Samir Chopra July 4, 2008

India's Australian affair

Outside cricket, Indians still knew little about Australia
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Reading Michael 'Fox' Jeh's post on 'Australia's Indian affair' has prompted me to type in a little excerpt from Mihir Bose's A History of Indian Cricket:

This [the 1959-60 tour] was the third visit by the Australians in nine years. On their two previous visits they had played eight tests, won four, and also won both series comfortably. But despite the batsmen and their bowlers proving vastly superior to the Indians they were always the most eagerly awaited of cricket visitors. Outside cricket, Indians still knew little about Australia. But when it came to cricket, India adored Australians....We feared their cricket but we respected them as cricketers. The Australians we felt took India and its cricket seriously. England always sent what looked like 'B' team. Before an English tour the Indian press would be full of stories of major players declining the tour. Australia never seemed to have that problem....England also often appointed a tyro captain to lead the side to India, as if it was a training ground....Whoever was the Australian captain always brought the team to India...it meant more to the Indians to be playing Australia. It was a surer test of ability. Indians felt they were playing a country that did not treat them as an inferior cricket nation

The excerpt is interesting in so many ways: it speaks of a very different time, ordered in its power relations in very different ways; of a very different set of priorities on the part of the nations then playing cricket. Australian attitudes toward cricket, touring, its role in cricketing world affairs, were already interestingly different from the mother nation; it had already struck out a new path in forming its cricketing identity and not blindly imitating England had already been established as a solid guide to action. India looked for respect in the world; at that point in its cricketing history, just being taken seriously enough to play with was a significant gesture. Dreams of ruling the world's cricketing roost were surely distant ones.

Earlier this year as the India-Australia post Sydney fiasco brewed, and as chapter and verse was written about the misunderstandings between the two cricketing nations, I was reminded of this little excerpt from Bose's book. The oft-invoked vision of the realignment of the cricket world invariably points to its racial lines; the history of cricket suggests all sorts of interesting alliances are common. In the 1950s, both Australia and India might have wanted an identity for themselves that lay outside the ambit of England. Australia could do so by building a set of cricketing ties independent of its relationship with England; India by developing a healthy rivalry which acknowledged the sporting prowess of its adversary.

The growing relationship between India and Australia - a crucial one as this brand new world of cricket emerges - would do well to pay attention to all aspects of its history, including those that suggest their interests converged in the past.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • TheEnticer on July 26, 2008, 18:22 GMT

    Johnathan: "And in regards to "their cheating ways, their lying and their hubris" I'd love to see your examples." .. Two words.. google it. And I stick to what I said.. aussie players cheat (maybe a cultural thing I dont know.. but I am not saying it is a racist thing)... but their boards, their media get together because of their race.. see.. cause => effect.. Now if you want to misconstrue everything I say and refuse to have a nuanced position on issues, Ignorance is bliss indeed...

  • mike of cnbra on July 11, 2008, 6:35 GMT

    Don. When I saw Kumble talk about the spirit of the game as if his team alone possessed it, and then appealed and got an lbw off an inside edge the very next test, I lost all respect for him.

    As for Sachin I'd never thought I'd see such a great player belittle his own mighty reputation to provide a cover for a character like H. Singh.

    The Indians should stop pointing at Australia and acknowledge their own team possesses players who are hypocrites, prima donnas and boors who in fact have a far worse disciplinary record than Australia.

  • Don on July 10, 2008, 12:25 GMT

    I don't know many Indians, so I don't have a clue what the feeling is over there about Australians. The feeling here is that if you cheat to win then it isn't worth the effort. As far as there is an Australian "way" then that way is to play hard, always try to win, but if you lose to the better player - so be it. I play grade cricket, and it is as competetive as anything I've seen in England or SA. People arrange extra practice during their working week ahead of an important match. Remember - no money involved, just respect. The Australian cricket team in seen in the same way. Sledging is allowed. "Mental disintigration" is allowed. Bouncers at tailenders are allowed. Cheating is not. Some Indian players show this spirit and are highly respected by all - Kumble, Ganguly, Laxman, Tendulkar are examples. It doesn't matter how quiet or loud you are - it's how you play your game. Some are not respected at all, even though they may have talent.

  • mike of cnbra on July 10, 2008, 5:45 GMT

    Bis. I would rate Lala a genuine all rounder. I'm not blowing smoke up anyone's behind saying that. His bowling skills were marveled at when they were 1st discovered just before the last test of the 33/34 series. He was brilliant in Eng too in 1936 before being sent home for disciplinary reasons. (How differently that would've been treated today!) When he played Eng and Aust after the war he was in his mid to late 30s and suffering lumbago. Yet look at his wkts. Some great players as scalps; and some more than once. He could bowl alright.

    As far as Ian Chappell is concerned I'll not disagree with your comments. Great player and skipper though he was he should at least have the decency to refrain from picking on anyone else's lack of manners.

  • Nathan on July 10, 2008, 4:35 GMT

    Good grief, alok1607. Still going on about a decision that was correct anyway! Australia faced far worse umpiring in the 2001 series, arguably costing them the series (much as umpiring cost India the recent test series in Aus), but there was no whining or carry on. There were certainly no Australian umpires celebrating with Australia after the game, as unmpire venkat did in 2001. I cannot believe it when indian fans still bring up that tendulkar lbw. As wizman states, check it out on you tube - hit in line, ball not above stump height and on the way down, ball hitting the stumps, THAT IS OUT! Even if you don't agree, it was nearly 10 years ago ... get over it and move on for crying out loud. And enticer, your 'prediction' that Australian umpires would try to ruin SL players careers isn't much of a prediction (it is laughably immature though). Hair called murali years before the 1996 World Cup, so if you want to make racist accusations, please at least know what you're talking about!

  • Jonathan on July 10, 2008, 2:14 GMT

    Enticer, do you understand what racism is? Your comment "Sadly, I dont share the author's optimism as Aus and England will converge around people of their color and never play fairly" is intrinsically a racist comment. I am sure this is not representative of the views of the general Indian cricketing community. Separating people and assuming behaviour based only on the colour of their skin is what racism is all about, do you understand?

    And in regards to "their cheating ways, their lying and their hubris" I'd love to see your examples.

  • LMAO on July 9, 2008, 23:25 GMT

    JRod, that's a bit rich coming from a Collingwood supporter!

  • Samir Chopra on July 8, 2008, 16:18 GMT

    Enticer: Some other comments didn't make it either (one by an Australian friend of mine, and another from a friend in Scotland). Not sure if there is a glitch or something else. No censorship going on!

    Irishfan: I think fan interaction on the Net has certainly gone downhill - in more personal face-to-face settings, theres still plenty to talk about and discuss in civilized fashion.

    JRod: Sometimes I suspect the Aussies ease up against the English :) But seriously, I know what you mean. I suspect its the reason the Shield comp works so well.

    Wizman: Oz certainly does bring out the best in India, and like you, I wonder where their inspiration goes in other series

  • Calexico on July 8, 2008, 11:10 GMT

    Growing up in Australia I loved watching any series played in India because of the obvious passion the fans and the players had for the game. Once the Internet arrived I was able to converse in a meaningful way with Indian fans about all aspects of the game. The problem with recent events has been that it brought out the worst in fans from both countries. It was impossible to have a reasonable discussion on any forum because inevitably vocal supporters would take entirely unreasonable positions - eg Australians are all racist cheats, or Indians are all crazy effigy-burning psychopaths - nationalism took over. So I just gave up. But I hope the time will come again when we all remember it's just a game of cricket, and fans from both sides can converse in a manner befitting the game.

  • wizman on July 8, 2008, 2:06 GMT

    India are a lazy team. They do try their best against Australia, and the last decade has seen pulsating and remarkable test series. They just look like they care a lot less against other opponents much of the time.

    alok1607: look at the dismissal of Tendulkar LBW on youtube from the front and side, and I reckon it is most definitely a correct decision.

  • TheEnticer on July 26, 2008, 18:22 GMT

    Johnathan: "And in regards to "their cheating ways, their lying and their hubris" I'd love to see your examples." .. Two words.. google it. And I stick to what I said.. aussie players cheat (maybe a cultural thing I dont know.. but I am not saying it is a racist thing)... but their boards, their media get together because of their race.. see.. cause => effect.. Now if you want to misconstrue everything I say and refuse to have a nuanced position on issues, Ignorance is bliss indeed...

  • mike of cnbra on July 11, 2008, 6:35 GMT

    Don. When I saw Kumble talk about the spirit of the game as if his team alone possessed it, and then appealed and got an lbw off an inside edge the very next test, I lost all respect for him.

    As for Sachin I'd never thought I'd see such a great player belittle his own mighty reputation to provide a cover for a character like H. Singh.

    The Indians should stop pointing at Australia and acknowledge their own team possesses players who are hypocrites, prima donnas and boors who in fact have a far worse disciplinary record than Australia.

  • Don on July 10, 2008, 12:25 GMT

    I don't know many Indians, so I don't have a clue what the feeling is over there about Australians. The feeling here is that if you cheat to win then it isn't worth the effort. As far as there is an Australian "way" then that way is to play hard, always try to win, but if you lose to the better player - so be it. I play grade cricket, and it is as competetive as anything I've seen in England or SA. People arrange extra practice during their working week ahead of an important match. Remember - no money involved, just respect. The Australian cricket team in seen in the same way. Sledging is allowed. "Mental disintigration" is allowed. Bouncers at tailenders are allowed. Cheating is not. Some Indian players show this spirit and are highly respected by all - Kumble, Ganguly, Laxman, Tendulkar are examples. It doesn't matter how quiet or loud you are - it's how you play your game. Some are not respected at all, even though they may have talent.

  • mike of cnbra on July 10, 2008, 5:45 GMT

    Bis. I would rate Lala a genuine all rounder. I'm not blowing smoke up anyone's behind saying that. His bowling skills were marveled at when they were 1st discovered just before the last test of the 33/34 series. He was brilliant in Eng too in 1936 before being sent home for disciplinary reasons. (How differently that would've been treated today!) When he played Eng and Aust after the war he was in his mid to late 30s and suffering lumbago. Yet look at his wkts. Some great players as scalps; and some more than once. He could bowl alright.

    As far as Ian Chappell is concerned I'll not disagree with your comments. Great player and skipper though he was he should at least have the decency to refrain from picking on anyone else's lack of manners.

  • Nathan on July 10, 2008, 4:35 GMT

    Good grief, alok1607. Still going on about a decision that was correct anyway! Australia faced far worse umpiring in the 2001 series, arguably costing them the series (much as umpiring cost India the recent test series in Aus), but there was no whining or carry on. There were certainly no Australian umpires celebrating with Australia after the game, as unmpire venkat did in 2001. I cannot believe it when indian fans still bring up that tendulkar lbw. As wizman states, check it out on you tube - hit in line, ball not above stump height and on the way down, ball hitting the stumps, THAT IS OUT! Even if you don't agree, it was nearly 10 years ago ... get over it and move on for crying out loud. And enticer, your 'prediction' that Australian umpires would try to ruin SL players careers isn't much of a prediction (it is laughably immature though). Hair called murali years before the 1996 World Cup, so if you want to make racist accusations, please at least know what you're talking about!

  • Jonathan on July 10, 2008, 2:14 GMT

    Enticer, do you understand what racism is? Your comment "Sadly, I dont share the author's optimism as Aus and England will converge around people of their color and never play fairly" is intrinsically a racist comment. I am sure this is not representative of the views of the general Indian cricketing community. Separating people and assuming behaviour based only on the colour of their skin is what racism is all about, do you understand?

    And in regards to "their cheating ways, their lying and their hubris" I'd love to see your examples.

  • LMAO on July 9, 2008, 23:25 GMT

    JRod, that's a bit rich coming from a Collingwood supporter!

  • Samir Chopra on July 8, 2008, 16:18 GMT

    Enticer: Some other comments didn't make it either (one by an Australian friend of mine, and another from a friend in Scotland). Not sure if there is a glitch or something else. No censorship going on!

    Irishfan: I think fan interaction on the Net has certainly gone downhill - in more personal face-to-face settings, theres still plenty to talk about and discuss in civilized fashion.

    JRod: Sometimes I suspect the Aussies ease up against the English :) But seriously, I know what you mean. I suspect its the reason the Shield comp works so well.

    Wizman: Oz certainly does bring out the best in India, and like you, I wonder where their inspiration goes in other series

  • Calexico on July 8, 2008, 11:10 GMT

    Growing up in Australia I loved watching any series played in India because of the obvious passion the fans and the players had for the game. Once the Internet arrived I was able to converse in a meaningful way with Indian fans about all aspects of the game. The problem with recent events has been that it brought out the worst in fans from both countries. It was impossible to have a reasonable discussion on any forum because inevitably vocal supporters would take entirely unreasonable positions - eg Australians are all racist cheats, or Indians are all crazy effigy-burning psychopaths - nationalism took over. So I just gave up. But I hope the time will come again when we all remember it's just a game of cricket, and fans from both sides can converse in a manner befitting the game.

  • wizman on July 8, 2008, 2:06 GMT

    India are a lazy team. They do try their best against Australia, and the last decade has seen pulsating and remarkable test series. They just look like they care a lot less against other opponents much of the time.

    alok1607: look at the dismissal of Tendulkar LBW on youtube from the front and side, and I reckon it is most definitely a correct decision.

  • TheEnticer on July 8, 2008, 1:32 GMT

    I can't believe my response to Brendanvivo didnt make it. I didnt say anything remotely racial in my first comment. Unless Samir wants to portray a certain narrative, my response to Brendan's allegation should have made through on this blog. Brendan, reread what I have said, I said I was disillusioned because what I saw was cheating, I didnt say they cheated because of their race. That is a stretch, even for you. I wonder if this post will make it or the Gods will deign it to be too logical and not fitting their narrative of " 'rabid' fans on opposing ends of the spectrum having a go at each other without sanity." I think 'journalists' (& pseudo-journos) love to portray narrative and it can be detrimental to the exchange of ideas they seem to want to stir up amongst fans. Samir, if you are reading this, I hope this makes it, else I want to know why. Nobody is accusing Aus of cheating because of their race.

  • alex on July 6, 2008, 6:05 GMT

    Aussie cricket american way. In america , only winners respected. you have to win at all costs. Aussie cricketers follow that to heart. But they are bad losers like americans.

  • jrod on July 6, 2008, 4:25 GMT

    Samir, as you know, Australian's play the same no matter who they play. It doesn't really matter to them the colour or ability of the other team, they just try and win the game. If I may quote myself "Sport is not our religion, winning is."

  • alok1607 on July 5, 2008, 18:08 GMT

    I was watching India vs australia test when sachin was given out leg before, after the ball hit him on shoulder, my friend said hurray another one in name of mighty australians he was trying to be sarcastic of the situation, i was a kid then realised it much later what it felt when tendulkar was given out(wrongly). my brother told me he is god now i know it. myself the reason behind india australia is that indians want to improve their poor show down in australia(which can to some extent be credited to the mighty umpires) and the australians now realising that India is stealing the show with both money and play dont want to lose their position. just answer this question "if u r in power wont u try every possible way to atleast retain it". history is history no one cares of it.

  • Irishfan on July 5, 2008, 17:32 GMT

    Good, truthful article. That is actually one reason I was very disappointed with the "Monkeygate" proceedings. You could just feel the respect between Indian and Australian fans melting away. Now ask either set of fans on their take of the whole thing, and you will come away with plenty of slurs. The rash actions of Harbajhan Singh could have very well stunted the growth of the eternal affection between Indian and Australian cricket.

  • Samir Chopra on July 5, 2008, 13:20 GMT

    Folks, thanks for all your comments. I'm glad to see it triggered a variety of responses. As people have noted, the relationship between the two has changed over the years (so, Kishore, yes, the seventies neglect is part of that). My point was just that at one time, the two had a relationship that drew them together despite being in different 'colored' blocs. Their relationship in the last 15 years or so has undergone another transformation, part of which Michael examined in his earlier post. I expect this to further morph, given their roles in world cricket today. Australia wants a piece of the money action as far as India is concerned; and India would like to be where Australia is in cricketing terms. And nothing quite lights up Indian television screens like a series against Australia. To answer Michael's question: I think there is genuine respect at the cricketing level, and at the fan base, the sense of a real rivalry is palpable, I think (even though Oz remains ahead as a team).

  • Michael Jeh on July 5, 2008, 3:13 GMT

    Enjoyed your article Samir. I think a few bloggers have touched on the questions we've both thrown "out there".

    In many senses, the India-Australia love affair is seen through reverse lenses. I'm generalising here of course so forgive me that. It seems like India used to love Australian cricket for all the right reasons but that is now changing. The love may be disappearing as India becomes more self-confident in their power base and the skill of their team.

    Australia on the other hand seems to be slowly shedding its superiority complex and (publicly) claiming a deeper affection. What I'm not convinced about though is whether that is a genuine affection or a pragmatic realisation that India is now King. What do you think? True love or chasing the money/power?

    Having said that, I'm now finding that a lot of my mates are placing an Indian cricket tour as a 'must see' destination, rivalling an Ashes or West Indian trip. That growing sentiment is totally genuine and sincere.

  • Kishore Sharma on July 4, 2008, 23:46 GMT

    The article makes a good point - but is a little partial. To balance things out, we should also recall that during the 1970s,1980s, and large parts of the 1990s, Australia more or less ignored India. They did not play a single series against India, home or away, between 1969 and 1978. Even in the 1980s, the teams only played six tests againts each other. Australia also did not invite India for a tour between 1991 and 1999. In other words, they more or less ignored India for long periods of time since they deemed India to not be good enough or marketable. England, on the other hand, made it a point to regularly schedule series against India during the 1970s and 1980s - and full strength teams were sent to India in 1976 and 1981. It was only after India cancelled an England tour in 1988/89, due to the South African links of some players, that England cut down their engagements with India. These points should be noted for the sake of fairness and perspective.

  • Bis on July 4, 2008, 22:44 GMT

    Mike Amarnath was primarily a batsman - a batsman, moreover, with a great reputation who had reeled off centuries and double centuries against Australian state sides and of whom a great deal was therefore expected. My point was to emphasise Don Bradman's magnanimity in seeing beyond Amarnath's poor batting run in the tests to his essential excellence as a batsman.

    I did not accuse Australians per se of boorishness - I emphasised that boorishness is imho uncharacteristic of Australians generally. I don't see anything hypocritical about Ian Chappell commenting on player behaviour - Chappelli may have been considered an ocker by some but he was a great batsman, a great captain and is today by far the most perspicacious commentator on the game. His players were prepared to die for him because he defended their interests against the ACB. Look at how he raised funds to help Gary Gilmour. He knows what he is talking about and when he speaks I, for one, am prepared to listen and learn.

  • S. Sen on July 4, 2008, 22:43 GMT

    Bis - On the boorishness issue: it's not just the Australians. As a middle-aged India fan, I must say I'm left cold by the "new breed" of Indian cricketer: Sreesanth in particular, Harbhajan, Pravin Kumar (who beat up a commuter in Delhi after a fender-bender recently).

  • Kunal on July 4, 2008, 20:26 GMT

    It is very interesting to know about this piece of history. To add to that, Indian cricket has tried to model itself around the Australian way over this decade. This means playing hard and being hard, well some of it has worked. As cricketing nations of might, it is imperative for both nations (India using its money, Aus using its profesionalism) to help enhance the game overall. India winning the test series later this year might calm the tensions, and create fresh intensity in the gaining rivalry. I do not agree with The Enticer's comments above as during my 4 yrs in Aus, one place where I felt true passion for the sport, and more so for victory, was at the cricket ground. It is a delight watching any international game there. Australian way of cricket is needed for the skillful survivial of the sport.

  • King_Viv on July 4, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    This very interesting article can help in some way to understand why 2nd generation Indians in Britain support India and not England when it comes to cricket. Up until the Tendulkar generation in cricket and even more recently the acceptance of India as a future economic superpower, one always felt that the English felt far superior to Indians. Thankfully this is changing, British Indians are represented in more walks of life (including an English cricket captain) and Indian cricket is now in a very healthy and powerful state. Australia on the hand, is also a relatively new country so always had less of a superiority complex that England

  • joe christopher on July 4, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    well, the quote from Mihir Bose's A Maidan View: The Magic of Indian Cricket, is a pretty long quote.

  • mike of cnbra on July 4, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    Bis. Amarnath had a pretty good series with the ball however. This on top of a good series in '46 against a full strength England. Think of the batsmen he played against; Hammond, Hutton, Compton, Hardstaff, Edrich, Bradman, Barnes, Morris, Harvey and Hassett. Just imagine how competitive India would've been if Amar Singh and Md Nissar were still available and Fazal toured.

    I'll defend my countrymen from accusations of boorishness. I think its a problem for all teams. Indeed Aust's disciplinary record is quite good. I think we were worse under Ian Chappell whose comments on player behaviour I'd find qite ironical.

  • SALIL on July 4, 2008, 12:49 GMT

    If sport is a metaphor for life,then cricket must be a useful reflection of man's bieng.Hypothesise,if India did not control crickets coffers' would Australia/England's attitude towards India have changed? Perhaps the intrisic attitude is still inherent the only thing that has changed is in its display.History being written by the victors, the Australian myth of hard-but-fair has perhaps always been win-at-all-costs.The colonial hangover is very much alive in the west!

  • Bis on July 4, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    I remember reading the great Mushtaq Ali's autobiography as a child. It contained an adulatory foreword from the mighty Keith Miller who recalled the enthralling adrenaline rush of bowling to the electrifying Mushtaq. I got the immpression then that Indians really enjoyed playing against the Aussies because although they were a much better team they were never patronising and always encouraged and admired the talented Indian cricketers. Nor will I forget reading the Don's autobiography and his unstinting admiration for the legendary Lala Amarnath although the lion hearted Lala had a poor time of it in the tests in Australia - then again he was up against Lindwall and Miller! Personally I have always respected the Australian way of playing hard but fair although in recent times their unprecedented success may have gone to their heads and resulted in some uncharacteristically boorish behaviour as acknowledged by leading Australian commentators including the peerless Ian Chappell.

  • Brendanvio on July 4, 2008, 10:31 GMT

    I'm immensely disappointed by your slur Enticer, as you've basically labelled all Australians as racist cheats and liers, which is itself a racist comment.

    India and Australia matches have always been enjoyable for me from a playing point of view because I'm of the age to have been exposed to a golden age of Indian and Australian cricket; seeing Steve Waugh, Ponting, McGrath and Warne lock horns with Sachin Bhai, V.V.S Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Kumble. They have always produced gripping contests and still do. The sooner fans move away from slurs and focus on cricket, the healthier the game will be. In the words of Arthur Morris 'Cricket is a game, and one to be enjoyed'

  • Bis on July 4, 2008, 9:26 GMT

    I remember reading the great Mushtaq Ali's autobiography as a child. It contained an adulatory foreword from the mighty Keith Miller who recalled the enthralling adrenaline rush of bowling to the electrifying Mushtaq. I got the immpression then that Indians really enjoyed playing against the Aussies because although they were a much better team they were never patronising and always encouraged and admired the talented Indian cricketers. Nor will I forget reading the Don's autobiography and his unstinting admiration for the legendary Lala Amarnath although the lion hearted Lala had a poor time of it in the tests in Australia - then again he was up against Lindwall and Miller! Personally I have always respected the Australian way of playing hard but fair although in recent times their unprecedented success may have gone to their heads and resulted in some uncharacteristically boorish behaviour as acknowledged by leading Australian commentators including the peerless Ian Chappell.

  • The Enticer on July 4, 2008, 6:34 GMT

    That is so true... my father used to (and still does) worship Australia because they broke the English hegemony and he was big fan of the Don. However, I never particularly cared for their cheating ways, their lying and their hubris. The 1996 world cup final was a very divisive day in our house, My father was supporting Aus and I was supporting SL. The SLans won and I was happy and predicted that the Australian umpires would definitely cheat and try to ruin Sri Lankan careers. Good for SL they stood behind Murali. Chauhan wasnt lucky as the then BCCI wasnt interested in players' futures. Great post and totally agree, I have lived this story. Sadly, I dont share the author's optimism as Aus and England will converge around people of their color and never play fairly (this applies to Aus more than England).

  • Prabhu on July 4, 2008, 5:12 GMT

    Nice! I got hooked on cricket watching Tendulkar score a 100 in Australia. I know about England sending B teams, and Aussies sending their best teams, but never thought of it that way. Come to think of it, I am sure even Bangladesh must be respecting the Aussies more than they do India and Pakistan. We always treat Bangladesh without respect (when it comes to team selection) when we play them. But Aussies always field the best team.

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  • Prabhu on July 4, 2008, 5:12 GMT

    Nice! I got hooked on cricket watching Tendulkar score a 100 in Australia. I know about England sending B teams, and Aussies sending their best teams, but never thought of it that way. Come to think of it, I am sure even Bangladesh must be respecting the Aussies more than they do India and Pakistan. We always treat Bangladesh without respect (when it comes to team selection) when we play them. But Aussies always field the best team.

  • The Enticer on July 4, 2008, 6:34 GMT

    That is so true... my father used to (and still does) worship Australia because they broke the English hegemony and he was big fan of the Don. However, I never particularly cared for their cheating ways, their lying and their hubris. The 1996 world cup final was a very divisive day in our house, My father was supporting Aus and I was supporting SL. The SLans won and I was happy and predicted that the Australian umpires would definitely cheat and try to ruin Sri Lankan careers. Good for SL they stood behind Murali. Chauhan wasnt lucky as the then BCCI wasnt interested in players' futures. Great post and totally agree, I have lived this story. Sadly, I dont share the author's optimism as Aus and England will converge around people of their color and never play fairly (this applies to Aus more than England).

  • Bis on July 4, 2008, 9:26 GMT

    I remember reading the great Mushtaq Ali's autobiography as a child. It contained an adulatory foreword from the mighty Keith Miller who recalled the enthralling adrenaline rush of bowling to the electrifying Mushtaq. I got the immpression then that Indians really enjoyed playing against the Aussies because although they were a much better team they were never patronising and always encouraged and admired the talented Indian cricketers. Nor will I forget reading the Don's autobiography and his unstinting admiration for the legendary Lala Amarnath although the lion hearted Lala had a poor time of it in the tests in Australia - then again he was up against Lindwall and Miller! Personally I have always respected the Australian way of playing hard but fair although in recent times their unprecedented success may have gone to their heads and resulted in some uncharacteristically boorish behaviour as acknowledged by leading Australian commentators including the peerless Ian Chappell.

  • Brendanvio on July 4, 2008, 10:31 GMT

    I'm immensely disappointed by your slur Enticer, as you've basically labelled all Australians as racist cheats and liers, which is itself a racist comment.

    India and Australia matches have always been enjoyable for me from a playing point of view because I'm of the age to have been exposed to a golden age of Indian and Australian cricket; seeing Steve Waugh, Ponting, McGrath and Warne lock horns with Sachin Bhai, V.V.S Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Kumble. They have always produced gripping contests and still do. The sooner fans move away from slurs and focus on cricket, the healthier the game will be. In the words of Arthur Morris 'Cricket is a game, and one to be enjoyed'

  • Bis on July 4, 2008, 10:41 GMT

    I remember reading the great Mushtaq Ali's autobiography as a child. It contained an adulatory foreword from the mighty Keith Miller who recalled the enthralling adrenaline rush of bowling to the electrifying Mushtaq. I got the immpression then that Indians really enjoyed playing against the Aussies because although they were a much better team they were never patronising and always encouraged and admired the talented Indian cricketers. Nor will I forget reading the Don's autobiography and his unstinting admiration for the legendary Lala Amarnath although the lion hearted Lala had a poor time of it in the tests in Australia - then again he was up against Lindwall and Miller! Personally I have always respected the Australian way of playing hard but fair although in recent times their unprecedented success may have gone to their heads and resulted in some uncharacteristically boorish behaviour as acknowledged by leading Australian commentators including the peerless Ian Chappell.

  • SALIL on July 4, 2008, 12:49 GMT

    If sport is a metaphor for life,then cricket must be a useful reflection of man's bieng.Hypothesise,if India did not control crickets coffers' would Australia/England's attitude towards India have changed? Perhaps the intrisic attitude is still inherent the only thing that has changed is in its display.History being written by the victors, the Australian myth of hard-but-fair has perhaps always been win-at-all-costs.The colonial hangover is very much alive in the west!

  • mike of cnbra on July 4, 2008, 13:18 GMT

    Bis. Amarnath had a pretty good series with the ball however. This on top of a good series in '46 against a full strength England. Think of the batsmen he played against; Hammond, Hutton, Compton, Hardstaff, Edrich, Bradman, Barnes, Morris, Harvey and Hassett. Just imagine how competitive India would've been if Amar Singh and Md Nissar were still available and Fazal toured.

    I'll defend my countrymen from accusations of boorishness. I think its a problem for all teams. Indeed Aust's disciplinary record is quite good. I think we were worse under Ian Chappell whose comments on player behaviour I'd find qite ironical.

  • joe christopher on July 4, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    well, the quote from Mihir Bose's A Maidan View: The Magic of Indian Cricket, is a pretty long quote.

  • King_Viv on July 4, 2008, 14:40 GMT

    This very interesting article can help in some way to understand why 2nd generation Indians in Britain support India and not England when it comes to cricket. Up until the Tendulkar generation in cricket and even more recently the acceptance of India as a future economic superpower, one always felt that the English felt far superior to Indians. Thankfully this is changing, British Indians are represented in more walks of life (including an English cricket captain) and Indian cricket is now in a very healthy and powerful state. Australia on the hand, is also a relatively new country so always had less of a superiority complex that England

  • Kunal on July 4, 2008, 20:26 GMT

    It is very interesting to know about this piece of history. To add to that, Indian cricket has tried to model itself around the Australian way over this decade. This means playing hard and being hard, well some of it has worked. As cricketing nations of might, it is imperative for both nations (India using its money, Aus using its profesionalism) to help enhance the game overall. India winning the test series later this year might calm the tensions, and create fresh intensity in the gaining rivalry. I do not agree with The Enticer's comments above as during my 4 yrs in Aus, one place where I felt true passion for the sport, and more so for victory, was at the cricket ground. It is a delight watching any international game there. Australian way of cricket is needed for the skillful survivial of the sport.