the anglo journalists are describing the judgement as bcci's bullyishness but forget that judge hansen said that if a player pats a player from the opposite team for good show and his teammate in this case symonds, objects to it and waggs his tounge, needs to be reprimanded and if not done future of cricket is dark. KUDOS to you for writing such an article

  • skitto on January 31, 2008, 8:32 GMT

    So brinksmanship is okay? So when Kumble agreed that any allegations of racism were to be reported to the umpires so they could deal with it, he was wrong? So the evidence of two people outweighs the evidence of 4 people? So it is legitimate to say "we want an independent umpire, but if WE think he gets it wrong then WE will take our bat and ball and go home?" You think it is acceptable to racially abuse a player? You really think this is good for cricket? Either the rules apply to everyone, or they don't exist. The only people trying to "eyeball" their opponents were the Indians. Ponting was doing exactly what Kumble had agreed that he would do if he was in that situation.

    Just imagine if it was the other way round, and Symonds called Harbijan a monkey, and three other Indian players said he did, and Gilly said he didn't. If Australia was to follow the Indian lead, would that be good for cricket? I can't believe I'm reading this kind of shrill nationalism on a global blog.

  • Aggrieved Monkey on January 31, 2008, 8:31 GMT

    Justice Hansen has left the case unfinished. He has not clarified whether monkey is a racist word under any circumstances. Monkies are going to the apex court for calling them Andrew Symonds.

  • Tom on January 31, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    A more parochial article has rarely been written. If the Indians feel that the Australian/English power of the past was unfair, why do they emulate it? The worst I have heard about the time the Aussie/Pom had power was of blinkered and patronizing 'for the good of the game' manner. Not good, but immeasurably better than the despicably self-interested approach of the BCCI. And how about Tendulkar. Apparently in the hearing with Proctor he didn't hear anything, and the first I heard of the teri maki was as a suggestion by a lawyer days after the initial hearing. Now Tendulkar's story changes and he heard Harbhajan say 'teri maki', while even this one-eyed 'journalist' accepts that Harbhajan most likely said monkey. Combine this with the reported text message that inflamed the whole affair and his saintly image has to take one hell of a hit.

  • SamD on January 31, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    Mukul, this could have been a great piece of writing if you had only resisted the temptation to get carried away by the silly comparison of Ponting to Bush in Iraq (I mean come on... if you are going for a 'reasonable' argument that's a bit non-helpful...) and by slandering Clarke's character. Would you now say the same of Ganguly for his failure to leave the crease after clearly edging behind?

    All in all not a bad effort though, if only we could all just put our nationalistic vision to one side for a while. Who knows, we might even learn to respect our obvious differences.

  • Jade Courtney on January 31, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    This is addressed to Mukul Kesavan or others that care to read this.Let's just use facts here not some George Bush symmetry.Besides,while we're discussing analogies,I looked up some images of Mukul Kesavanand and well,people in glass houses.... 1. The dust had not even settled on the 2nd test before India demanded that Bucknor be dropped. Bucknor was dropped. 2. The Indian team demanded that Harbhajan's case be delayed till after the series when typically an appeal to a decision is usually 7 days. As we all know it was yesterday when this took place some 3 weeks after. 3.The Indian team officials were quoted on Jan 8 as "the tour will continue for the present". And? 4.The judge you're back slapping?Quoted as saying he'd enforce a more severe penalty had he known Harbhajan's previous infringemnets. India can't hold the game to ransom.We should have let India go.At the end of the day,India might control the game off the field but Australia will always control the game on the field

  • Tom on January 31, 2008, 8:29 GMT

    It seems popular to slam the Australians for the way they play the game. The thing is that much of this seems to be baseless, and some of it culturally based. For example I found Sharma's blatant time wasting in the Sydney test a much worse example of a 'professional foul' than a bit of sledging, but I accept an Indian may feel differently. In any case, the records show, the Aussies over the last few years have been reported for their behavior less than any other country. What's more spend 5 minutes on YouTube and you'll find numerous examples crimes against cricket NOT committed by Aussies. The Aussies admit to a hard-nosed approach, and are more skilled at approaching the line, but they rarely cross it. Most importantly when the do cross it, they cop their punishment with diplomatic good grace. What's more CA wouldn't accept anything less. They certainly wouldn't try to influence the outcome of a hearing, even in the days when they had a bit more power.

  • jase on January 31, 2008, 8:28 GMT

    And as for having a go at Australian's as people, what absolute rot. Sure we have some idiots amongst us (believe me, they live next door to me), but you do also, as evidenced by the Mumbai racism in the crowd with the mankey banners, and the seemingly endless burning of effigies and threats of violence against umpires and cricket players. Is this not boorish and uncivilised behaviour. I just wish once, just once, all fans would look at these players as human, with human strengths and frailties, not based on who they play for, but based on the fact we are all flawed. If the media hadn't been around this would have all blown over in two days and the brushfire would not have taken hold. Ponting I feel sorriest for, he is bearing the brunt of everything for playing hard, and for lacking polish. He was brought up working class, and in the working class, there are no airs and graces. It makes him a great combatant, but not a great statesman. He does not deserve the vitriol for any of this

  • ChiefSittingBull on January 31, 2008, 8:28 GMT

    America rules baseball. India rules cricket. End of story.

  • Kangaloo on January 31, 2008, 8:26 GMT

    Does 'hard but fair' also mean bowing under arm when the opposition requires six off the last ball? Come on Australia, your cricket may be slick but your cricketers are slimy. Get rid of the latter and lets have more of the former.

  • bharath on January 31, 2008, 8:23 GMT

    Excellent one mukul.. very refreshing to read the whole saga. Aussies are infact bad losers, and they cant take the fact that India is challenging them in everyway. School boyish stuff from so called World Champions..

  • Bala Yugandar on January 31, 2008, 8:23 GMT

    Contd..

    Aussies should stop taking pathetic refuge in 'hard but fair'philosophy which is anything but! it beats me that how can anyone abuse/behave so abominably and call it sportmanship! For this reason Australia will not be embraced even if they win 100 tests consecutively. There's obviously something that every team can learn from all conquering West Indies when vanquished teams felt pride even when battered! Teams should compete on the field in their area of expertise and nothing more. nothing less! I fervently wish BCCI realises that all the millions will come to nought when we cannot compete with the best on a sustained basis! Nothing can beat sheer skill/performance on the field as demonstrated by Sachin(his bid for immortality is very much on), indomitable Kumble and the ever special, dear VVS! India if it chooses to...can indeed dictate....but let's produce players who dictate play on the field much like the trimvirate!

  • TH on January 31, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    harbhajan escaped simply because he didnt have the heart to admit it. plain and simple! but its sad to see a great player like tendulkar came to his rescue and supporting his crap 'teri ma ki' version! what a nonsense!!!

  • DineshIyer on January 31, 2008, 8:22 GMT

    Brilliant!!! Absolutely brilliant!! Mukul, u da man!!! The best take on the issue thus far! My favourite line in this story ... "The Indian board has no interest in cricket as such: witness the absurd schedule it framed for the Indian team. Left to itself, the Board would have hung Harbhajan up to dry (as it had sacrificed Bishan Bedi over the 'Vaseline' affair decades ago) and gone on with the tour: "!!! Amazing!! More articles please!!

  • jase on January 31, 2008, 8:19 GMT

    To Mukund Joshi, in one comment you say Australia's behaviour is unacceptable, and in the next you congratulate Bhaji for giving it back and how India needs to. So what is it? You can't have both! It was shown in the last 2 tests when Australia were silent yet India acted outside the spirit of the game. You can't take both stances mate.

  • Tony on January 31, 2008, 8:18 GMT

    Comments from Indians around the world over the last month or so have been redolent with (often unconscious) rascism. Again today a BCCI official is quoted as saying they could never accept a charge of rascism against an Indian player. Is that because rascism is a white thing - that it is impossible for a black man to be rascist? Delicious irony! Australians have been playing English County cricket for decades. Nobody in Australia cares. Whether they play in India's new domestic competition or not, nobody in Australia will care. By the way, for those Indians who have been throwing the Cronulla riots in our faces, how many people died? None! How many mosques have been burned and Muslims murdered in India in this short century? Hundreds! The sooner Tendulkar and the Indian team gets on their chartered plane and leaves this country the better.

  • Dg on January 31, 2008, 8:16 GMT

    India has been a poor guest. A carping, whining distant relative who pushes and bullies and leaves nothing but angst and chaos in their wake. A petulant child sulking one moment and breaking the crockery the next. They are passive aggressive and demanding, far beyond their right. Please go home, India. Please. We cannot take any more of this woeful traveling opera. We are weary. Lets just let it be over now before we both say something we will regret. Take your wounded victim face and your petulant bully face, and turn them homewards. You will be happy. We will be happy. There will be peace and all will be well. Blessed peace. Goodbye.

  • Raj on January 31, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    Everyone is assuming that bhajji said the racial slur and damning him without proof. Please check Judge Hansen's comments and Tendulkar's recorded statements. Remember Symonds started it. Bringing up Bhajji's previous record, as serial offender is lame for being aggressive and australian.

  • Ravi on January 31, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    Is it cricket, economics or world politics?? Base your comments on the game. The lovely game of cricket is uglied by powerhouses and media pundits. Let cricketers play with their true spirit and authorities handle their responsibilities. Some of you guys are infected with mad cow decease. Get a life man, it's only sport.

  • peter on January 31, 2008, 8:15 GMT

    What a load of rubbish. This article a totally jinoistic vuew. It can be summarized as "Lndia right, Australia wrong, to hell with the evudence". It is a travesty to call it journalism. Cricinfo shoul be ashamed to publish it. Both teams have behaved badjy in Sydney and this type of article only aggravates matters. Both Symonds and Singh need to apologise to their opponents and team-mates, and take a hard look at their behaviour. Both Singh and Kartick behaved as badly in Adelaide as any Australian has done in the last 20 years. It's about time the extremists of India and Austraiia looked at the larger picture. Their current attitudes will destroy the game.

  • tony on January 31, 2008, 8:13 GMT

    great,great article,100% correct.

  • AL on January 31, 2008, 8:09 GMT

    This was one of the most hideously unbalanced article I've read on this issue. This was a biased opinion article - not journalism. Why is it that when ever an Australian is charged with misconduct they take it on the chin and apologise, but when an Indian player is charged they cry innocence and threaten to boycot games? I'm not vindicating the Australians of provocation - claerly the on-field umpires should be instructed to step in and rectify issues when they arise. They should also be keeping a closer eye on the 'chit chat' before things get out of hand. All this talk of cheating however is rubbish. From which ever biased eye you look at replays you fall on one side or the other, but there was certainly enough of a grey area in all of these decisions. Then ganging up on a great servant of the game such as Bucknor. No respect given for his long and ditinguished career. He was human - perhaps it was time to retire, but a team can't go on strike because of a few bad decisions.

  • Nick on January 31, 2008, 8:09 GMT

    Interesting people talking about dishing it out and copping it back - when Lehmann was caught calling Jayasuria a "black c***", he admitted it (no respect for Harbijan for lying about it and even less for Sachin lying as well - I used to have him on a pedistal. No more). Lehmann apologised (the act of a real man), and accepted the punishment. Was there audio of that incident? No. But he admitted he was wrong, apologised and took his medicine.

    What did Harbijan and the Indians do? They lied. The BCCI hijacked world cricket during a dark dark week for our sport.

    They chartered planes to reinforce their threats. They DEMANDED Harbijan be cleared. What of justice and a fair trial? That's clearly not one of the Indians' strong points. Instead they flex their financial muscle knowing that Australian cricket and the sport itself could ill afford the coming series to be abandoned.

    I shudder to think the reaction if the Aussie team went about racially vilifying Indian players.

  • Pepe on January 31, 2008, 8:09 GMT

    The problem with the Aussie bloggers is that they believe what is shown to them by Channel 9. The fact that Pointing and Clarke grassed the ball never got mentioned at Channel 9 and it was Ian Chappell who brought it up subsequently after he had seen the replays commentating with ESPN. The Media has a habit of making a mess of things with extremely polarized views.

    With Harbhajan, I feel that he must have said "monkey" to Symonds which resulted in the ruckus. The fact that he had said it earlier too would have compounded the seriousness with with Australia took it. But then again ... how do you maintain a record of whatever is said on the pitch?

    What is Harbhajan says "You bloody monkey" to Symonds on the field some way off from the stump mic?

    Also on Harbhajan being provoked, does provocation give you the license to do whatever you feel like, right or wrong?

  • Bala Yugandar on January 31, 2008, 8:08 GMT

    Bingo Mukul! I was impatiently waiting for your piece to appear ever since the conclusion of 4th test...you brilliantly analytical piece is worth the wait. What most respondents ignore is the deeply insightful and crucial socio/political/cultural context you provide for a sport-ing issue! The reaction of Western media and their bloggers is hardly a surprise.....they are seething because they are helpless-the lot of the indian teams not too long ago! Peter Roebuck has written so much on the issue taking positions- overt, covert for india er for Australia-despite his notion of a sage he's become a confused wreck! As I speak he wrote another lengthy piece. Any indian can easily understand that it's not BCCI that flexed muscles/biceps but the truly incensed players! I felt so outraged, watching on Internet in far away USA, by the sydney turn of events it would have been a shock if players involved in the heat of the battle stood silent!

  • Santosh on January 31, 2008, 8:08 GMT

    First things first , whether Harbhajan made a racial comment or not can never be substantiated.If he had made a racial comment , he was wrong completely. But in any court of law what cant be proven cannot be judged.

    There is no point in Australians hanging their jaws and brooding, like all decisions in cricket some go your way some dont.

  • Duanne on January 31, 2008, 8:07 GMT

    Of course Harbajan called Symonds a monkey. But c'mon - 'monkey'? You get offended at the word monkey?

    Leave that rubbish on the field and get on with it.

    Hurt the Indians where it matters - on the field. Defeat them, or make a match so one-sided that the only possibility is an Inidan loss and the TV ratings will decline also. Now that would hurt. Monkey? Who cares?

  • deepak nair on January 31, 2008, 8:06 GMT

    symonds abuses harbhajan for a friendly gesture to his team-mate. harbhanjan retaliates with choice hindi abuses. at the end of it, harbhajan gets a fine and also his reputation is in tatters. Symonds walks away without any punishment and is portrayed as the victim by the western media. what a joke!! and the aussies are "disappointed" I very sincerely hope that bhajji had actually called the foul mouthed jerk a monkey!

  • deepak nair on January 31, 2008, 8:06 GMT

    symonds abuses harbhajan for a friendly gesture to his team-mate. harbhanjan retaliates with choice hindi abuses. at the end of it, harbhajan gets a fine and also his reputation is in tatters. Symonds walks away without any punishment and is portrayed as the victim by the western media. what a joke!! and the aussies are "disappointed" I very sincerely hope that bhajji had actually called the foul mouthed jerk a monkey!

  • Vijay Kashyap on January 31, 2008, 8:05 GMT

    Mukul, you forgot to mention the Australian TV umpire who gave his Queensland mate Symonds not out. The Australians squeezed everything out of the Sydney test. No stone left unturned to screw the Indians.

  • Ramki on January 31, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    Good article Mukul. I just pity Symonds. I am very much convinced that Harbajan would have said "Teri Maa Ki" and Symonds took it as "Monkey". To me the what Bajji said is far worse than what Symonds took. Still not sure whether Symonds understands what "Teri Maa Ki " mean. The biggest confusion for me is for the people who use words like 'bastard' in a friedly gesture how come a word called 'monkey' become racial abuse.

  • xsupratim on January 31, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    RE: Paul McGuiness

    The real issue is that the Aussies can dish it out but they can not take it when they are at the receiving end. And, this is even more so when they are not winning. Having lost consistently to India in one form of cricket (20-20), they are so insecure of doing so in test cricket as well, that this time they ran crying to the umpires.

    Why should we stop playing the Aussies? They will be dust beneath our chariot wheels the next time we meet ..... it is the Aussies who should be concerned about whether they want to play India.

    HA!

  • Pranav Vij on January 31, 2008, 8:03 GMT

    Very very well written Mukul, thanks for such a deep and detailed insight into the entire issue. What i feel here id that the Australians were just not prepared to see Bhajji score runs against them and the entire episode rattled them totally. This is probably the most indecent, rude and evious Australian side ever seen. Hope they learn from this episode and behave !!!

  • Siddhartha on January 31, 2008, 8:03 GMT

    I think the disgruntled Aussies who are complaining about Harbhajan's let-off should read the complete report by Judge Hansen. He has stopped short of calling Hayden and Clarke liars and explained why he thought that they were unreliable witnesses. Apparently, all they could remember about the whole altercation was that Harbhajan called Symonds a "big monkey". They couldn't remember having heard anything else, not even what Symonds said (even though he was speaking in English the entire time). Please read what Judge Hansen had to say about Symonds.

  • Concerned for cricket on January 31, 2008, 8:02 GMT

    Successful teams have always pressed the line in trying to achieve ultimate success - take NZ's multi hull in the Americas Cup, drugs in sport or space technology in the Luge. As cricket, at the highest level is played 80% in the mind why shouldnt this be tested? What's lost here is the fact that the article focuses on why the Australians deserve to lose this fight, what is avoided is that a player racially abuses another and then can get his team mates and governing body to circle around him in a protective circle. In no other walk of life or sport would we try and condone racism in any way, however your article has conveniently side stepped this issue by bringing focus upon others involved. Either write an article on racism in cricket or one on the mind games of the Australians or the ineptitude of the ICC to counter the power of the Asian block but dont insult us by mixing the three to condone the actions of a racism.

  • hisham on January 31, 2008, 8:01 GMT

    Wonderfully well written!!! Your comparison of Ponting to Bush was the most striking...to be honest i have often felt the same about the way they talk, even before reading your article. Thanku.

  • aniruddha on January 31, 2008, 8:01 GMT

    Good article. The fact that Michael Clark is now the vice captain further demonstrates the fact that CA wants to push a player who is a proven cheater ahead of someone like a Michael Hussey. Ricky Ponting for all his negetive qualities is a proven world class performer and a match winner. The new breed of aussie cricketers have not faced too many defeats and as a result are too arrogant without too many worthwhile contributions in the middle. I have full faith in the fact that cricket being a great leveller would sort out these pretenders. The only indian batsmen to cross 50 in this series have been those who have toured here before. What we will see in the upcoming one dayer is more of indian aggression and less of quality and the same can be said of the aussie team as well.

  • Dave on January 31, 2008, 7:59 GMT

    Maybe if the Australians want to be loved like the West Indies they should charge the umpire like Colin Croft or kick down the stumps like Michael holding or throw a brick into the crowd like Sylvester Clarke.

    Here’s to rose tinted glasses and a lack of facts.

  • Dave on January 31, 2008, 7:59 GMT

    Maybe if the Australians want to be loved like the West Indies they should charge the umpire like Colin Croft or kick down the stumps like Michael holding or throw a brick into the crowd like Sylvester Clarke.

    Here’s to rose tinted glasses and a lack of facts.

  • mickd40 on January 31, 2008, 7:59 GMT

    While every Indian fan is still jumping up and down about the Sydney test yes Australia would probably have won the Third test but for bodgie decisions against Hussey and Symonds - it was only a 72 run margin. I happen to agree that Australia for whatever reason with both home town and neutral umpires has traditionally been advantaged in decisions - witness Tendulkar lbw to a bouncer! However the standard of Indian home umpiring was worse for years - some of the lbw decisions handed to Gilchrist in India even made his jaw drop. Australia has been the best team in world cricket for over a decade, and probably the best ever - witness two 16 consecutive winning test runs included. That cannot be taken away despite the meaner politics of international cricket and the maniacal rantings of cricket observers worldwide. Australia has had a tendency to ease off after a trophy has been regained. As for the other side - if you can't win on the field, resort to plan B - character assassination!

  • GKG on January 31, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    I think Paul McGuiness is right. India should not play Australia any more and Australian players should be banned from IPL. That should fix the Australian players and Cricket Australia.

  • Soumya on January 31, 2008, 7:55 GMT

    Harbhajan may say "MAAKI" that is a common word agresively used in India.Australia might listened it as Monkey.Anyway MAKI MONKEY IS Common word used in India and BASTARD is a common word used in Australia.We all know which is Abusive.

  • Gavin Wells on January 31, 2008, 7:54 GMT

    Well I liked the article, yet I do feel that 3 things have to be mentioned 1. Harbhajan did sledge! 2. The Australian way of cricket is good, their antics are not! 3. There is no such thing as racist in language, it’s the behavior that says it all.

    In India monkeys are given GOD status. Indians use words like monkey or donkey with out a second thought. It is just like the F*** or B******. Harbhajan’s T*** M** K* is the same - though in my opinion I would have preferred he said mon***, than the other word.

    Australian comments like it p***** me off sure stinks of racism. They have all the time sledged but know the right way of doing it - others will learn soon. That is going to be hard to swallow for them. It is best they play cricket their own way and show the rest of the world how it should be played right! Please spare us the antics!

    Behavior is all that matters in the gentleman’s game. I liked the way Gilly played and I still do Sachin.

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    THe aussies have always had a tradition of bad behaviour. When the chappels will comment aggressively at the windies batsmen.Just because this bunch of cricketers wouldnt have seen doesnt mean that no body is aware of all those.

    Now coming to the present sydney match, after all the hype by waugh and others that this team is a great team that can win 30consequitive wins ( probably they (symonds..) would have betted also) they were under pressure and feared their chain may get brocken (which really happened at Perth) and hence when bhajji made a friendly gesture, they got provoked. It was very visible the way the reactions were going on and ponting persuading the umpire to talk in their favor( very indecent for Ponting). On the otherhand, innocent Indians were playing to save their face and they succeded in doing so with sachin and bhajji and thinking that it will be taken sportingly. All of a sudden when a friendly gesture is returned with hostility they were taken aback.

  • Ashish on January 31, 2008, 7:51 GMT

    Mr. Dean - you said - The facts are that the Australians have been reported much less than most other teams in the last few years, whereas India is one of the worst. Attempting to justify or ignore this fact by categorising what is ok and what is not ok is clearly not your job. It is for the ICC to determine what is ok, and what is not, and based on their rules the Australians have not transgressed at all in the last year -- BIG EXAMPLE OF ICC BIAS - McGrath - Sarwan issue -- nothing happend to pigeon !! :)

  • Prasanna Kovalam on January 31, 2008, 7:49 GMT

    Brilliant piece of cricket writing. I won't say anything more as the comments made before mine say a lot

  • Chris on January 31, 2008, 7:49 GMT

    Indians are known world wide of complaining until they get there own way, and this gentlemans argument dissuades me none in this opinion. The only difference in cricket they have the money.

    Take a look at the fourth test karthik is a disgrace, spitting at michael clark. Get over your self righteous attitude and take a good look at how your team of angels play, more than twice the amount of sanctions than any other team.

    Oh yeah thats right its a white mans conspiracy that makes indian players so dirty.

    grow up

  • Tom on January 31, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    A more parochial article has rarely been written. If the Indians feel that the Australian/English power of the past was unfair, why do they emulate it? The worst I have heard about the time the Aussie/Pom had power was of blinkered and patronizing 'for the good of the game' manner. Not good, but immeasurably better than the despicably self-interested approach of the BCCI. And how about Tendulkar. Apparently in the hearing with Proctor he didn't hear anything, and the first I heard of the teri maki was as a suggestion by a lawyer days after the initial hearing. Now Tendulkar's story changes and he heard Harbhajan say 'teri maki', while even this one-eyed 'journalist' accepts that Harbhajan most likely said monkey. Combine this with the reported text message that inflamed the whole affair and his saintly image has to take one hell of a hit.

  • sal on January 31, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    well said mate well said

  • Gopal Gupta on January 31, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    Well written. I am sure Australian will ignore it and not reprint in the newspapers here. I remember Australian behaviour even as far back as Dennis Lillee and the incident with Javed Miandad when Javed threatened to hit Lillee with the bat. May be things will change with the arrival of India. The Indian players including Harbhajan Singh and Sreeshant will give them back as good as they receive. That is what Australia needs.

  • RK on January 31, 2008, 7:48 GMT

    Ah! Greatly put! Facts! Now it dawns on me why Australia has not given captaincy to real worthy players like Gilchrist and give it to players of (lets say) questionable moral cricket spirit like Ponting and Clake! And what a mess Ponting + Proctor made with the appeal and judgmement - this will change the dirty aussie tactics forever... and that great for cricket! -Amen

  • rajinikanth on January 31, 2008, 7:46 GMT

    what a rubbish,the author so biased given a chance it will be blame Oz for all problems in india, i request cricinfo not to publish this kind of rubbish article.

  • Aditya on January 31, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    @CF India beat Australia hands down even when they were a better team than this, that is back in 2001, when the Aussies had McGrath, Warne, Gillespie, the Waugh brothers, Ponting, Hayden , Langer and Gilchrist. And we didn't have our main bowler Anil Kumble in that series. So I think you can shut up about the ability of this Indian side.

    Furthermore, I love how Ponting's acting all disappointed about the judgment. What about Kumble? Isn't he entitled to be disappointed when Yuvraj gets reported for dissent but neither Ponting nor Symonds (who both showed their bats to umpires after being given out) gets pulled up by the umpire? Isn't he entitled to be disappointed when Michael Clarke claims a grounded catch despite there having been a clear agreement before the series regarding it, and then doesn't get called in by the same referee who banned Rashid Latif for a similar infraction some years ago? What sort of justice is that?

  • Liam on January 31, 2008, 7:44 GMT

    Can you imagine the response if i went into the street in Australia and burned effigies of Indian players officials or umpires

    And for those of you that think monkey is not a racist term have a google of the english premier league and the trouble they have had with that term

  • canuthinkofaname on January 31, 2008, 7:43 GMT

    Absolutely spot on! You have been able to isolate each and every issue really well and analyse it in the right context there after, unlike other Indian publications who just messed it up into one huge ball of 'insult' to our nation. There was absolutely no 'national interests' on the part of the Referee or the umpires or the Aussie players for that matter. It was plain Australian hegemony and the challenge BCCI put to it by flexing its muscle. In classic Bollywood style the 'bad' had been brought to end using another 'bad'. Even the great Shri Krishna had to resort to 'below the belt' hits in the great Mahabharata and He justified it saying 'A bad thing done for the betterment & upliftment of the society and to eradicate evil is always fine!' Thats how I see it. Australian hegemony had to be challenged and brought to an end. BCCI, although using unethical methods(spurred by Tendulkar, Kumble et al)nevertheless ended this evil and they should be congratulated for this at least

  • A Fair world Citizen on January 31, 2008, 7:42 GMT

    Mukul,I am disappointed at what your article sums up despite having agreements to a few in between. The bottomline is both the teams are to be blamed, I am convinced. I am an Indian and yes I do feel disappointed at some of those contentious decisions going against the Indian team in the Sydney test, but then I do not condone behavior demonstrated by Harbhajan or for that matter Sreeshanth. If we are good we can prove it on the field by doing what actually matters, do we have to ape the others and match them verbally to stake a claim to our strength? I for one respect the Australians as a champion side. Yes, what they do outside the perview of the game is sometimes debateable and unacceptable, but then so do we. Why point the fingers at others all the time. I have no grudges against Ricky for doing what anyone under the law would have done by reporting Bhajji, however I would have respected him more had he resolved it amongst the players. Now pls. let this already stretched case rest.

  • RSN on January 31, 2008, 7:41 GMT

    Much Ado about nothing.....

    Australians are rude and boorish and still/will indulge in sledging..Indians try to imitate them by mouthing 4 letter words and think they are cool.

    Mike Proctor is the biggest racist among all involved. Time and again, he has tried his best to put sub-continental teams at their place.

    Appalling thing that surfaced out of this ruckus is that professional cricketers will go unimagined lengths pushing for a victory/gaining a slight edge by adopting mental disintegration techniques , blatantly claiming a catch of a bump ball or standing ground after obviously nicking the ball..

    ENOUGH!!!

  • Sunny on January 31, 2008, 7:40 GMT

    The aggression needs to be directed in the acitivities of the play; rather than influencing the atmoshphere. Aussies have developed that trick to baffle the competing teams by sledging which is not cricket. Is n't this a workaround to overcome some weakness of the art of the cricketing skills? They certainly won by baffling the team, intimidating the umpire. Even their media starts whirling around the other teams, why? Why are they so afraid of a loss - and if they can't take a loss; they wouldn't improve in the very skills; and induldge more in extraneous skills like sledging. Please stop this !

  • Prashant on January 31, 2008, 7:38 GMT

    The phrase “Ugly Aussie” can now easily be changed to “Hypocrite Aussie”. After decades of constant “gutter” language and abuse…..which includes McGrath enquiring of Sarwan about the edible nature of Lara’s private parts to Lehman calling Jayasuriya a “black ….”(to name just a couple of instances), Australia now has the disgusting audacity to take the moral high ground?

    Its simple ….if you cant take it, don’t dish it out. McGrath and co. have never even been reprimanded for their gutter behaviour, never mind banned from games. Now when an opposing player supposedly retorts with a “monkey” after clearly being instigated, the Indians are supposed to just let him hang… While an entire generation of “Ugly Aussies” get away scot free for their gutter behaviour.

    Aussie journalists are living in glass houses ,so they should be just that much more careful before they even attempt to take the moral high ground.

  • Longmemory on January 31, 2008, 7:36 GMT

    Astonishingly comprehensive, balanced and thoughtful. I think MK is absolutely right in his conjecture that it was Sachin and Kumble who decided the course of action, and the BCCI was led by the nose into the action. For me, the best part was reading Judge Hansen putting Symonds in his place as well as Clarke. As for those of you who think Clarke's catch off Ganguly was clean, I really don't know what to say. Truth, like beauty, seems to lie entirely in the eyes of the beholder. If ever a catch was scooped off the turf, it was that one. If the upshot of this whole ugly mess is that sledging (what a stupid euphemism for utterly unsporting and immature behavior!) is greatly reduced, it will have still all been worth it.

  • Paul McGuiness on January 31, 2008, 7:35 GMT

    From the responses here it appears to me that the majority of Indian cricket fans strongly support the condemnation of Australian cricket and everything it stands for and has stood for in the past. Therefore, why not take this stance to its logical conclusion and cease playing cricket against Australia.

  • amit on January 31, 2008, 7:35 GMT

    haha this whole issue is nothing else but ricky ponting's valiant effort to push the limelight to bhajji instead of his failure in the series and Australia's not being able to secure 18 consecutive wins. No body is talking about how Australia's batting failed or they are no more the champions .......having lost in Perth....but just talking about did bhajji said monkey or maaki. I am sure neither symonds or rest of aussie team cares wut bhajji said ....as if they understand his accent....i am sure half of bhajji's word go over the top of aussie's players head.... so guys be real and dont buy into any of this nonsense....just continue on with the cricket and stop this mindless crap.....

  • CricketLoverFromIndia on January 31, 2008, 7:35 GMT

    Now that Hansen's report clearly proves that Symonds abused Harbhajan and he was the one who started it without provocation, can the Indian Team complain against Symonds?

  • Anand on January 31, 2008, 7:35 GMT

    Dear Mukul,

    Judge Hansen's report spared nobody. Nobody came off the hearing smelling like roses. His observations were correct. Symmonds had no business to interfere in what was a very friendly exchange between Lee and Harbajan. Bad decisions by neutral umpires are not Aussies problem. ICC has to bring in a system that would proactively rate umpires. It is sad that Gilly's farewell party getting overshadowed by these events. A great cricketer and a fine gentleman. We need more of those. It is here I find Ishant Sharma's gestures so refreshing. I think there is much for Harbajan and Sreesanth to learn from this teenager.

    Play it hard and tough but without tantrums and sledging please. We do need any McEnroe's here. Sledging is legalized abuse. Period! Remember what the great Don said? "I would give one warning to a sledging player and the next time he will not play in my team". Sachin, Brett Lee, Gilly, VVS, Dravid - Great names, no games. India and Aussies, Rock on!

  • Liam on January 31, 2008, 7:34 GMT

    Another thing i found interesting is the number of stories that came from the indian camp First: Harbi had said nothing Second: Monkey is actually a term of veneration Third: He actually used a hindi phrase instead

    Surely he must have known what was said

  • Shankar on January 31, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    Hi Mukul

    I was waiting for this post as I was pretty sure you would put your comments on this series in a consolidated effort. Nicely summed up and except for the George Bush angle which was a bit way off

  • xsupratim on January 31, 2008, 7:32 GMT

    Great article, Mukul, very balanced and incisive. Although the comparison to Bush was probably over the top!

    A lot is being made of the racism part - Calling someone a monkey (or bandar) is NOT a racist comment in India. While calling someone a motherf****r or bastard is an insult that can only be replied to by spilling blood. So, it is okay for the aussies to call an Indian player a bastard, (for which the Indian team was gracious enough to withdraw its complaint) but an Indian player should not call an aussie a monkey .... and that too after being the subject of abuse .....oooooh, who's the crybaby here? More power to Bhaji and the new Indian Team, which will not take it lying down, like the old Indian teams.

  • Casper on January 31, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    One thing's for sure. Anyone will think twice before abusing an opposition player on the field of play for fear of being dragged to the courts. If this unsavoury incident can rid the game of abusive sledging then we will have achieved something a lot more substantial than the game's administrators have managed to in a long time. Left to their own devices, you'd sooner than later have seen a physical assault on the field of play as a result of these insults.

  • Johnny Dangerously on January 31, 2008, 7:31 GMT

    Posted by: Liam 32 minutes ago "So the fact that he said Harbi probably did racially vilify Symonds is OK"

    Liam - a classic dichotomy, the same as the small ingredient missing from the entire Australian media diet,"fact" and "probably" are key operators that effectively render your argument useless. In other words, there is no fact with respect to hearsay. Pretty much sums up the entire Australian mood, hang him because he *might* have said it. Period! Well welcome down, luckily there are impartial white judges who dont think or act that way. Why dont you Australians take the time and dissect Hansen's judgement and see where the fallacies in it are rather that shooting of hyperbole after after hyperbole spruced with red herrings. a)Burden of proof b)Symonds needless instigation c)Insofar Australians are utterly unable to hold Symonds culpable for starting the whole fracas by abusing Singh, totally uncalled for.You only hear deafening silence when asked why.

  • JED on January 31, 2008, 7:28 GMT

    It is no coincidence that, since most Indians have only recently have access to television, that there has been a massive change in the attitude of the Indian public and officials. The huge amount of revenue from billions more viewers and the subsequent frenzy of gambling in the sub continent, has consequences, (such as the crowd behaviour in India recently). Andrew Symonds has had a long road to make the top team, and has behaved well, on and off the field. With the hectic schedule of flights, hotels, training, injury treatments, media and charity committments, I find it hard to believe that Symonds would invent allegations, that would result in investigations interrupting the limited time available to prepare for the next match. I wish I had some of Andrew Symonds' genetics,and I think there may be some Indians, who think the same.

  • Abhijit on January 31, 2008, 7:26 GMT

    Yes Mukul,a fine piece. From an Indian perspective

    1. A BCCI, run like most public institutions in India. Clueless, classless and plain stupid. Drifting along all the time with no synergy or anticipation of the game or its nuances. Totally reactionary, and only when the chairs of its incumbent morons are shaken by an outpouring of public sentiment or player revolt. The BCCI attitude, damn the game, players or the country. I come first, and last.

    Cricket Australia 2. A well oiled sleazeball, committed to winning at all costs. Caught with their pants down this time, its pathetic to see them try to wiggle their way out inspite of mounting public opinion in their own country, as well as a Judges clear and concise rejection of their position. Yet they still allow their players and press to hawk their brand of snake oil. Gentlemen in the hallowed halls of the MCG and Lords, the game is up. Its over, hasta la vista, gutten nacht. Keep your reputations at least.

  • Rajesh on January 31, 2008, 7:25 GMT

    The Aussies blaming BCCI is a joke. What did Cricket Australia do? Offer a compromise? Surely a bit of money is not important when it comes to fighting the big bad evil of racism?

  • Raaja on January 31, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    By so far the BEST of the articles written on this Harbhajjan Saga. Not like the one written by Mr.Roebuck, who first says Indians were right in suspending the tour after the sydney test and then reversing that wen bhajji was found not guilty.. I 'm really happy for Clarke, for he really deserves every bit of criticism directed at him..

  • Afzaal Khan on January 31, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    With all due respect wat is rubbing people off is the whole notion that Indians are saint and aussies the hoodlums. Indians have never done anything wrong and tbat racism is beyond India psyche. Thats the whole point, If u gonna crucify aussies in name of journalism then be fair and point out the glaring faults and misbehavior of Indian team as well. No team in teh world claim that they play like saints and have never violated the spirit of game or conduct of game. So plz spare me if I dun buy it. Witness Mr. Kumble unprovoked verbal assault on M. Yousef in India V Pak 3rd match to get him out, But when India does it its brilliant and big boy game. U accuse aussies of samme thing that u do urself. I hate hypocricy and Indian team has been shown as hypocrite. As for racism row, U believe like many Bhajji did say :monkey: then watever the provocation might be, racism shouldnt be allowed. If provocation can be justified for racism then dun compalaint when its directed toward India.

  • Greg on January 31, 2008, 7:23 GMT

    I think that the moralising is all a waste of time. If Singh did call Symonds a monkey, Symonds should have offered to sort it out after the game man on man. After all Viv Richards (who all Indians attest to loving) challenged Allan Border after an altercation on the field, and no Aussie ever sledged him again...

  • Attila in the sun on January 31, 2008, 7:21 GMT

    File this rubbish under "F" for "Fiction"

  • John on January 31, 2008, 7:20 GMT

    Post by GlaCial. Good for you. You are right. Cricket and otehr sporst give lip service to the issue of racism. They ask players to report it and everyone goes crazy when they do. It is about politically correct policies not a real effort to reduce racist behaviour, which is separate from other abusive (but also terrible) behaviour. As for the post by Gibbowr - are you kidding? You list the various sins of appealing and of not walking and seem to belive this is only Australians. watch some cricket. name me a 'walker' in all circumstances otehr than Gilchrist - in any team. Did you see the rubbish from the Indians in Adelaide appealing for a bat-pad from Clarke? and guess what - they weree wrong - miles from the bat. Kartik was disgusting. His traeement of Clarkeas they walked off for the break was a shocker - all smiles whennbthey came back out - nice joke. Lucky Bowden sw it right.All the things you list are done by all teams - so let's be honest about that and address it in all teams

  • vijay on January 31, 2008, 7:20 GMT

    Absolutely spot on.I was just wondering why the indian journalists are just sitting and reading what the australian papers are saying , and when we know at the bottom of our heart that we dint do anything wrong.I think , Ponting should read this and I am happy that you are the first journo who wrote this article brilliantly.congratulations and well done.We are proud of you.

  • raghuvir on January 31, 2008, 7:20 GMT

    My two pennies worth on the incident -- a) if you say sledging is fine, then really you have to be ready for whatever is dished back at you.i personally am not a fan of Bhajjis on field behaviour and i believe his and most of Aussie team behaviour is against the spirit of the game. But the shocker is the cry babies aussies are turning out to be.In our culture Bastard is a worse word than monkey. so if you say one is good enough how can the other word not be and since when is sledging supposed to be "politically correct"?? 2) Pathetic umpring almost ruined one of the all time great series. But i dont for one moment believe it was biased. Just pure incompetence.We should still have been good enough to draw in Sydney even with thoe decisions. 3) for those up in arms on bhajis let off hould also pay attention to the judge's admonishing of Symonds.You cant selectively use parts of judgements 4) Aussies are the best team in the world. But ponting is poor ambassador for the game

  • peregrine on January 31, 2008, 7:19 GMT

    reply to NT Ranatunga was the biggest cheat to come out of Sri Lanka. He would pretend to be injured so he could have a runner....but it was because he was so FAT and UNFIT. and that is cheating!!! Actually Aussies really like the Sri Lankan team...but not Ranatunga!!

  • Jay on January 31, 2008, 7:18 GMT

    Great article. Ponting and Bush comparisons are funny, but I am sure will not be well taken in the context of this article. This comic depiction, reduces the credibility of this article. I have a point on racism. People seem to consider something as very holy because they are told to consider that in such a fashion. As an Indian, if I am caleed a MF or a b***d by some idiot, it is likely to hurt me much much more than being called a brown guy or a black guy or a nigger. But the rule book says racism is bad, but anything else said to demean others worse is acceptable, because the book does not say otherwise. I would not rule out the fact that Ponting being a great strategist would have planned for this altercation and instigated Bhajji to make him say things he should not have said. Bhajji, a hot headed immature passionate guy, fell for it. Ponting, the smart one was happy!! But he did not expect the turn of events, I love the talented Aussie cricket team but have no respect for them.

  • Mark on January 31, 2008, 7:18 GMT

    Great post! The Australian media, as usual, is an embarrassment, as will the next Australian captain be if Clarke is appointed.

  • Jacki on January 31, 2008, 7:17 GMT

    Wow!! You certainly managed to leave out an enormous number of facts in order to present Australia in the worst possible light and India as the poor long-suffering victims. I can sum this up better. India are racist. India can't admit they're racist. This whole affair started in India when Symonds was continuously and viciously racially abused by the spectators and a number of players. All teams have umpires judgments go against them but it's only whined about if Australia receives the benefit of it. India behaved worse than the Aussies on the field. Racism is NOT sledging - it's discrimination on the basis of someones race. Symonds has now been officially told he can't complain about being racially abused because he is 1. a black guy in a predominantly white team and 2. an UPPITY black guy who therefore DESERVES to be racially abused. I see only one "victim" in all this and one side acting abusively. Symonds is the former, India the latter.

  • GlaCial on January 31, 2008, 7:16 GMT

    Harbhajan - the gutless RACIST! If he apologized, then at least he accepts he made a mistake. I could respect him for that. But now, I'll only remember him as a gutless racist. End of argument.

  • Ian on January 31, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    Its more interesting to read the comments than the article. Mukul, and the rest of the media, be it Indian or Australian have simply shown how bias they are toward their country of origin irrespective of facts. Now, I had presumed that the general public was somewhat smarter than this. Shame on me. The tripe that is being carried on with about making Australians learn their lesson is rubbish. We sure did learn a lesson. And we learnt it in Perth, not Sydney. We were stung when the COWARDLY BCCI threatened to pull out. We were just plain hurt when we found out it was initiated by Tendulkar, who we treat with more respect than most of our own.

    This is not to say the Aussies were not at fault either. Clarke standing his ground was a disgrace and Pontings attitude immediately after the game was disappointing.

    As for the rest of it, Indians would do well to remember that Cricket is only a game. The gods don't perform in front of us, they are merely cricket players.

  • Oscar the on January 31, 2008, 7:15 GMT

    Mukul - many good points, but some important and relevant stuff ignored. The BCCI has accepted that 'monkey' IS a racist term when used against someone with Symond's ethnicity. Tendulkar has affirmed that Harbhajan used words that sounded, to an ear untrained in Sikh, remarkably similar to 'monkey'. The Australian players have accepted that they could have misheard what Harbhajan said; the fact that Harbhajan used the term 'Maa Kii' (if that is the correct spelling) was NOT put forward to Procter thus allowing him to consider the possibility of a misapprehension on the part of the Australian players; the evidence put before Hansen supports the likelihood of a genuine but incorrect BELIEF on the part of the Australian players that 'monkey' was what was said. Harbhajan considers the Australian team to be 'vulgar? Go to YouTube and enter 'Harbhajan Pietersen'. Neither HS nor Symonds are exactly Miss Manners, let's not be hypocritical. No BCCI pressure? Why the chartered Jet?

  • Prashanth on January 31, 2008, 7:14 GMT

    A very well composed piece of journalistic analysis. Australia is just not able to stomach the fact that India has been constantly getting better and challenging them in every series played between the two teams. They couldn't even digest and appreciate the T20 win recently and made public comments about how the Indian celebration was exaggerated. Indian players are matching the aussies in skills as well as sledging which is getting to the aussie player's nerves. Aussie players mouth an awful lot but can't handle it when given back to them in the same token. Gone are the days when Indian players used to meekly take whatever was thrown at them by these arrogant and rude aussies - there are innumerable instances when aussies crossed the line. Looking forward to an electrifying ODI series. Go India, get 'em. All the best !

  • Rohit on January 31, 2008, 7:13 GMT

    Why do some of these Aussies bring up one or two instances from the past when someone from the other team did not walk or claimed a catch? What does that got to do with the current issues of this series?

    No team is perfect but some are far better than others. Basically the Aussies are saying that unless everyone is perfect the Aussies should be allowed to cheat as much as they want, behave whatever way they want and get away with it.

  • Ajay on January 31, 2008, 7:12 GMT

    Sorry... I believe if Sachin says harbhajan did not why you do not trust him.. seems like you had more trust in what wrong harbhajan can do versus someone like sachin who lead by example for 18 years....

  • Joseph Rotes from USA on January 31, 2008, 7:11 GMT

    EXCELLENT, excellent, balanced article. BCCI is a bunch of nincompoops who look good because Kumble (God bless him) and others took a stand. About tim ethe Aussies, and th ebullying Western referees got their comeuppance. Great article - keep up the good work !

  • Sorab on January 31, 2008, 7:11 GMT

    My take on this whole issue is the following 1. Symonds was abusive and provoked Harbhajan 2. Harbhajan reacted and said something abusive 3. Symonds claimed that Harbhajan called him a monkey. 4. Sachin who according to Justice Hansen was the closest person to the fracas said Harbhajan did not say monkey. 5. Clarke and Hayden who were not as close as Sachin said that Harbhajan said monkey and that Symonds said nothing (contradicting Symonds). 6. Mike Procter after hearing all of the above made a decision against Harbhajan. I am not a great fan of the BCCI as I think they are the biggest thing wrong with Indian cricket but in this case I have to support them. They did the right thing. Tarring Harbhajan with the racist tag without evidence is unacceptable. Further, Symonds should consider himself lucky that he has not been fined for abusive language like Harbhajan has. I have no clue why the Aussies are angry at the decision. They got what they deserved. Move on, India has.

  • GlaCial on January 31, 2008, 7:10 GMT

    Australian teams have never behaved as badly as this spoilt Indian team threatening to go home.

  • rext on January 31, 2008, 7:10 GMT

    Not ONE mention of Harijhan's FIVE convictions! Not one! Just a diatribe against Australia from a blind ignorant Nationalist. No mention of the decisions that went India's way, such as Tendulkar LBW in the 30's in Sydney that even Hashe Bogle couldn't understand or Sehwag plumb on Day 4 in Adelaide that cost Australia the match. But by then crickets' greatest whingers and self pitying brats India had intimidated the umpires to the point they refused to give even plumb decisions! And it might inform you to know spitting on one's hands in preparation for physical effort is not something unique to Ponting and it may be repulsive to some regarding shaking hands but it's nowhere near as repulsive as shaking hands with someone who uses their hand to wipe their backside! We are tired of the constant abuse from those who simply aren't good enough, and it seems no matter where India go they create problems!

  • RP on January 31, 2008, 7:10 GMT

    Very pathetic. How can you defend the actions of the indians crying like children because of a few poor decisions it happens in every game and to every team what makes you so special? The bottom line is you fear micheal clarkes bowling and that you lost the series 2-1 and you should be thanking him as micheal saved you from a 3-1 result dropping Sehwag on 2 late on day 4 in the last test if he had held on too it, it would've been over before lunch day 5. But then India would've made up some sort of an excuse for losing once again to Australia. In terms of cricket you are many years off from competing with the Aussies. Stick with playing against minnows before you think about playing against the big boys.

  • Dubby49 on January 31, 2008, 7:10 GMT

    Jonesy and others - I'm Indian. My disagreement with what Sachin and Anil did is that though they were the aggrieved party the total mishandling of the affair has resulted in their copping all the flak and being perceived as the villains.

    Sledging and foul mouthed abuse is unacceptable. If the Aussies think that it's hard but fair, hard cheese. It's still a violation of the ICC Code of Conduct. Forget about "what's said on the field stays on the field" tripe. You say it you get reported. Then let's see how the ICC deals with the problem. Indian Captains please take note. Warn your boys (as Dhoni has apparently done) to comply with the Code implicitly and tell your counterpart that you will report every violation. No private agreements to dodge the rules - take the fielder's word, we won't verbally interact.

    Play hard and fair (within the rules and the code). Don't walk and don't expect others to do so. Let the umpire decide.

    BCCI - Voice any objections to umps NOW. Oxenford.

  • BigBadByrnes on January 31, 2008, 7:09 GMT

    Astoundingly well written article but not fully balanced - though a very good attempt to be balanced.

    I think the article is excellent, but along with the two posts made by "Dean" who had "some concerns about the balance of it, or lack thereof, specificially in relation to the 2nd test". With those clarifications, overall brilliant.

    The only thing I dont think is mentioned enough, where was the sensational 'we're outta abandoning this tour if we dont see better umpires' carry on from Steve Waugh after S K Basnal in Kolcata 2001? Or from Mark Taylor in 1998? In 2001, shocking umpiring throughout the game but especially in on the last day cost Australia a test match draw and a drawn series. The same happened to India in 2008. Is there any hope left for the belief that these things do even out over time?

    Perhaps - but I still insist, as most would, that two wrongs dont make a right.

  • Mallika Das on January 31, 2008, 7:08 GMT

    Really accurate depiction. This is one of the best articles I have come across.

  • Ashish Mishra on January 31, 2008, 7:07 GMT

    One thing not about cricket, that I also think Ricky Ponting look like Bush's younger brother.

  • GlaCial on January 31, 2008, 7:07 GMT

    I think this is a classic example of the difference between Australian and Indian culture. When Darren Lehman says "black c**t" as he is walking back to the Australian dressing room in a game against Sri Lanka he admits he made a mistake, publicly apologizes, and rightfully receives match bans. When an Indian calls Symonds a monkey, they deny they made a mistake, blame everyone else, rejoice that they got one back over the Australians. As for Pontings "unlovely habit of spitting into his palms", it just goes to what a load of tosh the article is!

  • Mallika Das on January 31, 2008, 7:07 GMT

    Really accurate depiction. This is one of the best articles I have come across.

  • sumit on January 31, 2008, 7:05 GMT

    Mukul there's one thing you always to do - elicit extreme reactions from readers.

    There's one aspect, however, that has been well highlighted in your blog. That of Michael Clark being labelled unreliable by the Judge, and 'slippery' by you.

    It is a true reflection of the traditional Aussie way of boorish thinking that this same slippery, spitting-in-his-palm character has been chosen to succeed Ponting! How I wish Hussey was the heir apparent...

  • Mukund Joshi on January 31, 2008, 7:05 GMT

    What happened shows the emergence of a new India, we will not take things lying down. It is evident in our cricket and elsewhere in the country. It is about time that the Australians realize that their attitude is not acceptable. Hats off to Harbhajan for taking them head on. Just as you try and score the target set by the opposing side, you also need to give back their on field behaviour.

  • Joshua Raja on January 31, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    That was absolutely fantanstic Mukul. Very well written :-)

  • glenn on January 31, 2008, 7:04 GMT

    why is it , after all thats happened during these tests between australia and india . nothing has been said about dinesh kartick behaviour during the 4th test in adelaide, when a close in catch appeal was turned down . dinesh pointed his finger at the umpire and proceded to verbally abuse the batsman clarke while walking off for the tea break.. when he finally stoped his abuse, he spat at clarkes feet. the replay of course showed not out , close but good decision umpire. now that sort of thing is most definatly not in the spirit of the game.. down right disgusting, but not a word from anyone.. not even clarke if that tantrum came from an australian, they would be banned by the icc , acb and condemed by the media and rightfully so.

  • Tim on January 31, 2008, 7:03 GMT

    Except you forgot one thing....Ganguly s the one who said Clarke didn't take the catch yet you neglected to mention he also stood his ground after being obviously caught by Hussey in the last test. He surely knew that was not a bump ball!

  • jase on January 31, 2008, 7:02 GMT

    It may seem balanced, but all it is doing is throwing in a line about the future at the end meant to gloss over the fact this is yet another black and white article, where one side is completely at fault. The Indian spinners have appealled almost Warne-like through the entire series, culminating in a disgraceful appeal by Harbhajan vs Michael Clarke in the last test, which led to an even more disgraceful episode from Dhoni and Kartick. You would think they would not carry on like that after the pillaring in the press Australia got after Sydney. Yet here they were, and not a word about it. When Kartick spat at Clarke's feet as they were walking off, I was amazed. Is he that stupid I thought? I am surprised Clarke didn't do something stupid such was the rude and downright ugly performance by Kartick. How about Ganguls not walking when he was so clearly caught in that last test? Not a word! Australia were silent in the last 2 tests, yet India maintained the rage. Look at your own as well.

  • Dr.Alex Kuruvila on January 31, 2008, 7:00 GMT

    This is in response to the post by carl Jackson "Australia is rapidly moving toward leaving the ICC and forming a new body with other nations that respect the umpires, officials and the rules of the game. India will not be invited to join" What a lot of rubbish. Australia will have to play with themselves and perhaps the umpires. Carl Jackson does not seem to know that majority of Cricket playing nations abhor the Aussies and their antics on the field!

  • Rusty on January 31, 2008, 6:58 GMT

    Indians are the masters of spin, having been cultivating it for centuries, so they think they see it in everyone else. Australians are loudmouths, unsubtle and straightforward. They didn't spin anything. They were simply out-manipulated by a race who value saving face above everything else. This article simply reinforces that.

  • Vis-a-vis on January 31, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    well said Mukul! I still believe that these 4 Aussies planned everything in the dressing room.

  • Dubby49 on January 31, 2008, 6:56 GMT

    My previous post was repeated instead of the continuation.

    Young Indian players should watch the YouTube video of Dravid and Slater and learn how to deal with sledging and abuse in a dignified manner. Retaliating in kind as some of the youngsters like gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa have promised to do is not the answer. The players have two better options: a) Report every abuse to the umps. Let's see how long they maintain a clean rap sheet. b) Better still do what Shwag and partydid to Brad Hogg. Their handling of him has probably resulted in a lifetime ban from test cricket rather than the paltry fine he would have copped from the Match Referee.

  • ani on January 31, 2008, 6:55 GMT

    Well said Mukul, its a lessen to all the aussie players and supporters. Now they will have the tail in between their legs and try to concentrate on cricket.

  • Sristiraj on January 31, 2008, 6:55 GMT

    Wonderfully summed up the whole controversy between India and Australia. Kudos to you Mukul for giving us a deeper insight into the whole drama.

  • keithoz on January 31, 2008, 6:54 GMT

    Interesting article! One wonders why people allow emotions to rule the roost all the time. This is another article of that nature. Both sides were at fault. India has just as bad a name in world cricket as Australia, if you look closely. But for different reasons. Neither can claim the high ground that is talked about!

    The sad thing in all of this is the ICC. Where has it been hiding? Didn't do anything about Gavaskar. Didn't do anything to help Proctor. Didn't supply the judge will all hte history needed. Why? It comes back to politics and that is what is ruining cricket internationally more than Australia winning or any team's attitude. The inept workings of the ICC are unbelieveable. They don't care about anything except money. It rules the roost as far as their decisions are concerned. Until that changes cricket is in for a rocky road ahead.

    So is it all history now. Unfortunately not. The "bad" blood will continue to live within, whether that be in Australians or Indians. Sad!

  • shahzad hanif on January 31, 2008, 6:54 GMT

    It's worth reading Mukul, no matter how strong is the Australian team on the ground yet they need to show respect unto others and should be ready to face to the music otherwise. But I think the remarks from Ponting on this judgement still show glimpses of the stubborness and hegemony of the Aussies,

    Above all, ICC's acceptance of the blame to provide insufficent material towards the case is just an attempt to pacify the Aussies, Instead ICC should have been ready to accept the blame on the whole, as to how they dealt with all this and a simple issue was made complicated by them.

    I must say whatever the case may be , at the end of the day Harbhajan has been proved not to be guilty and it does count above all.

  • Mohamed Inthiquab on January 31, 2008, 6:52 GMT

    Why Mr. Symonds not punished for starting the abusive language during the match and Mr. Proctor (Match referee)for his based dicision and all the fuss created by his unbelievable decision, is he blind, if not he is base and not fit to be referee, to believe charactor like M Clark, R Ponting, and not accepting witness like Sachin.

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 6:51 GMT

    Just reading some of the comments. Seems like the Aussies in here lack common sense.. you just cant please them unless you say bhaji was guilty.

    Keep up the good word.

  • Prabu on January 31, 2008, 6:51 GMT

    Mukul,

    I've been drawing parallels between Dubya and Punter both in their looks and actions and was pleasantly surprised to see you say the same. Excellent article btw...

    Prabu

  • Matt on January 31, 2008, 6:51 GMT

    biased much?!?

    You don't think the rules and regulations of the game should be respected? you don't see a problem in the Indian team (or the board) basically blackmailing cricket australia with the threat of boycott if the decision was not reversed?

    Bhaji had the right of appeal and it seems that he may well have been found innocent by Judge Hansen but the fact that the India team would not have faith in the appeal process and the Indian board and the ICC would tolerate a threat to abandon the tour because of an appeal outcome is unacceptable and threatens the stability of our game.

    In a real court of law no-one can say that "oh if i'm found guilty i'm going home". I have lost all respect for the indian team. Real men should face up to what they have done and accept the consequences and play the game under the laws laid down. Trying to mix the issue in with the past and the Aussie's attitude is just smoke screens, where is the respect for the rules and regulations of the game.

  • Nick on January 31, 2008, 6:50 GMT

    With great power comes great responsibility. India has a great opportunity to become a leader in world cricket, and need to behave like one this includes but is not limited to:

    1) Not forcing ICC decisions with hysterical reactions culminating with the entire Indian team effectively waiting on the tarmac with their bat and ball ready to go home

    2) Blindly defending Singh's behaviour when there seems to be little doubt that he actually said the word monkey.

    3) Burning effigies of anyone and everyone who displeases you.

    4) Covering up embarrassing losses by blaming umpires

    5) Attributing bad umpiring to some sort of insidious Australian plot

    6) Assuming that all actions by "white" nations are motivated at "keeping the brown man down".

    FYI - Cricket Australia decided to downgrade the charge, not the players, they feel betrayed and let down. That's not my opinion, that is straight from a few players I have spoken to.

  • Roger on January 31, 2008, 6:49 GMT

    Ah...the sound of aussie breast beating...that alone was worth the read!

  • Sharahbeel on January 31, 2008, 6:48 GMT

    An article well written, a series of events really well summorised yet incomplete. I feel a point missing, and that is who suffers the brute of the controversy in the end. The Sub-continental teams go out to play cricket in the spirit of the game itself, a phrase very foreign in nature, yet we practice it though none of the creators of it do. I mean to say its cricket,we play, we play to win. Not to stage a drama with unwanted twists and turns of controversy and finally a verdict resulting in loss. That's right!losing, something every competitive team hates,and after all said and done there are no changes in that, Pakistan lost the series in England and India lost one downunder. Well Pakistan had already lost it in England before the controversy but India lost it here with all the playing cards in hand. Let the tides be turned and the end result of all controversies should atleast be once resulting in a Sub-continent side winning!!!

  • dick on January 31, 2008, 6:47 GMT

    mukul - you are wrong when you say that clarke was a bump ball - there is no evidence to support that clear cuit view - clarke believes he caught it , uindians believe he may not - but there is no clear evidnece- go back and check your videos these questions need to be answered : 1.why did habhajan and tendulkar clearly change their position - initially they denied anything was said, and then perhaps miraculously , a week later, they both remembered that harbajhan had said maa ki - which happens to sound like monkey conveniently - 2. wht did harbhajan say " he started it if he said nothing - or a punjabi term? 3. does tendulkar speak punjabi - or does he just know the filth ? 4.why did kumble try and apologise? 5.why would you believe tendulkar who has been convicted of ball tampering aka cheating - ahead of symonds, hayden and clarke- who was accused of not walking the joke is really on the indians who believe that they are in the right and that racism has not occurred

  • Anonymous on January 31, 2008, 6:45 GMT

    It's that simple (and it shows in your fielding). Wake up India! ..........

    I wonder which team's wicket keeper decided to retire after putting down n number of catches..look who's talking about poor fielding!!

  • Bhavesh on January 31, 2008, 6:45 GMT

    Very well articulated, insightful and thought provoking. Good Job my friend.

    I still don't get the Sydney test though....

    1. No penalty for Mr. MaanKi although he provoked Bhajji.

    2. Where is the 5 match ban Mr. Proctor for Punter and Puppy? They both claimed (and in one instance successfully claimed Sourav) grounded catches.

    What about the exessive appealing in the last few overs in Sydney?

    What happens to Mr. Benson? He was a partner in crime with buckeyed Bucky....

    Your views please?

  • Shuja Khan on January 31, 2008, 6:45 GMT

    Okay !! I will go with what Mukul has said. But few questions still remain unanswered. 1-Since when are cricket accusations handled in a normal court of law???? didnt even happen for the Oval incident. why now? If this is true, cant Bhaji sue Symonds for defamation? surely his image was harmed in all this? that wud be that normal reaction. 2-A chartered plane was ready to the indians home? is that true? 3-ODI players being sent to another city? what was that all about?

    I'm not on either side. If the Aussies are famous for sledging, Indians have their share of sledgers with sreeshant as their leader. There is no point is pointing fingers at the aussies. And since when is a 2-1 drubbing in a series a success??? Please.. for the sake of the game.. wake up !!!!

  • Bhavesh on January 31, 2008, 6:44 GMT

    Very well articulated, insightful and thought provoking. Good Job my friend.

    I still don't get the Sydney test though....

    1. No penalty for Mr. MaanKi although he provoked Bhajji.

    2. Where is the 5 match ban Mr. Proctor for Punter and Puppy? They both claimed (and in one instance successfully claimed Sourav) grounded catches.

    What about the exessive appealing in the last few overs in Sydney?

    What happens to Mr. Benson? He was a partner in crime with buckeyed Bucky....

    Your views please?

  • Manoj on January 31, 2008, 6:43 GMT

    Your article is good. It would have been perfect had you addressed why symmonds got let off from the judge. Ideally that clarke should have got punished and what about the match referee..??

  • NT on January 31, 2008, 6:42 GMT

    Australian cricket teams have been behaving badly for years. The Sri Lankan teams who have toured here have been treated even worse than the Indian cricket team. At that time most of the Australian media found no fault with this bad behaviour and even encouraged this as winning was all that mattered to keep everyone relaxed and comfortable( remember John Howard' catch phrase). At that time the media demonised cricketers like Arjuma Ranatunga who had the guts(pun intended)to stand up to the Aussie bullies. It is high time that everyone realized that bad behavior by pack animals is just not tolerable on the field or off it. In this scenario every dog will have his day and worms shall turn. All the incidents I can remember during the last 20 years is always when their are 11 Aussie fieldsman and 2 opposing batsmen who have the potential to change the game. Is there more selfishness, arrogance and cowardice than this. All cricket fans, commentators and reasonable human beings take note.

  • Pritam on January 31, 2008, 6:40 GMT

    Very Objective.

  • Rashid on January 31, 2008, 6:40 GMT

    If Harbhajan said those words he should have got harder punishment, but there is no proof what so ever (the witnesses are not trustworthy). But Australia and its supporters have records of open racism. I mean one should have some shame. Your filth smell from miles and you are telling it smells bad.

  • Dubby49 on January 31, 2008, 6:40 GMT

    Younger players should watch the Youtube video of Dravid and Slater to learn how to respond to unwarranted abuse and invective instead of retaliating. Report every instance to the umpire and see how long the habitual offenders maintain clean rap sheets. I heard Gautam Gambhir on Tv and read an interview with Robin Uthappa that they were prepared to give it back. There's no future in competing with the Aussies for title of Worst Behaved Team. Bhajji replied in kind to Symonds and look what happened. He's the bad guy. It doesn't matter if he was acquitted of racial abuse, he was still punished for offensive behaviour.

  • Ravi Shankarnarayana on January 31, 2008, 6:39 GMT

    Perfect Analysis, Mukul. The Australians would have learnt their lesson and Cricket will get better.

  • jonesy on January 31, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    What utter drivel but i see the Indian bloggers surprisingly agree with you. Why dont you mention the fact that Ganguly has come out and said the Clarke catch carried but he stood to wait for the umpires decision or does saying it was a bump ball make better reading in India. How would you or anyone else that wasn't within 10 metres of that ball know that it was a bump ball are you seriously paid to write this. Face facts you lost a test because a part time bowler took 3 wickets in the last over of a game so go and cry somewhere else.

  • Tom on January 31, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    I have to say, the comments I'm reading seem to miss the point. Sure, the aussies got it stuck up 'em. Woo. Those last two matches, Perth and Adelaide, were good for the state of the game. But Harbhajan... well, if he made a racist slur against Symonds, he should have been strung up and made an example for those in the game that think this is acceptable. The ICC have caved on this one, the Australians have caved and it is despicable of both of them to allow the continuance of the tour to outweigh the need to enforce racial vilification rules. It's a great tragedy we need them at all, but there are some bad eggs, and they are everywhere (in all teams) and they should be made an example of, not get off on a soft plea deal. This isn't about Australian Hegemony vs. Indian Power, this is about racism and the day the powers that be showed us that money was worth more than decent human behaviour.

  • abhinav on January 31, 2008, 6:36 GMT

    Well written ! By the way, Clarke is being seen as the next Australian captain. The legacy seems to be going into worser hands.

  • mj on January 31, 2008, 6:36 GMT

    Well, I am at least glad to see that you are not naive or arrogant enough to think that Harbhajan never used a racial slur. But I am sorry, the sad thing here - almost as sad as the racist comment - is that the Indian team and the BCCI were unwilling to abide by their governing body's decision - the ICC. That's anarchy. Shame on you BCCI. Isn't this going to be fun from now on? Why shouldn't any other team complain to get umpires removed when they don't like the calls? For that matter, we'll just run home like crying babies when we disagree with the ICC. Pathetic. I need to just watch cricket on the field and shut myself off to all the shenanigans off the field. The only thing I am pleased with is that from now on Harbhajan will go down tainted like Barry Bonds - a great player with an asterix. In Harbhajan's case: *racist

  • Francis Alapatt on January 31, 2008, 6:36 GMT

    A well written article. Congrats for explaining a few things. Hope this will be read by the australians and even Peter roebok who was hurt immediately when his former countryman Procter was touched

  • Bully on January 31, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    I cant believe this stuff gets published. Why don't you blame the Australian Cricket Team for the troubles in Kashmir while your at it. Big picture boys is that the ICC is scared to lose the cash cow that is Asian Cricket and would rather sully the good names of reputable people like Mike Proctor, Steve Bucknor and a dozen Australian Cricket players and umpires along the way. Bad decisions in Australian pale into insignificance compared to decisions that were made in Asia during years gone by. There is a reason Nuetral umpires were brought into the game and it had nothing to do with Australian decision making. So when pointing the fingers at the people who have been bringing the game into disrepute, look in your own back yard first.

  • SASIKUMAR on January 31, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    Let us concentrate on Harbhajan's behaviour on field alone. What he did was utter nonsense not in line with a national player's behaviour. Taking a few hundreds of wickets or a few thousands of runs will never make a good player. You are playing under the tri color for a great nation and has to uphold values above all.

    By becoming a party in the ugly incident Sachin also lost some glitter, I should add.

  • CapnHem on January 31, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    What a relief to read something that is closer to the truth than anything that has been said and written so far about this whole affair! I have been following cricket news closely and here's what I think started the whole thing rolling. Andrew Symonds made a comment when Australia toured India in the recent 7 one day series. This is what he said about India's celebration after winning the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup. "Something has been sparked inside of me, watching them carry on over the last few days," Symonds told AAP. "We have had a very successful side and I think watching how we celebrate and how they celebrate, I think we have been pretty humble in the way we have gone about it"

    This sure sparked something in the Indian fans...

  • mandeep singh on January 31, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    it was worth reading it.

  • RAVI on January 31, 2008, 6:33 GMT

    Great article. A very balanced view of the whole saga.

  • P Lehmann on January 31, 2008, 6:32 GMT

    Amazingly written. Should be a mandated read for all Australian and Indian players and officials involved.

  • Gurpreet on January 31, 2008, 6:32 GMT

    Well done. You are spot on, on the whole issue.

  • bandy on January 31, 2008, 6:31 GMT

    A wonderful post. A very balanced and clear take on the whole saga down under. I like the way you use the phrase "old firm of Kumble & Tendulkar". Kind of adds to their statesmanesque presence in he team. Also a brilliant last paragraph - The 3rd and 4th tests saw civility - a refreshing change for the game on the whole. Keep writing.....

  • Paul Lehmann on January 31, 2008, 6:31 GMT

    Amazingly written. Should be a mandated read for all Australian and Indian players and officials involved.

  • Farhan on January 31, 2008, 6:30 GMT

    Sorry but this is not the best take on the matter or an impartial analysis. Far from it.

    In this long drawn out tirade against the australian team (although they deserve it), you fail to mention that whether Harbhajan said "teri maa ki" or monkey - he was also sledging! And Sreesanth is worse. You can't put all the blame of sledging on the Australians, the Indian team is also guilty of this - 2nd only to the Australians.

    So even though the charges have been rightfully dropped, I wouldnt celebrate it as a moral victory.

  • Ranx on January 31, 2008, 6:30 GMT

    I think this whole tour has turned in to a war between the Australian and Indian media, with both sides fanning the flames then trying to out do each each in expressions of moral outrage. I would be much happier to have the scores reported. If I want opinion on the game, I'll find a mate and a beer. Personally I will be much happier when this tour is over. It may have been better had India just gone home for there is very little positive left in this farce

  • good article on January 31, 2008, 6:30 GMT

    well done, you have got the truth right. The Aussies should read this.

  • Dubby49 on January 31, 2008, 6:29 GMT

    This is of a piece with all the biased reporting and commentating seen and heard on both sides of the firing line.

    Granted the Indians were diddled out of the Sydney Test. Granted that Mike Procter is an ass. (His comment "I know all about racism being South African" is like Adolf Eichmann being an expert on anti-semitism) and that his conduct and decision at the initial hearing were inept andincompetent at best and biased and racist at worst. Granted that visiting teams get the worst of all officiating Down Under. You still can't stage a sit down strike and declare to the world that you won't move unless there is an acquittal. The verdict was given, an appeal was lodged and that's it. Wait for the appellate hearing and put your case as strongly and forcefully as possible. Kumble & Sachin are fine players and gentlemen and tremendous role models. However, in this instance they have fallen short of their own high standards.

    to be contd.

  • Dubby49 on January 31, 2008, 6:29 GMT

    This is of a piece with all the biased reporting and commentating seen and heard on both sides of the firing line.

    Granted the Indians were diddled out of the Sydney Test. Granted that Mike Procter is an ass. (His comment "I know all about racism being South African" is like Adolf Eichmann being an expert on anti-semitism) and that his conduct and decision at the initial hearing were inept andincompetent at best and biased and racist at worst. Granted that visiting teams get the worst of all officiating Down Under. You still can't stage a sit down strike and declare to the world that you won't move unless there is an acquittal. The verdict was given, an appeal was lodged and that's it. Wait for the appellate hearing and put your case as strongly and forcefully as possible. Kumble & Sachin are fine players and gentlemen and tremendous role models. However, in this instance they have fallen short of their own high standards.

    to be contd.

  • Liam on January 31, 2008, 6:28 GMT

    So the fact that he said Harbi probably did racially vilify Symonds is OK So the fact that the Indian team carried on like small children and threatened to boycott the tour because of poor umpiring is OK. As for the rubbish about the disputed catch by Clarke i am yet to see an angle that proves it was a bump ball, and if you want to see a much worse example look on youtube at Dhoni claiming a catch off Peterson bounced about 40 cm in front and he claimed it. (Ponting had completed the catch when the ball was grounded and never lost control of it.) I also did not see this level of rubbish occuring when India got the rub of the decisions in the Lords test last year The bizzare whitewashing of the indian teams behaviour is unbeleivable, where was the outcry when Yuvraj did not walk in the first test, or how about Dhoni calling catch every time a spinner bowled a ball The question that should be asked is if the situations had been reversed would the discussions be the same.I think not

  • ajayt on January 31, 2008, 6:26 GMT

    please find a way to get this into an australian newspaper. good stuff.

  • Steven on January 31, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    "leaving the Indian team in a state of thin-skinned rage at being robbed" The Indian team is always thin-skinned. Did you see Symonds or Hussey say a single word about being given out incorrectly in Perth ? Did Australia say a word about India appealing when Clarke hadn't hit it in Adelaide, they were quick to claim that Gilchrist could tell Dravid hadn't hit it in Sydney. And then proceed to spit verbally at Clarke and the umpire Bowden after he gave the correct decision Its cricket, what goes around comes around, India need to grow up and realise this. I'm also amazed at the general public, cricket players,offcials and media that can't tell the difference between sledging and racism. Heres a quick lesson "Its a bat not a fishing rod" = sledging "big monkey" = racism Imagine if an Australian player called Singh a monkey!!! Imagine if an Australian bowler celebrated like Singh did when he got Ponting out!! "fielder had confidently claimed a bump ball catch"=your opinion=wrong

  • Kranthi on January 31, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    Nice one... a big post made simple and interesting with its content. Hope Team India continues its dominance off field and surpasses Australia's dominance on field.

  • Warwick Todd on January 31, 2008, 6:25 GMT

    A well written article that makes some good points. As an Aussie, interesting to read a thoughtful Indian take on the situation.

    However, I disagree with your comments about the Indian board (and players). I think the conduct of the BCCI and the Indian players in threatening to pull out was disgraceful and compromised the fair carriage of justice. The right decision seems to have been made in the end, no thanks to the petulant display of the Indian board and players. I think your last paragraph is erroneous in its conclusions and an equally good outcome could well have been arrived at without childish threats to call off the tour.

    Nevertheless, hopefully all countries (not just Australia and India) can learn from this episode and improve their conduct in the future. I know many Aussies are sick of some of the antics of their team, and frankly cricket would be better off with less sledgers and more gentlemen.

  • chuckingmuralimakesmesick on January 31, 2008, 6:24 GMT

    Your naivety when it comes to world-class sport betrays the fact that, as a sub-continental, you are unaware of what goes on in the modern professional arena. Though you profess a certain dislike of the english rule of cricket, you want to uphold the 19th century english amateur ethos. Why in excess of 1 billion sub-continentals can be consistently outperformed by 20 million Australians at olympics after olympics is testament to the fact that australia has an effective, efficent sporting program, India far less so. Rather than admit we live in the 21st century and adopt a realistic approach to professional sport, you espouse Victorian age ideals. India will continue to be a diletante sporting nation when it should be a powerhouse if you people continue thinking this way. Professional sportspeople perform for the public for a living, it's their job. Sub-continental cricketers have a poor work ethic. It's that simple (and it shows in your fielding). Wake up India!

  • Geoff on January 31, 2008, 6:23 GMT

    Mukul's article it is a very Indian centric piece of writing. While I do not condone some of the actions of the Australian cricketers, the Indian cricketers are not blameless. There were Indian players not walking straight away when they were clearly out, plus I believe that they also did their share of sledging. After the debacle of the Harbajan appeal it is clear that the ICC do not run world cricket, it is run by the BCCI contrary to what Mukul would have us believe. The BCCI is interested in only one thing - MONEY and will use their muscle to achieve their own ends with no thought about the game of cricket. Over the years teams from the sub-continent have endeavoured to get their own way. Umpires have been hung out to dry by India, Pakistan & Sri Lanka. I refer to Emmerson, Hair & Bucknor because they tried to apply the rules. Pity that India's bluff was not called. A good sportsman does not threaten to go home if he doesn't get his way. India is not a good sportsman.

  • sekhar on January 31, 2008, 6:22 GMT

    I had read an earlier blog by you that said, "If Harbhajan said it, ban him for life". I hope you have read Judge Hanson's judgement that said that even if Harbhajan said it, he would not have been able to punish him because of the provocation.

    I hope you realize where you were wrong and where the judge was right. It is a subtle point that many people were just not getting and thanks to the judge for putting it so succinctly.

  • Gibbowr on January 31, 2008, 6:22 GMT

    Superb perspective on the Shift in World Cricket. Thank you. I am concerned about the character of the Australian Cricket Team. Led by a captain who has been caught out lying about serious issues (eg: covering up for Symonds drunken omission against Bangladesh), the team is caught in a horrifying whirlpool of deceit. Excessive and aggressive appeals are deplorable in their own right; but when the shrieking is coupled to an obvious "not-out" appeal, then the integrity of the team is tarnished. LBW appeals from short square leg??? Cover point calls for a snick behind??? However, with each successful immoral appeal and immoral decision not to walk, Australian cricketers trade integrity for success. Once forfeited, it will be hard to regain. It is a great sadness to see the retirement of Adam Gilchrist. A model of integrity to generations of young Australians. Yet he was scorned by his team mates for his attitude. Long live Gilly.

  • KK Nair on January 31, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    I have read almost all recent articles published about Australian Cricket and Harbhajan episode. But what Mukul written here is the most suitable conclusion of the whole matter. Thanks Mukul, we expect more such articles in future

  • Aumlan on January 31, 2008, 6:19 GMT

    W O W !! Beautifully written.

  • Naresh on January 31, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    1. Hansen: "I hope international cricketers don;t share your opinion" to Symonds when he gave that stupid reason for starting the slanging match. Very good.

    2. He really mucked Clarke as you say. Excellent.

    Both these were a result of carrying the mythical "mateship" of Australia to an extreme. Ponting has in the past said he knows "Symonds needs to belong" - so it can be said that its not Bhajji, but Symonds that has a history("stand up fo rmy mate"). And being the only colored player on the Oz team, obviosuly, he is precious to his "mates".

    Frankly, we are sick of this OZ myth about mateship - as also "mental distintegration", "baggy green". Its time they also stopped all that crap talk about "spirit of cricket agreement made by Steve Waugh" - its just plain spin (much like the matehisp myth).

    Oh, and about Bhajji giving a sendoff to Ponting in 1998 (or whenever), I do remember seeing Ponting giving a big shove to Bhajji - nobody talks about it. Kangaroo courts as you say

  • wally on January 31, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    interesting read, although the comparisons between Ricky Ponting and George Bush were a bit much, unsubstantiated and unjustified as were the implications that the Iraq war influenced Indians opinions and views of Australian cricketers. And it was apparently in that "charged context" that the current series controversies evolved, I don't believe it totally undermines the article by any means but shows that emotions were running high in the author and looking to exaggerate the prior feelings that Australia and India had before the current series.

  • possum on January 31, 2008, 6:17 GMT

    What a complete load of rubbish. This Indian team has been nothing short of a disgrace. They whigne and complain at every opportunity and will tell the world that they have the strongest batting line up in the histroy of cricket, yet have not achieved anywhere near the results of the Austrailian TEAM. It is a sad day that the ACB caved in to the cries of a bunch of sook's. You say that the cricketing establishment is agianst the Indian team and that umpiring is bad. Answer this, How many Indian umpires are on the elite panel. Answer 0. They are not good enough and this current Indian team is not good enough.

  • arya on January 31, 2008, 6:16 GMT

    Good article. I hear that australians are fuming over this verdict. Pray why? It was symmonds word against harbhajan. And tendulkar's word against hayden,ponting,symonds,clarke. The former has a cleaner image then all the 4 combined(ask any non indian even about this. No one likes the aussies) So without proof indicting harbhajan on charges of racism is plain horrible. Now the second part - when aussies use the m**f, bastard etc why do they assume these words are not as bad as a racial slur. Who gave them the right to decide what is sledging and what is not. They started a war with guns and are now complaining that the opposition has come in with tanks. They should not be tolerated. Either you shut up and play the gentlemens game or play like men and take back what the opposition dishes out(which is what i like in a mens game).

  • ssjumbo on January 31, 2008, 6:14 GMT

    The Aus/Eng used their positions to beat the westindies by bringing in the 2 bouncer rule and to let their players get away with bad behaviour. And to call reverse swing as cheating since they didn't understand and now the same guys are expert commentators on reverse swing. Not one apology to the Pak bowlers. Now India is using their money. Neither is fair. Like we say to Australia, if you want to give it, be ready to take it. One can only use the weapons they have.

  • David on January 31, 2008, 6:13 GMT

    It's interesting that you have no trouble convicting Clarke of being 'slippery' (by which I read 'having intentionally done the wrong thing') on the basis of your own opinion and yet you are not willing to convict Harbhajan on the same basis.

    J. Hansen's judgement makes interesting reading. In it, contrary to what you've written here, it states that neither in criminal law nor in sports tribunals is independent corroborating evidence strictly necessary in order to form a guilty verdict. Procter was perfectly entitled to convict based on the evidence presented to him if he felt the burden of proof had been satisfied. He's a decent man who works hard and it is sad to see him continually denigrated here. Believe it or not, he is not part of some anglo conspiracy to ruin your lives. There isn't one.

    It was Sharad Pawar who threatened to call the team home to India if Harbhajan wasn't found not guilty.

    Can we all please forget Sydney now? All this anger from all sides is a waste.

  • BJ on January 31, 2008, 6:13 GMT

    Sensible and impartial, kiran.. are you kidding? I love how the author glossed over some of the disgraceful and hypocritical behaviour of the Indian team in the tests after Sydney. What a joke.

    Stick to writing fiction, Mukul, because fact is not your forte.

  • Rajeev on January 31, 2008, 6:12 GMT

    Have been wondering for a long time why no one in the media played on the looks of Ponting and Bush. Certainly, they resemble each other in more than one way. However, it should be noted that Ponting is one of best in his profession. To mention about Bush, I may need to borrow from the vocabulary of Aussie cricketers.

  • david on January 31, 2008, 6:10 GMT

    For the most part a fair and evenly balanced piece. To be so uncharitable to Procter is in my opinion over the top. Surely Pakistan for example knew they were likely to forfeit the Oval match last year when they refused to return to the ground. Likewise it seems almost certain that Harbijan did use the monkey slur as suggested, and maybe if the Indian team want to take the moral high ground on the issues of the Sydney test he should come clean. Never mind a bit of sledging, are we to believe that a few words on the field are somehow a greater issue in the game then bringing 2 right hand gloves out to bat? or throwing a tantrum and threatening to go home if we don't get our way. I would also ad that if what you say is true and the BCCI caved into player demands for no reason but money then cricket is in greater trouble then your saying. If every time an Indian is upset the BCCI acts as it has, regardless of truth or the potential damage caused, then God help Cricket.

  • Pete on January 31, 2008, 6:09 GMT

    Thanks, that helped me get inside the Indian mindset without making the Indian mindset sound absolutely unequivocally correct. I think I agree with most of what you said, although I think you don't find the Indian brinkmanship repulsive enough, and I feel the Indian/world view of Aussie sledging is only half true. But its perception that counts. The Aussies need to clean up their act, I am particularly disappointed with Andrew Symonds, previously a favourite of mine. Hopefully this decision is the end of the matter.

  • GlaCial on January 31, 2008, 6:08 GMT

    Yet another article which draws more issues into account to deflect the single issue raised. We should not be arguing if we like the way Ponting and his men go about playing cricket, the quality of the umpires, or accusing players of being unreliable, or cheats or liars. We should not be judging Harbhajan character based on previous indiscretions. We should not be worried about who runs world cricket, or the motives of the BCCI or CA. The single issue is simply do we accept racism or racist comments? Many will agree that Harbhajan most likely called Symonds a monkey. Many will agree calling Symonds a monkey is a racist comment. Yet few seem to think that the comment was unacceptable. Symonds and the rest of the Australian team are vilified for trying to abide by the laws of the game and stamp out racism. Meanwhile Harbhajans actions are justified. Sadly all this has shown to me is that we, the world cricket community are not ready to say no to racism.

  • Anil on January 31, 2008, 6:07 GMT

    gook one mukul ... i guess the australian media is yet to read the full transcript of the judgement or just too cocky / arrogant (as usual) to accept the truth ...they did not see this coming in their wildest dreams...and if this sickening mental degradation goes away from the game, it will be a boon ... and cricket will be the ultimate winner. Australian system may be good in producing good cricketers....but first they need to teach them to be good humans.... i like their cricketing skills...but i have absolutely no respect for any of them ... and that is a shame

  • John on January 31, 2008, 6:06 GMT

    Thanks Mukul. I do wish to take issue however with your view on Michael Clarke. First you say it was a 'dodgy catch' then 'bump ball catch'. The first is in doubt, the second seems definitive. The camerawork is unclear on Clarke's catch. You cannot be sure it was not a fair catch and OK to claim it. He can't know that the video will be inconclusive. You, and many others, assume he cheated but have no evidence for it. The video of Dhoni's claimed catch of Pietersen is conclusive - where is your 'slippery' name-calling of Dhoni - or he is permitted to be in error? Clarke looked foolish standing his ground but no less so than Harbhajan when clean bowled by Pietersen. So can Harbhajan be trusted? I also fail to understand why stnading your ground off a big nick is worse than standing your ground off a fine nick. At least you will be given out. Somehow Clarke is 'slippery' but a batsman 'standing his ground' on a fine nick is merely a non-walker exercising his right to an umpire's decision

  • Punjabijatt on January 31, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    “Justice Hansen did not have the full history of Harbhajan Singh's previous code of conduct breaches”

    Justice Hansen would have delivered the same verdict, even if he has the full history of Harbhajan Singh.

    In incident Harbhajan was provoked, I believe and I think every one in cricket world does the same; whole bungle was plan gone wrong by Australian cricket. Over and above there is no proof of charges.

    Mr. Speed could you please, arrange a hearing for provocation, which was done by Andrew Symonds and supported by Ricky, Mathew and Michael.

    I believe there was no bungle, but it is cry over cry again. Even by!

    Win in sport is not above all, Important is playing game and taking part in it fairly

    Ishwinder Singh

  • Hari on January 31, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    Thank you Mukul for succinctly capturing the core essence and emotion behind the whole sydneygate episode. I hope ponting and the rest of the grumpies read this...Way to go!

  • Rajan on January 31, 2008, 6:04 GMT

    This is one of the best articles I have read on the Harbhajan saga. Great job, Mukul. Rajan

  • Anjo on January 31, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    A very hard-hitting article Mukul, but it does raise a few fair points. Its interesting to note the sharp polarization between cricket fans, each side's strong endorsement of one "story" while rejecting the other. But here are some things I think are unfair: 1) You shouldn't categorize one side as being Australian (Western) and the other being Indian (Asian) and justify further statements based on these classifications. Its unfair to say "Indians don't think much of Ponting..." etc; with all due respect, I don't think you will ever be qualified to speak on behalf of every Indian. The same applies to references on anything "Australian" 2) You have compounded this (quite deliberately) by bringing in the Bush comparison. Apart from being petty, how would you react to being compared to a terrorist for sympathizing with the Indian team's cause? As with many sharp disagreements today, one wonders whether if it will ever be understood that pointless one-sided harangues ever achieve anything?

  • Abid on January 31, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    Its a great take on this whole affair, the whole world including every Aussie knows what happened in Sydney is utter crap and if we reverse the decision India would have won the series 2-1, I hope and pray more journalists can take a impartial view on the whole episode and clear some air...

  • Mahesh on January 31, 2008, 6:00 GMT

    Well said, Mukul. If you have not done so already, please send this to Mr. Peter Roebuck. Lastly, I think the Aussie bullies did get away even now! From what I read Symonds started this thing with Harbhajan in Sydney and while the latter was fined 50% of his pay, the former was not punished at all! I wish someone point this to ICC (BCCI?, please wake up!).

  • Ravishankar on January 31, 2008, 5:59 GMT

    - Well written, to the point, balanced and succinct - Rashid Lafif incident is well worth mentioning (claiming a catch), so did ponting and clarke

  • Zuhdi Hussain-Sri Lanka on January 31, 2008, 5:58 GMT

    i have a lot of respect for the jornalists of cricinfo (of which i'm a big fan of). i am very impressed with Sambit Bal and thought he is the best of the lot. Well, Mukul Kesavan will give him a good run for his money. this is an excellent piece of journalistic analysis. i only thought Sambit and maybe Roebuck were capable of such. i'm a Sri Lankan and was keenly watching cricinfo for the AUD-IND series coverage and loved the whole thing. keep up the good work guys. btw, i agree and hope that things will improve in the future (i still feel hard done by the sanga decision from rudi). i wanted SL to end the aussie run of wins and do it before india (we have our friendly rivalries too). look forward to the ODI's.

  • Ravi on January 31, 2008, 5:58 GMT

    we all know what happened in australia and your comparsion of cricket controversy to iraq war is disgusting and stupid.

  • pathanjali on January 31, 2008, 5:57 GMT

    one of the best articles on the issue. Specially about BCCI. It would have totally caved in and left the players high and dry. One thing I couldn't understand is why the term "monkey" is racial vilification. Is it really a racial slur in Australia? Nevertheless, great article.

  • pathanjali on January 31, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    one of the best articles on the issue. Specially about BCCI. It would have totally caved in and left the players high and dry. One thing I couldn't understand is why the term "monkey" is racial vilification. Is it really a racial slur in Australia? Nevertheless, great article.

  • Rajesh, USA on January 31, 2008, 5:56 GMT

    Finally an article from you that I totally agree with. Without Tendulkar, our board would not have fought for Harbhajan nor they would have fired Greg Chappell.

    It also needs to be said that Bhajji issue has totally overshadowed the adventures of Mr Bucknor and Mr Benson at Sydney. The score line says 2-1 but the best Australia deserved was 1-1 and quite possibly a 1-2. People can say all about losing three wickets in an over, but momentum plays a big role in any sport. Had the umpiring been fair, India would have been on top right from day one at Sydney.

  • SM on January 31, 2008, 5:55 GMT

    Great article. One point- out of approximately 1.3 billion citizens in cricket playing nations, why is it not possible to select about 20 world class umpires and a similar number of match referees. Why is it that inept, useless officials like Bucknor and Procter keep surfacing all over the place, time and time again? Umpires and referees are paid decent wages. Even with a really tough "entrance exam" I am sure hundreds of worthy would-be umpires would emerge from India and other countries. One gets sick of seeing the same faces at all the matches. And who says a match referee has to be a retired ex-test cricketer?

  • Dean on January 31, 2008, 5:55 GMT

    Further to my length-restricted post previously, the other issues I couldnt fit into my response;

    - The facts are that the Australians have been reported much less than most other teams in the last few years, whereas India is one of the worst. Attempting to justify or ignore this fact by categorising what is ok and what is not ok is clearly not your job. It is for the ICC to determine what is ok, and what is not, and based on their rules the Australians have not transgressed at all in the last year (India 7 reports). Both teams were guilty of overappealing and not walking this series.

    - I think the comments about the link between Ponting and George Bush are at best tenuous and at worst, misleading and sensationalistic.

    Both teams had moments that shouldnt have been proud of. That said, the guilty should be shared equally, not all on Australia.

    Perhaps what needs to be considered is whether the trouble that has followed India in recent years is a coincidence or not.

  • Ankur on January 31, 2008, 5:55 GMT

    Can't say how delighted I am to read this post. Not that India's actions have been vindicated but some important things have been laid out in clear. Thanks for the article.

  • Derek D'Souza on January 31, 2008, 5:54 GMT

    Extremely well-written and thoroughly unbiased as compared to some of the articles posted even by former cricketers. I usually read articles and never comment on them , but Mukul ,I had to write somethin about this one .....absolutely fantastic and impressive

  • CF on January 31, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    Just like all the other Indian reporter, you say that the Indian players did nothing wrong , but everything that the Aussie's did was wrong, wake up to yourself. If the shoe was on the other foot and you were an Australian would be be arguing that the Indians were the one's who were not playing in the right spirit of the game, of which it did happen on more than one occasion. India is just jealous that they cannot beat a great team like Australia who have lost some of their stars and are not quite as good a team as they were last year, but still India could not beat them, To me India has failed.

  • Shreeharsh Deshmukh on January 31, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    Very well said Mukul. One other thing I would like to add - the Aussies are just plain irritated (maybe scared is too strong a word) that the Indian team has been challanging them over the last 8 years or so. The Sydney test showed how desperate they had become to win against their best opponent.

  • Vish Padmanabhan on January 31, 2008, 5:51 GMT

    Bravo Mukul, Spot on and well written. I have lived in Aust for 35 years and it's fascinating to see how the Aussie press, Channel nine, CA and certain members of the ICC are so defensive and clumsy in their efforts to cope with a new world order based on meritocracy and finacial reality.

  • Peter Snmith on January 31, 2008, 5:50 GMT

    Hello Mukul Great article. Two main points which I felt have not been covered by anyone so far. 1. all this would not have happened, if Steve had referred the third umpire. Why have a third umpire is my question. As crucial a series as this, surely Steve would have known that and he is getting on in age, one should definetley consider the option of using the third umpire. Why did he not refer to this option is my question. External pressure is something that australia puts on these umpires during home series. I have followed most of the series from New Zealand, and all visiting sides get the same result every year. What is being done about it.

    Question 2. through times gone by, the rest of the cricketing worls knows what the australian teams have dished out to visiting players on field. There have been far worse things than calling a player an animal. This seems rather school boyish. Why is the complaint of the australian team being upheld to set a preceident using a visiting team

  • Vijay on January 31, 2008, 5:47 GMT

    Mukul,

    Good one. You have exactly reflected the mind of a cricket fan. I really doubt that the Australian cricket team will learn lessons from this series. They will try to find some ways to sledge the other teams and which can be termed as friendly talk.

  • carl Jackson on January 31, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    What a ridiculous blog. It provides further evidence that there is no future in cricket between Australia and India. Australia is rapidly moving toward leaving the ICC and forming a new body with other nations that respect the umpires, officials and the rules of the game. India will not be invited to join

  • Vijay on January 31, 2008, 5:46 GMT

    Mukul,

    Good one. You have exactly reflected the mind of a cricket fan. I really doubt that the Australian cricket team will learn lessons from this series. They will try to find some ways to sledge the other teams and which can be terms as friendly talk.

  • Rick on January 31, 2008, 5:44 GMT

    I think this is a fair charecterisation of the events. when Australia saw the going tough on the third day, they resorted to this. It was designed to rattle Harbhajan and the Indian team. I mean Brett Lee can defend himself. he did not have any problem with harbhajan slapping him on the back side, people do it all the time.

  • Jeremy on January 31, 2008, 5:44 GMT

    More tiresome tripe from a subcontinental journalist with an obvious agenda of attempting to legitimize the appalling actions of the BCCI. For every point mentioned in this article, you can find opposing views with an equal level of legitimacy to that which you state here.

    Thanks for sensationalist journalism at it's best. As if there's not enough of that going around.

  • Dean on January 31, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    While this is a largley a good piece of writing, I still have some concerns about the balance of it, or lack thereof, specificially in relation to the 2nd test.

    -Michael Clarke is still convinced that he took the catch, which was the underlying part of the agreement-was the player sure. He's not the first and wont be the last. -The umpiring favoured Australia, but it wasnt as lopsided as it seemed. Laxman and Sachin's non-LBWs for example. (not to mention the balancing of poor decisions against Aust in the 3rd/4th tests) -Pontings catch that was given not out was debated post-Test as to whether the fact it touched the ground made it a non-catch. The definition of controlling his body was the main issue, and not clear cut. He was within his rights to appeal. -Michael Clarke should have walked, no question. But so should have Ganguly-and Harbhajan when bowled! by Pieterson previously. -By agreement, Ponting had to report Harbhajan once the accusation was made. Not his fault.

  • ben on January 31, 2008, 5:41 GMT

    Well put and oh well, I am sure there's going to be a few replies here that do not agree. What's this about gentlements agreement regarding catches or anything else for that matter. Since when did the players make catching decisions. Sporting or not, rules are rules. What are the umpires there for, getting a tan!!!! ok, if there's technology involved in making decisions, so be it, third umpire. Not the players. I don't see sledging/fighting of any sort in soccer, well yellow carded and maybe red carded. Cricket is different, sledging directed to an opposing player should be dealt with the umpire and put a stop to it, I don't see other countries sledging as much as the Australians do. oops I forgot, that must be a new ruling in the games that applies to only Australia. I am sure other countries do, but hey, OZ is ranked no1 for a long time now. As for GILCHRIST, now there's a sportsman, I will surely miss him. Not just a great cricketer, but a sportsman too.Good luck to both in IND & OZ

  • sunil on January 31, 2008, 5:41 GMT

    what a remarkable article by mukul.this is a smart reply to the blind aussies media

  • Kumar on January 31, 2008, 5:41 GMT

    If BCCI flexed its muscles on its own- then I am proud to say that I am an Indian. The Aussies can make all the noises they want. They get personal and they are like a bunch of kids who want to win at any rate. If we are to uphold the law the second test result should be banned from the records.

    It is their modus operandi from the days I started watching cricket. They take the main guy in oppsoition and then mold an attack on the guy - first using the stupid press - Muthiah, Shoaib, Prabhakar, are few examples. Then they take the attack to the field. Using the umpires, referees who shamelessley go along with the Aussies.

    The tourist will be playing against 20 players in the ground and a lot more out of the ground. If the Aussies had won the 17th they would let go of this issue. But now they are hurt and are bound to cry for some more time.

    Let them wake up and smell the coffee. IF there is no India or Indian players the game is dead and we are positively arrognat about it.

  • Ritesh on January 31, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    The article is a precise summary of facts and emotions... though the comparison with George Bush is slightly hyperbole....

    Interestingly, Aussies lost the appeal because they fought it like India of past - amotionally; They didn't have facts and evidence and just ganged up saying "We heard our mate being abused" and the versions of different Aussie players were inconsistent.

    They could do better to present facts and separate emotions from it.... India has learnt the art now... probably after Virender Sehwag appealing & Tendulkar ball tampering incident in S. Africa

  • Siddharth on January 31, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    Great post Mukul. Apart from Michael Clarke being called an unreliable witness, I would also add Hansen's damning of Andrew Symonds attitude of "Test match is no place to be friendly". It just goes to show what a low-life Symonds is.

  • Dallas Dude on January 31, 2008, 5:34 GMT

    Excellent column!! Absolutely spot-on. Cricket will move on from this controversy to see better days ahead.

  • satish on January 31, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    welcome back mukul.

  • kiran bhanushali on January 31, 2008, 5:28 GMT

    Now that is a sensible no partial post unlike some of the utter crap being dished out in the australian media or the indian media for that matter

  • Arjun Agarwal on January 31, 2008, 5:27 GMT

    Very well written, Mukul. One of the few articles I've read on this entire affair that I agree wholeheartedly with. The reaction of the Australian and, to a lesser extent, the British press is a reaction to an a shift in the balance of power in cricket towards Asia, not outrage at the recent decision. Kudos to Judge Hansen for calling a spade a spade and saying in Sydney, it was Symonds who broke the agreement made in India. For the first time in a long while, Australia are seeing a team challenge them both on and off the ground and they don't like it. More power to Team India, and, as you put it, the old firm of Kumble and Tendulkar.

  • Arjun Agarwal on January 31, 2008, 5:27 GMT

    Very well written, Mukul. One of the few articles I've read on this entire affair that I agree wholeheartedly with. The reaction of the Australian and, to a lesser extent, the British press is a reaction to an a shift in the balance of power in cricket towards Asia, not outrage at the recent decision. Kudos to Judge Hansen for calling a spade a spade and saying in Sydney, it was Symonds who broke the agreement made in India. For the first time in a long while, Australia are seeing a team challenge them both on and off the ground and they don't like it. More power to Team India, and, as you put it, the old firm of Kumble and Tendulkar.

  • harty on January 31, 2008, 5:24 GMT

    The best take ever on this whole affair. Worth spending the time on your article dude. Rock on.

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  • harty on January 31, 2008, 5:24 GMT

    The best take ever on this whole affair. Worth spending the time on your article dude. Rock on.

  • Arjun Agarwal on January 31, 2008, 5:27 GMT

    Very well written, Mukul. One of the few articles I've read on this entire affair that I agree wholeheartedly with. The reaction of the Australian and, to a lesser extent, the British press is a reaction to an a shift in the balance of power in cricket towards Asia, not outrage at the recent decision. Kudos to Judge Hansen for calling a spade a spade and saying in Sydney, it was Symonds who broke the agreement made in India. For the first time in a long while, Australia are seeing a team challenge them both on and off the ground and they don't like it. More power to Team India, and, as you put it, the old firm of Kumble and Tendulkar.

  • Arjun Agarwal on January 31, 2008, 5:27 GMT

    Very well written, Mukul. One of the few articles I've read on this entire affair that I agree wholeheartedly with. The reaction of the Australian and, to a lesser extent, the British press is a reaction to an a shift in the balance of power in cricket towards Asia, not outrage at the recent decision. Kudos to Judge Hansen for calling a spade a spade and saying in Sydney, it was Symonds who broke the agreement made in India. For the first time in a long while, Australia are seeing a team challenge them both on and off the ground and they don't like it. More power to Team India, and, as you put it, the old firm of Kumble and Tendulkar.

  • kiran bhanushali on January 31, 2008, 5:28 GMT

    Now that is a sensible no partial post unlike some of the utter crap being dished out in the australian media or the indian media for that matter

  • satish on January 31, 2008, 5:29 GMT

    welcome back mukul.

  • Dallas Dude on January 31, 2008, 5:34 GMT

    Excellent column!! Absolutely spot-on. Cricket will move on from this controversy to see better days ahead.

  • Siddharth on January 31, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    Great post Mukul. Apart from Michael Clarke being called an unreliable witness, I would also add Hansen's damning of Andrew Symonds attitude of "Test match is no place to be friendly". It just goes to show what a low-life Symonds is.

  • Ritesh on January 31, 2008, 5:37 GMT

    The article is a precise summary of facts and emotions... though the comparison with George Bush is slightly hyperbole....

    Interestingly, Aussies lost the appeal because they fought it like India of past - amotionally; They didn't have facts and evidence and just ganged up saying "We heard our mate being abused" and the versions of different Aussie players were inconsistent.

    They could do better to present facts and separate emotions from it.... India has learnt the art now... probably after Virender Sehwag appealing & Tendulkar ball tampering incident in S. Africa

  • Kumar on January 31, 2008, 5:41 GMT

    If BCCI flexed its muscles on its own- then I am proud to say that I am an Indian. The Aussies can make all the noises they want. They get personal and they are like a bunch of kids who want to win at any rate. If we are to uphold the law the second test result should be banned from the records.

    It is their modus operandi from the days I started watching cricket. They take the main guy in oppsoition and then mold an attack on the guy - first using the stupid press - Muthiah, Shoaib, Prabhakar, are few examples. Then they take the attack to the field. Using the umpires, referees who shamelessley go along with the Aussies.

    The tourist will be playing against 20 players in the ground and a lot more out of the ground. If the Aussies had won the 17th they would let go of this issue. But now they are hurt and are bound to cry for some more time.

    Let them wake up and smell the coffee. IF there is no India or Indian players the game is dead and we are positively arrognat about it.

  • sunil on January 31, 2008, 5:41 GMT

    what a remarkable article by mukul.this is a smart reply to the blind aussies media