Michael Jeh November 5, 2008

The abuse must stop

142

Perhaps now, finally, after way too much prevarication on the issue, the ICC might finally take a stand on what the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ actually means. It’s clear that no such spirit operates in the real world. It’s just a fancy set of words that mean nothing to the cricketers and officials who are meant to uphold that spirit.

The full media release from Justice Sachs regarding the Gautam Gambhir appeal is a sad indictment of what really happens on the field. It tells a story of abuse and sledging and a subsequent physical response that has cost Gambhir a crucial Test match. The saddest part of the whole thing is that no one is even attempting to deny the abuse and the physical contact any more. It’s now an argument about when abuse becomes too much provocation to prevent physical contact.

The entire transcript from players, umpires and Match Referee is a sordid reflection of what the ICC is prepared to tolerate in this so-called professional workplace.What other workplace would allow such behaviour to occur under the shameful umbrella of “competitiveness, grown men, a man’s game, a tough environment, what happens on the field…” etc? It is now clear that not all cricketers can play by these arbitrary rules. The mere fact that Gambhir’s actions were triggered by the constant provocation proves that different people have different levels of tolerance to abuse. And their reactions can take different forms, on different days, leading to higher levels of abuse or physical contact.

Cricket has a simple decision to make. Is this is a professional workplace or a mere sporting environment? Either definition makes it difficult to legitimise abuse, verbal or physical.

If it is a workplace, then the administrators and players should start treating it as such. They need to start behaving in a manner that is appropriate in a normal work environment. If they expect to be paid the sort of money they justify to themselves by claiming they are highly skilled professionals, start behaving like it!

If it is merely a game and not a profession, then pay them commensurate salaries. And if it is only a game, why get so hot under the collar then? After all, it’s only a game isn’t it? Cricketers can’t have it both ways – it’s either a profession where professional courtesies apply or it’s a game where sportsmanship should take precedence. Or just dispense with all such notions, call it “open warfare” and don’t bother with any pretentions of honouring the Spirit of Cricket.

Some of the blame can be leveled at the match officials. If Billy Bowden spent less time trying to be the centre of attention and concentrated on keeping order and making better on-field decisions, some of the tension might have been dissipated. Instead of waiting for Gambhir to complain to the umpires about the ‘chat’, why didn’t Bowden nip it in the bud? It makes it very difficult for Gambhir to complain to the umpires. He would no doubt cop the usual vitriol about “being soft, being a cry baby, go and tell Mummy that we’re being mean to you”.

The umpires and match referee were obviously aware of the tension that was building up and the verbals that were being exchanged by both teams. That much is clear from Chris Broad’s acceptance that Gambhir had been subjected to a certain level of provocation. Well, if they were aware of a storm brewing, why didn’t they do something about it? Perhaps they don’t have the authority to do anything until it becomes a full-blown incident. And then see what happens….

The ICC should take a firm stance on what’s acceptable conduct in a highly visible public workplace. The players should take a look in the mirror and start behaving like the highly skilled professionals they claim to be. And the umpires and match referee need to have the conviction and commonsense to prevent fires rather than dousing flames or punishing arsonists.

Until all the stakeholders in the game take some of this responsibility upon themselves, the Spirit of Cricket will remain an empty epithet, devoid of any real meaning. There can be no such thing as an “acceptable level of sledging”. What’s acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another. Furthermore, what’s tolerable one day may be insufferable the next day, even to the same person. Where do you draw the line before somebody snaps?

The tragedy is that it leads to the situation where a double centurion, in the form of his life, misses the final Test match with the series in the balance. Regardless of who you support, that can’t be good for the Spirit of Cricket.

Michael Jeh is an Oxford Blue who played first-class cricket, and a Playing Member of the MCC. He lives in Brisbane

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • agein65 on December 16, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    I check back often, I want to say hello.

  • bhp656 on December 10, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    I got interested party - I'll check back often, I wanted to say hello

  • elurehexy on May 3, 2010, 23:02 GMT

    Greets dudes!

    I just wanted to say hi to everyone!

    This is my first post here :)

  • weencyphywhek on December 2, 2009, 13:28 GMT

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  • waterbuffalo on November 19, 2008, 19:33 GMT

    Posted by: Stephen Mellor at November 10, 2008 5:16 AM

    Some of these comments make me laugh. I am a blonde haired blue eyed Australian and i am the first one to admit the Aussies are serial sledgers who have started all this rubbish. I watch a hell of a lot of cricket and the real bad sledging stuff started with Warne against South Africa when he ran down the pich telling Hudson & Cullinan to f*#k off and all sorts of other things. They may have been the best team but clearly the worst sportsmen. The New Zealanders got sick of them and started giving it back but they were not good enough on the field. It is great to see the Indians noted for how soft they have been in the past giving it back to Australia and exposing them for the school bullies they are. Symonds, Watson & Co loving starting things and dishing it out but when it comes back at them they squeal like girls. That Sydney test was a disgrace last year and anyone that was proud of the team then is an imbecile.

    WELL SAID

  • desisouljah on November 12, 2008, 11:19 GMT

    I agree that the aussies should change their captain, but who will follow? I don´t know one player who doesn´t sledge in the australian team so it´s more a matter of the system which they have created to win test matches through abuse and psychologically defeating the oponnents rather than a decent man following up as captain. The aussie cricket board should look in depth at this issue and tell their players to start behaving because india has proved it that they can withstand all the abuse and like gambhir said, we are not taking a step back anymore.

  • digitaleye on November 10, 2008, 16:04 GMT

    @Koone. This sickening psycho-analyzing of Indian people and stereotyping their culture by sour grapes Aussie fans should stop. When their team was winning and hurling abuses at opponents, I didn't see anyone from either side trying to link Australian team's behavior to the origins of the Australian people and the continent they inhabit.

    Ball tampering charges?! please!!, Cameron White was caught on video, removing pieces of leather from the ball and yet no Aussie fan seems to think twice before throwing tampering claim at the Indians. Just because Aussie batsmen failed to negotiate Sharma and Kahn, Indians had to tamper the ball, yeah!, there is not even a remote possibility that they might be better bowlers than the current Australian bowling line up. What travesty?!.

    To those who moderate these boards, if you publish incendiary comments and then filter out all the rebuttals, you are not doing cricinfo any good. Your bias clearly shows.

  • Stephen Mellor on November 10, 2008, 5:16 GMT

    Some of these comments make me laugh. I am a blonde haired blue eyed Australian and i am the first one to admit the Aussies are serial sledgers who have started all this rubbish. I watch a hell of a lot of cricket and the real bad sledging stuff started with Warne against South Africa when he ran down the pich telling Hudson & Cullinan to f*#k off and all sorts of other things. They may have been the best team but clearly the worst sportsmen. The New Zealanders got sick of them and started giving it back but they were not good enough on the field. It is great to see the Indians noted for how soft they have been in the past giving it back to Australia and exposing them for the school bullies they are. Symonds, Watson & Co loving starting things and dishing it out but when it comes back at them they squeal like girls. That Sydney test was a disgrace last year and anyone that was proud of the team then is an imbecile. Even the great Neil Harvey thinks their on field behav is deplorable!

  • Karthi Keyan on November 10, 2008, 4:03 GMT

    I suppose the problem is not really with the players but with the administrators. If they would show more objectivity, players will not feel the need to take up matters more personally but as many of us will be happy to vouch, one rules for Aussies and another for Indians and that is no exaggeration.

  • jonathan on November 9, 2008, 23:45 GMT

    Enticer, Sachs explained why he approved the Broad's judgment - he explained that he thought it wasn't unduly harsh. Whether you agree or not, have you even read his judgment and considered that maybe he really does think the penalty is deserved? He was quite clear that if it were up to him, he'd do something about the Australians behaviour too. He's not a affiliated with the SAfrican team or board, he's a judge who has been asked by the ICC to give legal-type judges.

    He's also a guy who said that even if the man who bombed him, taking his arm and eye, were acquitted, he would be happy just because he was put on trial and the rules of law was followed. For you to accuse him of a racist judgment just because he is South African, rather than looking his personal actions, is just as prejudiced as what you're complaining of.

  • agein65 on December 16, 2010, 20:46 GMT

    I check back often, I want to say hello.

  • bhp656 on December 10, 2010, 4:23 GMT

    I got interested party - I'll check back often, I wanted to say hello

  • elurehexy on May 3, 2010, 23:02 GMT

    Greets dudes!

    I just wanted to say hi to everyone!

    This is my first post here :)

  • weencyphywhek on December 2, 2009, 13:28 GMT

    Hello every one, I am brand-new to this webpage, I have just subscribed and the webpage looks fabulous. I am highly tech savy so I will be more then thrilled to help if anyone has any tech-related problems. In any case, I am a first time guest who expects to become a day-to-day visitor

    Merci weencyphywhek

  • waterbuffalo on November 19, 2008, 19:33 GMT

    Posted by: Stephen Mellor at November 10, 2008 5:16 AM

    Some of these comments make me laugh. I am a blonde haired blue eyed Australian and i am the first one to admit the Aussies are serial sledgers who have started all this rubbish. I watch a hell of a lot of cricket and the real bad sledging stuff started with Warne against South Africa when he ran down the pich telling Hudson & Cullinan to f*#k off and all sorts of other things. They may have been the best team but clearly the worst sportsmen. The New Zealanders got sick of them and started giving it back but they were not good enough on the field. It is great to see the Indians noted for how soft they have been in the past giving it back to Australia and exposing them for the school bullies they are. Symonds, Watson & Co loving starting things and dishing it out but when it comes back at them they squeal like girls. That Sydney test was a disgrace last year and anyone that was proud of the team then is an imbecile.

    WELL SAID

  • desisouljah on November 12, 2008, 11:19 GMT

    I agree that the aussies should change their captain, but who will follow? I don´t know one player who doesn´t sledge in the australian team so it´s more a matter of the system which they have created to win test matches through abuse and psychologically defeating the oponnents rather than a decent man following up as captain. The aussie cricket board should look in depth at this issue and tell their players to start behaving because india has proved it that they can withstand all the abuse and like gambhir said, we are not taking a step back anymore.

  • digitaleye on November 10, 2008, 16:04 GMT

    @Koone. This sickening psycho-analyzing of Indian people and stereotyping their culture by sour grapes Aussie fans should stop. When their team was winning and hurling abuses at opponents, I didn't see anyone from either side trying to link Australian team's behavior to the origins of the Australian people and the continent they inhabit.

    Ball tampering charges?! please!!, Cameron White was caught on video, removing pieces of leather from the ball and yet no Aussie fan seems to think twice before throwing tampering claim at the Indians. Just because Aussie batsmen failed to negotiate Sharma and Kahn, Indians had to tamper the ball, yeah!, there is not even a remote possibility that they might be better bowlers than the current Australian bowling line up. What travesty?!.

    To those who moderate these boards, if you publish incendiary comments and then filter out all the rebuttals, you are not doing cricinfo any good. Your bias clearly shows.

  • Stephen Mellor on November 10, 2008, 5:16 GMT

    Some of these comments make me laugh. I am a blonde haired blue eyed Australian and i am the first one to admit the Aussies are serial sledgers who have started all this rubbish. I watch a hell of a lot of cricket and the real bad sledging stuff started with Warne against South Africa when he ran down the pich telling Hudson & Cullinan to f*#k off and all sorts of other things. They may have been the best team but clearly the worst sportsmen. The New Zealanders got sick of them and started giving it back but they were not good enough on the field. It is great to see the Indians noted for how soft they have been in the past giving it back to Australia and exposing them for the school bullies they are. Symonds, Watson & Co loving starting things and dishing it out but when it comes back at them they squeal like girls. That Sydney test was a disgrace last year and anyone that was proud of the team then is an imbecile. Even the great Neil Harvey thinks their on field behav is deplorable!

  • Karthi Keyan on November 10, 2008, 4:03 GMT

    I suppose the problem is not really with the players but with the administrators. If they would show more objectivity, players will not feel the need to take up matters more personally but as many of us will be happy to vouch, one rules for Aussies and another for Indians and that is no exaggeration.

  • jonathan on November 9, 2008, 23:45 GMT

    Enticer, Sachs explained why he approved the Broad's judgment - he explained that he thought it wasn't unduly harsh. Whether you agree or not, have you even read his judgment and considered that maybe he really does think the penalty is deserved? He was quite clear that if it were up to him, he'd do something about the Australians behaviour too. He's not a affiliated with the SAfrican team or board, he's a judge who has been asked by the ICC to give legal-type judges.

    He's also a guy who said that even if the man who bombed him, taking his arm and eye, were acquitted, he would be happy just because he was put on trial and the rules of law was followed. For you to accuse him of a racist judgment just because he is South African, rather than looking his personal actions, is just as prejudiced as what you're complaining of.

  • Keith on November 9, 2008, 18:43 GMT

    I see you conveniently left out that Gambhir was also giving as good as he got verbally!!!!!!!!!! not to mention that he has done this before and that he actually got off lightly compared to the minimum ban required - if he felt so upset bout what was being said why did he not complain to the umpire rather than giving it back?????????

  • dr pratul sinha on November 9, 2008, 14:48 GMT

    words hurt a lot more and the hurt lasts longer than a sword. The hurt felt can be different for different people; different at different times - different cicumstances. Only solution is for the umpires to be alert to recognise such circumstances / events / sensitive people and stop the chatter / sledging / abuse / physical intimidation / physical contact / active physical abuse. More simply fine the captain so that it does not become a team tactics.

  • John Koone on November 9, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    Why is it that the Indians are the most reported and suspended bunch of cricketers in the history of the game ? That's the real question. According to the Indian supporters it's the opposition who are forcing them to break the rules. So when Harbahjan slaps the face of his own team mate it must have been Australia's fault? Indian supporters need to face up to the fact that they have a bunch of ill-disciplined players. Racist taunts, Ball tampering, physical contact .... the list goes on and on. You can't keep blaming other countries for your players behaviour. Is it part of Indian culture to blame others when things go wrong ? It certainly appears that way. All you people writing in defending them are testament to that.

  • Manas on November 9, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    Those who say India is the worst behaved team in the world need to look at stats of how many of these incidents happened against sub-continent teams! I can't remember any such incident against Sri Lanka or Bangladesh and only the rare occasional one against Pakistan. Why then do you think that it is different with SA, Eng, Aus ? Surely, they like to talk! I for one think that if Indians can swear in English as well as the native English speakers (or as well as they can in Hindi), we wouldn't see things that we are seeing now.

  • Subbu on November 9, 2008, 6:51 GMT

    This is a funny conversation here, people going on about sensitivities of Asian people and the lawful (mouth-off but don't punch) behaviour of Aussies. I don't remember Symonds even being charged let alone being found guilty for rugby-tackling a streaker; i guess CA was only too involved in it. Now, that's a civil offence not a sporting one and Symonds escapes. So much for the "we will abuse but won't punch" theory. In my opinion, what Symonds did was not wrong, some one indulged in crap, he gave him a dose. It's simple. You can't keep waiting for the police to show up. And all of you who say Gambhir got physical, it's not like he really hit him, its a slight poke at him intended to show he is not going to back off. May be if he knew he was going to get banned for the elbow, he would have given him a good punch instead.

  • Sundar Venkatesh on November 8, 2008, 15:15 GMT

    The Australians are proving once again that they are masters at packaging bad behavior. In recent times they have added the act of the "wronged one" to their packaging tricks. Overall, they look pretty ragged, old, boring and sour. Time to focus on the game.

  • Ullas on November 8, 2008, 6:43 GMT

    James B

    You've got it spot on. What most people miss is that Gambhir's past record was also considered before banning him. I am no fan of Aussies but if you react to verbals and try to elbow a player, you've actually played right into the hands of the opposition. That's exactly what the Aussies must have wanted Gambhir to do. Afridi is right when he says that Gambhir should use this time off to reflect.

  • Denzil Rodrigues on November 7, 2008, 2:38 GMT

    The sad part in this whole saga is that the player who started it got away with a 10% fine whereas the player who retaliated got banned for a game. Aussies I must admit are masters at the art of sledging (a euphemism for abuse directed at the victom's parents, wives and anyone closely related to the player), it is okay and acceptable for Aussie cricketers to call into question the paternity of opponenet players, and other choice abuses, but in turn when they are given a taste of their own medicine in a much more palatable form it equates to racism, because culturally it is acceptable to question a player's paternity than be called by any other name for the Aussies. Now the CEO of Cricket Australia has advised BCCI to be more responsible because BCCI is so powerful, when will Cricket Australia start focussing on issues with their own cricket team instead of dishing out unsolicited and uncalled for advice. It would be better if they got their own house in order first!!!!!!!

  • Michael Jeh on November 7, 2008, 2:09 GMT

    Hello Tboy. You may be interested to know that the writers have no control whatsoever as to which comments get posted. I'm submitting my comments like anybody else and it gets sent somewhere in cyberspace to Cricinfo HQ and then gets posted. Sometimes even my comments don't get posted. Sorry mate.

  • Anonymous on November 6, 2008, 20:38 GMT

    Isn't Billy Bowden second in terms of decision making? He can't do anything right with you journalists. Afterall you can't have a Kiwi succeeding on the world stage.

  • The Enticer on November 6, 2008, 18:06 GMT

    @Johnathan, so why did the esteemed sachs rubber stamp Broad's unduly harsh judgement with such alarming alacrity? This was clearly a shot across the bow of BCCI from the ICC. Like I said, India should just form its own league and not play with people whose culture stems from bullying and crying when they get it in return. This goes double for SA more than it goes for England, at least the english try to have a semblance of playing by the rule. So please, esteemed Sachs and his fans can go pass their judgements on whoever their pboards want them to, leave my country and its players alone and I pray my country has enough of a sense of identity and backbone to stand up to this nonsense and stop playing with aus and SA.

  • Tboy on November 6, 2008, 11:30 GMT

    "If we can't dismiss him, we'll get him banned instead! Where's the pride in that? Shame!" This was after you had stated "Gambhir was undoubtedly foolish to get involved in physical contact but even the Aussies could not have dreamed that he would do something to cop a ban." So which is it Michael? Did the evil aussies manipulate Gambhir by taking over his mind with sledging & controlling his subsequent action? Or was it Gambhir just being a goose? So where is the article about the whinging Indians? Will you even post this comment? I notice you dont like counter ideologies & have failed to post a few of my comments yet you heartedly indulge hysterical anti aussie pro indian comments. Im disappointed Michael, at least in the past you had the kahunas to post my comments regardless that they ran counter to your own. So how is that one eye going? Perhaps you have focused it on a nice cushy BCCI job. Good luck. But just remember, u have been tainted by living in Oz. It may go against you.

  • srivenu paturi on November 6, 2008, 8:58 GMT

    "Posted by: Kesav at November 5, 2008 4:45 PM

    Can he(Watson) be banned from ICL for the next season?"

    When did Watson start playing for ICL? I dont know how u accepted that comment Mr. Michael. May be you should start reading the comments before clicking the "accept" button in front over there. Sorry to be a little rude but I'm outspoken.

  • Narayanan Subramaniam on November 6, 2008, 6:57 GMT

    @Michael Jeh "One thing's for sure, Watson's taken a major wicket without getting anybody out. He's got rid of India's form player."

    I dont think Watson got the wicket. Gambhir did himself in. It was totally within his control to "not elbow" him. And its not as if Gambhir didnt shoot his mouth and took that Watson had to give him. At the end of it all, Gambhir elbowed Watson and not the other way round. If Watson had elbowed Gambhir, there wouldnt be a single person defending Watson because Gambhir provoked him.

    One reader asks why the Australians dont pick on SRT and pick on Gambhir and Harbhajan. SRT isnt going to elbow anyone under any circumstances because he knows it is wrong. On the other hand Gambhir believes its fine to do so. The ban is necessary to teach him that lesson.

    If the fault lies in the policy, blame the policy makers and not the people on the ground following / implementing the policy.

  • Sanjay on November 6, 2008, 5:20 GMT

    Touche! Extremely well written Michael,& I agree 100%with your words. What I would like to point out is the fact that while Gambhir's past offence has been pointed out as the reason for a "severer" punishment, even in that case, he was the one provoked by Afridi. And as far as I remember Mahanama(the match referee in that case) did point this out by his judgement of fining Afridi much more severely than Gambhir. In my opinion, the past "punishment" just proves that Gambhir has a low tolerance for Abuses (which has been called by many as an integral part of the Aussie way of playing cricket); how can he, then, should he be the guy punished less? Dont get me wrong, I dont wish to condone the physical contact but the abuses must stop too. Watson should have been fined more than Gambhir.

    Another surprising thing to me is the Katich Gambhir encountr,when india were 276/3. Katich very clearly seemed to be blocking Gambhir from running or communicating with Laxman (ala Rugby style)...

  • matt on November 6, 2008, 4:04 GMT

    You certainly have an interesting perspective on things Michael. "Gambhir was undoubtably foolish to get involved in physical contact". Actually, for the second time in his career, Gambhir initiated physical conduct. It's also a little difficult to reconcile these comments:"Instead of waiting for Gambhir to complain to the umpires about the ‘chat’, why didn’t Bowden nip it in the bud?...if they were aware of a storm brewing, why didn’t they do something about it? Perhaps they don’t have the authority to do anything until it becomes a full-blown incident. And then see what happens…."; with this excerpt from your blog on October 19: "Why Rudi Koetzen and Asad Rauf felt the need to intervene to calm things down remains a mystery." The common thread in your columns is continual attribution of villainy to the Australian players and a refusal to see any wrong-doing by the Indian players.

  • Fairchild on November 6, 2008, 3:56 GMT

    Its high time the ICC came up with some fixed guidelines on the punishments. Physical contact- like elbowing, pushing- 3 matches ban. Finger pointing, 100 percent match fee, unsolicited abuse- 50 percent match fee followed by two game suspension of the captain if he fails to reign in his players etc etc. When teams have begun to play the legal game on technicalities, it time, the law also becomes more detailed so that the match referees can take decisions more easily, and also be more fair.

  • Jayesh Desai on November 6, 2008, 3:37 GMT

    Will the same rule applied when non-asian players will be the subject ?

    The Match Referee are quick to condemn when players other than from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, England are the accused.

  • Ben on November 6, 2008, 3:09 GMT

    I think most of you miss the point. There is a BIG difference between a few unkind words and physical abuse. How long since an Aussie player has thrown an elbow out or dropped their shoulder into an opposition player? Gambhir got what he deserved and will have to suffer the consequences for his actions. The BCCI should stop abusing their power all the time. Next we'll hear they are going to tell the players to pack up their kits and go home (sound familiar?). If an Australian player had intentionally hit an opposition player there is no way they would be playing the next match and the same goes if they had called someone a “monkey”. Cricket Australia would have excepted the ICC's decision. It's about time a lot of you took a reality check and stopped blaming the Australian players for everything. While they are certainly not saints, neither are the Indian players.

  • legb4 on November 6, 2008, 2:58 GMT

    Indians complaining about a decision made by the ICC whatever is the world coming to. The simple fact is Gambhir put his elbow into Watson and no-one can deny that so move on. Imagine the uproar if Watson put his elbow into Ganguly besides the fact he'd still be on the pitch writhing in agony the Indians would have walked off the pitch. There's 1 reason why Inida never has and never will become number 1 in world cricket and its because you have no mental strength whatsoever and lets be honest when you're worshipped for being an ordinary cricketer (Ganguly once again) why should you.

  • JB on November 6, 2008, 2:51 GMT

    This has really gone too far, considering it is essentially a cultural difference. You don't hear the English and the South Africans complaining too much about sledging, and in fact both teams have notable proponents of it. Sub-continental teams however, react quite differently. Most australians grow up playing Australian rules football, or a form of rugby. Both are hard, tough games with a lot of physical contact, and in which swearing, sledging etc are so commonplace that they are usually laughed off. When you are playing a sport in which it is quite legal to seriously hurt your opponent by bumping, shepherding etc a few words here and there are more comical than antagonistic. When summer comes and these guys play cricket, the same attitudes can prevail. They are just words however. They can't hurt anyone, and the usual Australian response is to laugh it off, or say something more clever back, not thump them and get yourself into trouble.

  • The Redman on November 6, 2008, 2:21 GMT

    The only thing I've got to say is that India has the worst disciplinary record of any team in international cricket. Gambhir has form on this offence, against Pakistan, mind, not Australia, and he has been suspended BECAUSE he has a prior. Apparently, according to subcontinental cricket, swearing and sledging is a hanging offence, while bribery, throwing, forfeiting, ball tampering, threats to tours, ignoring officials' decisions and racial abuse are all acceptable actions commensurate to the traditions of cricket. And before you all start, subcontinental cricket teams are guilty of everything I've outlined above. As far as I'm concerned, these three teams can play amongst themselves and cheat to their hearts content while the rest of the cricket world gets on with playing hard, tough cricket and don't fall on the ground and sob when someone calls them a name. India has the worst record in international cricket so I fail to see how any of the teams' supporters has a leg to stand on.

  • nazir on November 6, 2008, 2:11 GMT

    I think the Aussies have bitten off more than what they can chew. Gambhir has been batting well, but you never know what he would have scored at Nagpur. I have seen Vijay play- I get the feeling that he may take a liking to the Aussie bowling attack. Given his late entry into cricket, Vijay may not have played for another couple of years, but Watson and Co have speedtracked him into the Indian team- good for Indian cricket and not so great for Australia.

  • Shekhar on November 6, 2008, 2:04 GMT

    The best way to answer these aussie is to hammer them in the Fourth test and claim the series 2-0. Hopefully our team will not get complacent or happy with a 1-1 draw and play well.

  • jim bond on November 6, 2008, 2:01 GMT

    How on earth can anyone justify the bowler blocking the batsman from taking a run. Sledging is one thing, but this is completely unjustifiable- this makes it a ‘contact’ sport. If television reviews show that this was indeed the case, the bowler should be banned for at least five tests

  • Sitaraman B.N. on November 6, 2008, 1:58 GMT

    Cld. u pl. letmeknow the reason why my comments were not published. thanks.

  • Rajesh on November 6, 2008, 1:37 GMT

    So what is new? We all know that Aussie cricketers are poor sportsmen. Period. We would be willing to listen their non-sense about "a bit of gamesmanship" and "what happens on the field..." if they stop running to the referees when the tables are turned on them. Funny how Ponting describes his team mates doing " a bit of chat" and "a bit of fun", but all hell breaks lose if the other team does it.

    What else is new? Do we really expect these judges from South Africa with a long history of bias to follow the due process?

  • Viraf Variava on November 6, 2008, 1:34 GMT

    Superb article Michael. You have touched the real core of the problem. It can never get solved till the players learn to play sport as entertainers and flush their personal egos down the drain. Aussies are very adept at sledgeing without which I wonder how they can take 20 wickets. They should include one more category in the laws of cricket for taking a wicket. SLEDGEING. Shame on you Aussies. Viraf

  • Michael on November 6, 2008, 1:14 GMT

    Some clarification: 1. Broad said don't retaliate if you find swearing offensive so Indians yell "why should he have to turn the other cheek". But Gambhir often starts the sledging - there's a reason why the Indians have him fielding at bat pad when he's a useless fielder!! 2. The Katich incident - Katich turned suddenly and was accidentally blocking Gambhir's path. Gambhir INSTIGATED the verbal altercation by saying "you f#%^ing cheat" - and Katich responded in kind. 3. Watson - a fast bowler who was frustrated and had words to the batsman running past. If this deserves more punishment, Sreesanth and Andre Nel would be paying to play cricket, not vice versa! 4. Hussey - he said that he hoped Gambhir was out because he was in superb form - does anyone remember Sehwag saying he was thankful Symonds wasn't coming to India? 5. Gambhir - he admitted GUILT and only disputed the penalty - he was found guilty of running into Afridi deliberately last year so he had to be banned!

  • redneck on November 6, 2008, 1:04 GMT

    is there anything different to how australia sledge now compaired to 20 years ago when border was incharge??? i honestly dont think so! as long as sledging doesnt involve racist remarks or comments about a players personal life then i dont see a problem. watson may have prevoked gambhir but gambhir decided to take it too far and payed for it! australia didnt get him banned he did it to himself!!!

  • Aditya on November 6, 2008, 1:00 GMT

    Excellent article Michael. A perfect example of the inconsistencies would be the Johnson cursing Laxman incident. It was so nonchalantly pushed under the carpet by the umpires. I cannot picture an Indian bowler getting the same treatment. The match refree would have his code of conduct book out the moment the bowler started a verbal with the batsman. But hey it was Johnson, the Aussies play the game "fair and hard" and the line drawn by them is obviously acceptable to the officials.

  • derrida derider on November 6, 2008, 0:51 GMT

    This article is mendacious rubbish. Far from "no-one denying the abuse", Ponting has vigorously denied it, pointing out that the umpires would certainly have intervened if it had happened. Indian bullying already got Gambhir off very lightly indeed - he should have been charged with "making deliberate physical contact", which he obviously did, which would have got him a minimum two (not one) match ban.

    India is disgracing itself by its refusal to recognise the umpire, its refusal to abide by rules it signed up to and refusal to discipline its overpaid prima donnas. Do you, Michael, as an obvious Indian supporter, really want them to keep their reputation for this sort of thing? If not I suggest you try being a bit more fact-based and impartial in your reports.

    Or perhaps you just prefer to tell your readers what they want to hear, which would say more about your character than I care to know.

  • Vish on November 6, 2008, 0:41 GMT

    It would be a great pity if the aussies manage to win at Nagpur as it would be devalued by their orchestrated removal of Gambhir. Chris Broad, no great lover of Indian cricket, was only too happy to oblige! I have a suggestion: Let us broadcast every word from the stump microphones on TV / radio so that all cricket fans could hear what is said on field and judge the perpetrators. Aussies are basically uncouth and what may culturally apply (B word, F word are very common in Oz english)in Oz is offensive elsewhere. You would have thought that a judge would have considered it necessary to at least have a hearing!! What pressure was brought upon him by cricket Oz, I wonder! The most fitting response from India would be to bat Oz out of the game and give them another thrashing as in Mohali.

  • Vinod Ahir on November 6, 2008, 0:10 GMT

    Continuing on the saga of Sledging and Gambhir's action from my previous comment, By any means BCCI is not saying what Gambhir has done is good for game, But he should have all right to talk about what happened on the field. Every one knows that the punishment on Gambhir case has been given under the pressure from Cricket Australia quickly so that he can not play next game as he is the man in form. Australia do not have bowler who can get him out quickly so they use the method to keep him. If this is the way for a world no 1 team to go ahead, then shame on them. I would love to hear from Ponting to say that , mate that was not great from you and Watsomn but lets move on .. But their intension were always to use malicious tactics to get rid of their problems and proudly say they are sledging kings.. This is the most shame of cricket and cricket fans. Because every one culture does not allow you to behave same way as other do?The only person in australian team is gentman is Bret Lee.!!!!

  • Vinod Ahir on November 6, 2008, 0:01 GMT

    Sledging! what is it?Well , this term has been used so many times by cricketers to hide their mis conduct on the field. The ICC rule book itself is in adequate to handle this. Taken the scanario of Harbhajan and Symonds saga , If he had said monkey then it was racial but if it was Maa Kee , it was not . Trust me for an Indian Maa kee is worst feeling then Monkey. But fact is you can do mis use the rule when you like. Australian are master of mis using the cricket norms and rules. They take help by saying that they play hard cricket. What was hard in case of Gambhir? Watson tried to put his hand in front of Gambhir (No body is talking about when he try to put hand before Gambhir and he is fine just 10%),then Gambhir find his way around and moved on. But when he return back for second , Watson was still in line to force him to go around. That prompt Gambhir to beave bad. In the discussion room, Ian Chappel said, well what Gambhir did was right, I will do the same.continued...

  • Nitin Shankar on November 6, 2008, 0:00 GMT

    Has anyone noticed that the Indian almost ALWAYS pleads "Guilty" to the offense and owns up, but the Aussies plead "not guilty" and get away scot-free. It's time the ICC stepped in and took a clear stance on this, and stops sledging in ALL forms of the word.

  • Dom on November 5, 2008, 23:56 GMT

    In the end what Gambhir did was dumb and the Indian team are going to continue acting like children while they are not punished for stupid acts. Grow up.

  • Thiagarajan Ramadoss on November 5, 2008, 23:43 GMT

    Spirit of the game is one of the most often used ugly cliché in cricket since the Harbhajan Incident. Here we have to take a good look at how people from different background work. Like for an Indian being called a 'Lucky Bastard' is a grave offence where as to an Aussie it's just a bud word. On the other hand having played a decent level of cricket in Australia, I have seen the sledging happen in all levels: Divisional, Sub-district and Premier. The slip quadron is entirely made of people who can catch the ball and more importantly who can chip in a few words to offend batsmen. You cannot compare two different batsmen on how they react to an verbal abuse. One might stay dogged and score runs and other does have a punch on. No ICC which claims to have wise men and judges have to understand that an offence is an outcome that is cumulative of all the situations that lead up to it. So I think Watson should be banned or given a 80% on match fee and Simon Katich should cop a 50%. UNFAIR!

  • Jonathan on November 5, 2008, 23:41 GMT

    Enticer, please don't spout nonsense about racial motivation, especially linking Sachs to the apartheid regime. He was a compaigner against the regime. He was jailed, exiled, bombed by the South African government. He lost his arm and sight in one eye, all because he was fighting against the racist system. That's why he became a Constitutional Court judge after the system was abolished.

  • Sagar on November 5, 2008, 23:37 GMT

    James B "I've seen the Indian bowlers giving out plenty this series. Why are they not in the spotlight?"

    Yes well, you must also be aware that Zaheer Khan was given an 80% fine for giving Hayden a send off in the First test. So why did Watson who's verbal abuse went on for far longer only get a 10% fine? Its this apparant bias given to Australian players when they offend that causes all the problems. If Watson was given an 80% fine then I for one would not be complaining. But as per usual the Australian's get off lightly despite clear evidence that are just as bad as India's offenders.

  • Jonathan on November 5, 2008, 23:34 GMT

    Michael is right. It is about the whole set up of the rules, not about this particular incident. The problem is that there are no clear rules against sledging or swearing. It is actually strange that Watson was fined at all - many people (Australians and others) have done the same thing without being fined - it is only because the situation escalated that he was fined. If there were clear rules then Aussies would stop, or at least accept the punishments.

    I'd rather see Gambhir playing, but he only has himself to blame. (The umpires charged him, not the Australians.) If it's all about being caught in an Aussie trap, why did he do the same to Afridi? The ICC consistently bans repeat offenders, although first "convictions" are usually only fines. The rules are clear about physical contact (understandably) and sending off a dismissed batsman. It's hard to see why sending off is so much worse than general sledging, but that's a problem with the rules, not the umpires and referees.

  • DT on November 5, 2008, 23:33 GMT

    I really have to get hold of one of these mind-reading machines you guys are obviously making in large numbers in India. I mean, you must have them -- how else can you deduce what Gambhir (blessed be his gilded name) and Watson, Ponting, Katich, and Johnson (the execrable sods) were thinking and intending in every on-field exchange.

    According to the full report, Gambhir was happy playing the mouthing game along with the Australians. Now I believe sledging and personal comments are stupid and shouldn't be there, but it's clear that Gambhir doesn't mind engaging in them until HE decides enough is enough. At which point he gets physical. Why anyone has any sympathy for that is beyond me; Gambhir may not be as foul-mouthed as the Australians (though I don't know; perhaps he is. I don't have one of your mind-reading machines), but if he wants to engage actively in prolonged verbal battles, he has to lose the 'innocent bystander' status that so many people seem to want to afford him.

  • Sagar on November 5, 2008, 23:30 GMT

    James B "I've seen the Indian bowlers giving out plenty this series. Why are they not in the spotlight?"

    Yes well you must also be aware that Zaheer Khan was given an 80% fine for giving Hayden a send off in the First test. So why did Watson who's verbal abuse went on for far longer only get a 10% fine? Its this apparant bias given to Australian players when they offend that causes all the problems. If Watson was given an 80% fine then I for one would not be complaining. But as per usual the Australian's get off lightly despite clear evidence that are just as bad as India's offenders. They may play know how to play the system but they are not winning any respect.

  • Aussie Din ks on November 5, 2008, 23:03 GMT

    Sledging should be banned from any game also the bad language should remain off the field. I know that bad language is the norm: now a days but there are still some people with enough class not to "f" this and "f" that. There are also some people that cannot allow their children to watch a cricket match because even though you cannot hear them saying "f ing you can actually lip read it quite openly without out any doubts. And to make matters worse the camera guys actually think this is great and do a close up shot. We also must definitely get more fairness in who gets punished in fact I watched the last test and quite frankly I think at least five of them should have been up in front of the board not only the two of them. I am now very disappointed, because if we win this match now and level the series we will never know if we did it on our own merit or because we got one of India's best batsman sent of. So in fact we sort of get a consolation prize.

  • digitialeye on November 5, 2008, 22:56 GMT

    Gambhir deserved the ban that came his way. That being said, it's high-time the Cricket honchos took a hard look at how to fix this deplorable on-field culture. For a start, like other posters are saying, they can introduce a immediate suspension scheme. If some player is in serious violation of the laws, it shouldn't matter, if he is the last standing batsman or that only bowler who can bowl the last over, the umpires should kick him out. That way, you will at least discourage a chicken-droppings bowler (on the last session of a dead-rubber) from rabidly going after a batsman (who scored a century in previous innings) because he said "stuff" to the media. A violation is a violation. You may choose not to call it a violation "beyond-the-boundary", no one cares what you call it as long as you do so while watching helplessly from the sidelines.

  • Al on November 5, 2008, 22:38 GMT

    Tony P is 100% spot on. All professional sports contain sledging, swearing and verbal intimidation of opponents. It has been going on since the dawn of time. Idealists like to pretend there was a time when this didn't go on in cricket but they are flat out lying. Cricket, like any other professional sport, is a mental challenge as much as a physical one. If a cricketer can't handle a few words which are uttered in every other area of society (yes, even in the mythical "workplace" the author persists on mentioning) then they simply won't be successful. It seems some people would like a game where the bowler bowls a half volley every ball, the batsman drives it through the covers for four and all the fielders clap the shot and pat the batsman on the back. I bet the tv ratings would be through the roof for that! Grow up, get real and enjoy the fact that competitive, entertaining cricket is being played by these two great sides.

  • esmond on November 5, 2008, 22:34 GMT

    Whilst it is clear that the final decision like the original decision is right, one cannot help but feel that it is the Asian player who once again gets the raw deal from the system!

    Why is it that the umpires and match referee who do not do their jobs never get sanctioned? Had the umpires exercised the authority they have this incident would almost certainly never have occurred in the first place. Imagine an umpire saying a player should complain to them about another players "sledging" so that action can be taken; which modern player would display this weakness? This statement is so pathetic and lacking in morale fiber that the umpire and match referee should be immediately suspended for their cowardice.

    Until match officials have the courage of their convictions these sort of unsavory incidents will continue to mar the name of the game and players (especially Australians) will take full advantage of the umpires unwillingness to fulfill their role and obligations. Shame on the umpires, match referee and ICC for allowing this sort of behaviour to be part of the noble game of cricket and to point to the success and hide behind the disciplinary is a total nonsense; if the officials do what they are supposed to do in the first place we would not have these incidents.

  • jzkramer on November 5, 2008, 22:17 GMT

    "If we can't dismiss him, we'll get him banned instead!"

    You're a good writer Michael, but frankly that's bullshit. The Aussies didn't intend to get anyone banned. They were frustrated, they had a go at their nemesis. A bit of lateral thinking suggests that Gambhir was paid a compliment. So just laugh at the big blonde sheila who's bowling and keep on scoring.

    Everyone's going on about the Aussies being undignified and uncivilised and swearing too much for the gentle subcontinental folk to tolerate - the same gentle subcontinental folk from the countries where bombs go off weekly and people are killed by the dozen and relligious wars are de rigeur. But no we can't have any swearing - it's uncivilised.

    Hypocrisy.

    In Australia every child is given the mantra "sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

    The Aussies are unsophisticated, undignified, unintelligent, rough and rude. And live in a society where free speech is encouraged and violence abhorred.

  • Stueyh on November 5, 2008, 22:14 GMT

    "India are by far the worst behaved team in world cricket with about 50 separate guilty verdicts from match referees over the past 10 years, and it has been confirmed yet again with Gambhir, a relative newcomer to international cricket, pleading guilty to his second physical contact charge in less than 12 months."

    It is about time that an Indian is punished for his actions, rather than big daddy BCCI comes along and says "grab your bat and ball we're going home". Ghambir got what he deserved, he is the one who reacted and made physical contact, which is totally unnecessary, plus he used foul language, which also deserves punishment with all the microphones around, and let me remind you that Watson was punished for his actions, but his was a low level offence, Ghambir took it too far, and if the Indians play him or call off the test, it is just a stark reminder of the level of maturity they have as a cricketing team, that of the 5 year olds I teach.

  • Leigh Rogers on November 5, 2008, 21:59 GMT

    Wonderful news to hear that Gambhir's suspension was upheld. Verbal jousting is no justification for physical contact on the cricket pitch. I've seen people defend Gambhir on the grounds that he was sledged by the Aussies - that he was provoked into elbowing Watson. What a joke. If he can't restrain his physical reaction to words he's not only going to find himself in trouble on the cricket ground, but outside it as well. Using the provocation defence you could also justify elbowing your girlfriend/opposition fans if they said something you couldn't handle. Ridiculous. Plus he has a history of physical contact after his deliberate collision with Afridi. Typical Indian self victimisation at work.

    And Michael Jeh should come down from the clouds and rethink his romantic vision of the business world. There's a lot more backstabbing and dirty tricks going on in and around the boardroom than could ever happen onfield. The difference with cricket is your opponents will say it 2 your face

  • Vaibhav on November 5, 2008, 21:49 GMT

    Being physical is not on in the game of cricket. What India needs to learn from the Aussies is to sledge but still be within the law - they hav elearnt sledging from the Aussies but they just need to fine tune it a bit. In the recent past there have been way too many instances where the BCCI has used its clout to get out of trouble - I hope Gambhir's ban continues for the sake of cricket. I am an Indian supporter and will continue to remain but I do not agree to Gambhir;s behaviour and he needs to be reprimanded.

  • Thomas on November 5, 2008, 21:33 GMT

    Cannot agree more! why do they call themselves professionals when they cannot behave like one. The root cause should be nipped in the butt....Bowden should have stopped Watson....I guess the officials and the Aussies wanted this to be the outcome of their planned strategy. What a great way for the world champions to behave....utterly disgusting.

  • Michael Jeh on November 5, 2008, 21:27 GMT

    Mohit, I agree with you that Broad's comments (and Billy Bowden's) smack of stupidity. Using Broad's theory, if you are getting bombed by the enemy, you should not retaliate because you might get bombed even more. Worse still, if your retaliatory action is more violent than the first bomb, you get blamed! In a perfect world, the cricketers would stop sledging because it doesn't work. That will be the only thing that makes them stop sledging - if it ceases to be an effective tactic. All the moral arguments count for nothing to the cricketers themselves. Gambhir's silly actions merely perpetuate the culture of sledging because it proves that if you needle someone long enough, he will snap and do something stupid. Gambhir was batting well, India was on top. Why did he allow Watson to needle him to the extent where he was the one who lost patience and snapped? He should have just kept smashing boundaries and smiling and let Watson blow his stack first. Watson suspended? I doubt it!

  • Rahul on November 5, 2008, 21:25 GMT

    I totally agree with Mohit and and this article. What they really should have done is to consider banning Watson and Katich also for a match each, since they deliberately provoked an offence from Gambhir. This is in keeping with Australia's overall policy of analyzing player's characters and sledging them appropriately. They knew Gambhir is hot-headed, they knew he had a past offence, and they deliberately did this to get him banned because they know they're incapable of stopping him from another century. I was also outraged by Broad's statement that if if one doesn't want abuse, one should not retaliate in kind. So what was Gambhir supposed to do, just sit there and quietly take it? Obviously, if you insult even the most well-behaved player, he has a right to insult you back; it does not constitute acceptance of your behaviour. It just goes to show that ICC's match referees lack the intellectual depth to make these decisions.

  • Chand on November 5, 2008, 21:24 GMT

    I belive that BCCI will protect their player who was exployted by opposition and should not let the match referi and onfild empire get away with such an unfair judgement as well as teach a lession to ICC for their unhealdy body who are anable to perform rationally.

  • Michael Jeh on November 5, 2008, 21:13 GMT

    I agree with anyone who advocates a culture where sledging is banned full stop (as hard as that is to realistically achieve). There can be no "acceptable" line in the sand because different people have different definitions of abuse. On different days, the same player might ignore the identical sledge that infuriates him the next. I'm not excusing any cricketer from any country - just cut it out and let the cricket do the talking. Bat better, bowl better, field better. Is that too much to ask? One thing's for sure, Watson's taken a major wicket without getting anybody out. He's got rid of India's form player. Gambhir was undoubtably foolish to get involved in physical contact but even the Aussies could not have dreamed that he would do something to cop a ban. How sad is that? Gambhir's subsequent ban is justified but the Aussies should take no pleasure from such a hollow victory. If we can't dismiss him, we'll get him banned instead! Where's the pride in that? Shame!

  • saku on November 5, 2008, 20:18 GMT

    i agree with mohit.zaheer got 80% fine for hayden send off.but never used any words to abuse him.gambhir got abused by two aussies but they escape with nothing.Mr.Cricket comes out and says gambhir looks for soemthing once the penalty is laid out.who said racism doesn't exist.this is very blatant,everybody can see it.ICC should look at this kind of partial behaviour from match referee

  • Nikhil on November 5, 2008, 19:43 GMT

    In my opinion this is all due to the struggle for power between the BCCI and the ICC. I mean the ICC are getting insecure about the fact that the BCCI are gaining too much power and hence they are trying to impose such decisions so that it appears as if they are dominant. It's really obvious, I mean why would they say their "decision is final" without a hearing. They are obviously trying to stamp their authority, however it is doing nothing more than harming their reputation. No doubt Gambhir may have deserved a match ban, but that doesn't mean that the Australian's actions shouldn't be reviewed. It's high time the Australians started behaving like top team in the world and focused more on playing on merit rather than mind games, and the its also important for the ICC to review their decisions more carefully and try to reduce the amount of bias they currently have in their decisions

  • The Enticer on November 5, 2008, 19:29 GMT

    Really Mike, do you expect the Australians to change when they can get away with it? The English, the South African will fully support the aussies, no matter how wrong they are. I am ashamed to call myself a cricket fan when I blatantly see how petty and petulant the australians get when they lose or are about to. Add to this the sorry excuses for umpires we have, relics from a colonial past: Mike Denesse, Rudi, Emerson, Hair and Sachs. Has everybody just forgotten the social situation in SA? They had institutionalized segregation which was grudgingly abolished much to teh chagrin of the ruling elite of which I expect Sachs to be a member of. Given the opportunity to rubber stamp Broad's unduly harsh decision was a gift for him. ICC is meaningless, BCCI should just start it's own parallel league... End of story.....

  • Ranjan on November 5, 2008, 19:04 GMT

    Very correct writing. It's very unfortunate that bad language & swearing is accepted and a small elbow tap is found very offending. Field umpires need to control the happenings on the filed.

  • rakman on November 5, 2008, 18:56 GMT

    Abuse of a personal nature should not be tolerated. Comments pertaining to technique or past failures are fine. I am old enough to remember when the incoming batsmen got a polite round of applause when arriving at the wicket, and umpires controlled the game with words, not threats. But despite this winning was still the only goal, but achieved by fair means & with respect for the opposition.

  • Anil A. Desai on November 5, 2008, 18:33 GMT

    What is most unfortunate in this instant is that the instigator has basically gotten off scot free !!! During the 1st run Gambhir did run around Watson. Watson should not have been standing there since he was not in act of fielding a thrown ball from the outfield. He actually muttered few words as Gambhir went by !!! A 10% match fee fine against a 1 match ban ... is a total joke !!!

  • kamal on November 5, 2008, 18:26 GMT

    just an expample of Chris broad - Zaher kan who showed finges to Hayden to leave the fied fined 80% of match fees- gambhir banned for a match but Mr.Watson IPL which give him name and fame in India who has done high level of provacation is fined only 10%- so how racist is this chris broad

  • murali on November 5, 2008, 18:07 GMT

    Could follow football and dish out yellow & red cards on the field associating a fine or a ban to it. Cricket as ceased to be a gentleman's game nowadays!

  • earl on November 5, 2008, 17:48 GMT

    This is a normal for the aussie to set up the opposition with their nasty antics & then sit back & wait for them to make a mistake. The officials in these games lack common sense & good judgement,seems like the aussie has a spell over them.

  • Norm 'The Plume' on November 5, 2008, 17:46 GMT

    I think the writer has given two options: 1) a workplace and 2) a game. He has ignored a third option: cricket is now more like gladiators in combat... sad to say, but the same way some people like pro wrestling, there are those who like the new turn the game is taking, claiming that it shows real passion...

    While some advocate drawing a line, the question is always going to be where that line should be drawn, as shades of grey are hard to deal with. While robbing the game of some color, the only clear options are to allow all out war, or to preclude *any* aggressive contact on the field of play. Anything else would be extremely subjective and left to the morals/values of a majority that we can't even identify...

    And what happens if and when a majority actually prefers to see verbals, contact? Rename the game to 'WhackIt'?

  • Ravindra Desale on November 5, 2008, 17:46 GMT

    The judgement by Justice Albie Sachs is very good. In fact I was surprised that what I had seen and what Justice Sachs saw was not mentioned and used by Gambhir in his defense - Shane Watson appearing to impede him when going for his first run - withdrawing his arm at the last instant as Gambhir ran past him. In any sport retaliation is not permitted and is considered bigger offense than the provocation for it. So Gambhir's ban is justified. Was Shane Watson treated leniently? May be. Indian players should learn how to use the letter of the law to their advantage and provoke the opposition while staying within the letter of the law. Spirit of the game? It's long dead! Long live the game!!

  • vivek on November 5, 2008, 17:36 GMT

    do gambhir desErve this ban?he tackled physically and it is wrong.punish him.the punishment is ban. Fine. but try explaining the actions of Watson.he curses,abuses,swears and gets a small tickle on his rib from Gambhir.and he deserved only 10% of match fees? Ridiculous.Cmon for gods sake.The judgement says when one person is sworn at he shouldnot react.Please!!!different people has different reactions when sworn at.So though the reaction is wrong the action which prompted is doubly wrong.Watson required the same punishment or may be even half.and he got 10% docked of his match fees while Gambhir gets banned.You kidding?Dock 100% of Gambhirs match fees if you are going to dock "just" 10% of Watsons match fees.Now try explaining Katichs action.Any one?Utter nonsense. He is left scot free when Zaheer was docked 80% for his wrong doing ih the previous match.And Mitchel Johnson?Punter said he was just refering to what Laxman said earlier and no malice intended.please explain what is malice!

  • tonyp on November 5, 2008, 17:19 GMT

    There's a lot of whining here but not much in the way of hard data. What exactly are we banning? How is it defined? How is it adjudicated? By whom? On what evidence?

    Are we banning specific terms or phrases? particular mannerisms? styles of behaviour? Which cultural sensitivities are we respecting?

    Apparently verbal provocation is justification for physical violence. Strange, because legally, if you punch someone on the street, the fact that they called you a filthy name is not a defense. It does mitigate the offense slightly but you are still guilty of wrong-doing because responsible reasonable adults are presumed to be able to control themselves in the face of potty-mouthed idiots. In this instance the guy calling you a name won't be arrested either - but you will be if you hit him. This is called reality. Take a good look at it - get used to it.

    Watson was fined - that's that. Gambhir's appeal was denied. That's that. Learn to accept the referee's decision.

  • Sundar on November 5, 2008, 17:00 GMT

    Well said. It is unclear where you can draw the line for sledging. I don't think there are clear rules for this sort of a thing. So really the umpires cannot do much about prevention. Complete banning of verbal exchange is impossible and probably not healthy as well. This is a really dicey issue in cricket.

  • Kesav on November 5, 2008, 16:45 GMT

    Can he(Watson) be banned from ICL for the next season?

  • nilanka on November 5, 2008, 16:40 GMT

    truley unprofessional and insulting to behave like that. don't agree with the style oziz play.. they also are not playing like gentlemen. glad that ICC and match referees make sure the game is palyed with right spirits.

  • Sam on November 5, 2008, 16:30 GMT

    The Aussies talk about "playing our cricket hard but fair" and "living it on the field". However, they just know one thing - to win by hook or by crook. They're the most hypocritic team I've ever seen in any sport.

    Gambhir and Laxman, like Harbhajan in the earlier series, have been a thorn in their sides. They know they can't get these players with their cricketing skills. So they deliberately try to unsettle this players with their ugly tricks. So much for sportsmanhip!

    Now Harbhajan and Gambhir have a short fuse and have fallen to their trap. They tried to do the same to Laxman when Mitchell Johnson had a go at him on the last day of the 3rd test, but being an experienced veteran, Laxman didn't fell into the trap.

    Bottomline: It is right that Australia being the chief perpetrator of this dirty game of verbal abuse and intimidation should not be allowed to continue this abhorrent practice in the name of "sportsmanship". Whats acceptable in their culture need not be so for us!

  • biju on November 5, 2008, 16:28 GMT

    Cricket is called as a professionals game and sledging is a profession according to the Aussies players.The match referees and umpires always talk about the thin line and god knows where the line is drawn.Aussies can talk all the crap in the world and still they survive because they have prictised the art of sledging.Look at the event Gambhir was running for the 1st run and watson was busy sledging -when Gambhir turned for the 2nd run Watson turned back to face Gambhir and continued sledging.The intension was clear - to intimidate Gambhir.Who is at fault? the one who started with it or the one responded for the intolerable provocation.It is like pinching a baby to make it cry and beat it up to stop crying !

  • Deepanjan Datta on November 5, 2008, 16:16 GMT

    Gambhir deserved the punishment, no debates there. Provocation or not, international sports is a non-contact enrvironment. That said, Watson, Johnson and Katich, definitely got off lightly. There shouldn't be condoning the instigators as well. No denying the fact that Gambhir needs to keep his temper in check, given his history with Afridi, as well as his importance to the team on his present form. Justice Sachs report leaves very little room to disagree or brood.

    But what was Bowden waiting for? the tempers to fray and spill over, so that he can act the cop? And please ! with what Hayden, or even McGrath had to say all the time, Aussies shouldn't be complaining about Harbhajan or Gambhir.

    I hope good cricket takes the centerstage.

  • Tom Cruz on November 5, 2008, 15:48 GMT

    I feel sorry for Indians. From watching all these from UK, i get an impression of Aussies being franky stupid. Its captain is not fit for purpose. He is one of the main culprit for all the shameful things happening. It is high time to hand over the captaincy to another decent man.

  • mailsind on November 5, 2008, 15:43 GMT

    The judgement seems pretty odd comparing a similar incident in the past. In April 22-23,1998 in a one day game in Sharjah, Ponting Shouldered Harbhajan after Harbhajan went beserk in celebration after getting Ponting out. It was a physical contact. Result: Ponting 20% match fee, Harbhajan: 1 game suspension + 50% match fee.

    Now with Gambhir and Watson, the judgement is completely reversed. Why double standard and where is the justice?

  • Ramki on November 5, 2008, 15:39 GMT

    This provocation started from Steve waugh team and they target opponent player whi is in good form. To me Australians are not all professionals. Their play reminds me the childish game cheating others and provocate when the kid do well. Cheap cricket introduced by Australians. Very bad for world cricket. They are NO.1 team anymore. Its the time for ponting to declare his retirement.

  • Roger Maxos on November 5, 2008, 15:31 GMT

    I saw the Youtube video on this. Saw the constant provocation of Aussies. It was clear they had clear plan on disturbing a batsman by verbal abuse. Billy Bowden is a beer-mate of the Aussies, so he would ignore the deep personal insults hurled at the Indian batsmen. When Gambhir set-off for the 1st run, Watson raised a hnad as if to hit him. Why he got away with a 10% fine ? Clear bias here.

  • Abhimanyu on November 5, 2008, 15:12 GMT

    The BCCI need to take a step back and let this slide.

    While it is true that Australia have always abused to their opposition (and while someone with a quick-wit like Ramnaresh Sarwan can hold is own) it must be stated that the most consistent performance on this issue has come from the ICC.

    Their partisan judgements (1 match ban for Gambhir vs a 10% fine for Watson and nothing for the absolutely inutile Katich) have been a source for frustration not just to the BCCI, but to the Sri Lankan and Pakistani cricket boards too.

    While not a big fan of some of the characters in the above teams (e.g. Harbhajan and Afridi - both of whom should probably be banned if they speak to any life form on the pitch) the ICC need to take a look at their choice of match referees.

    Chris Broad is as unbiased as the Fed have been with Lehman Brothers. If the media or public were to explore his track record, (eg PAK vs RSA or SL vs AUS)... well two words- Steve Bucknor - another "unbiased" observer

  • ASingh on November 5, 2008, 15:10 GMT

    I have lost all respect for Ponting and the Aussies. They figured that Gambhir was the key batting person for India and so with their regular sledging they set up Gambhir. Aussies are no longer playing cricket---but a bullying game and they have removed a key player with their extremely bad sportmanship. You can tell how bad a sportmanship they are when Hayden and Gillchrist are talking crap. Clearly the Aussie population must know by now that Ponting is doing extreme damange to the peronsification of Aussie cricket set up by Steve Waugh. More extreme personality are developing under Ponting---he is also using M. Johnson--so we have a team (Katich, Watson, M. Johnson, Hayden, Haddin, Ponting, Clark) of instigators of bulling and unprofessional sportmanship led by Ponting.

  • yagnesh on November 5, 2008, 15:03 GMT

    very nice and very true. in the interest of the game, if gambhir is banned for 1 test, watson should be banned for 2 tests, and on field umpires also should be held responsible for not doing anything to stop the provocatoins. they were umpires not the spectetors.

  • Ashok on November 5, 2008, 15:01 GMT

    It is time ICC stood firm against Indian Cricket Board's threats. As an Indian, I am ashamed that instead of disciplining Gambhir for deliberate elbowing, BCCI is encouraging such unruly behaviour. Irrespective of other teams behaviour, we should show dignity and keep the spirit of the game alive. No Indian parent would tolerate such behaviour in their families, in private or public life. Shame on BCCI.

  • yagnesh on November 5, 2008, 14:57 GMT

    very true. the person provokating should be fined more. if gambhir is banned for 1 test, watson should be banned for 2 tests, the on field empires shold also be banned for 2 tests for not doing what they empowered to do on the field, and last the refree is also shold be held responsible.

  • Manoj Sathe on November 5, 2008, 14:53 GMT

    Michael Jeh's article make a lot of sense and needs to be read by ICC policy makers specially elite panel umpires and match referee. One can not draw a line of wht is acceptable form of abuse one can accept, citing example from the Monkey episode in Australia Andrew Symonds himself admitted that he does not mind being called by the 'word' by his team mates but he will not accept it from others. Who know wht you like and wht your limits are? ICC knowingly or unknowing proving it again and again that it is biased on the color of skin. It would have not surprised when the game was governed by countries like UK, now its is governed by Asian countries (accept the fact) they are bringing money and fame everything but that does not give them any right to bully but ICC's few members seems like they don’t want to accept the fact that Asian are ruling the game. People like Gavaskar pointed this biased behavior a number of times but do really ICC care for the spirit of game, if yes then show it.

  • pradeep on November 5, 2008, 14:43 GMT

    what is this rubbish that everybody is talking here about gambhir deserving his ban!!absolutely ridiculous and absurd.these shameless uncivilised australians come to you and abuse you and talk bad about your parents and wife and sister and if any self-respecting man retaliates (may be even physicaly) you are going to ban him??this is absurd and this is just not ok.there is nothing greater than self-respect.to say that 'we will talk anything and everything on the field and once the match is over we will shake hands and forget everything is downright nonsense'.what gambhir did was absolutely right.Wake up Indians.You cannot allow anybody and everybody to come up to you talk bad about ur parents and wife and take all that in the spirit of the game!!becoz i am sorry thats not the SPIRIT of the game

  • R Sivasubramaniam on November 5, 2008, 14:38 GMT

    Well done Michael.

    The rules are drafed and applied according to Western mores - where to call someone a monkey is offensive, but it is alright to call one a b@#$%^d. The ICC has time and time again shown that it is a toothless tiger - the umpires a5re scared to report the Aussies and Matt Prior thinks that it is a legitimate way to get a batsman out - if so, it should go down as the 11th way of dismissing batsmen with the fielder getting credit for the wicket and the entry in the score-book should read XYX sledged out ABC

    Siva from Singapore

  • Shreyansh on November 5, 2008, 14:37 GMT

    What Gambhir did was wrong, but what provoked him to do it should also be considered. Even Ian Chappel in the commentary box said "if a bowler would come in my way i would give him a taste of my elbow". Shane Watson did much more than that. The time when the incident happened, everybody could see the frustration on Australians face. And thier (Australian) way of getting thier frustration out. And the tolerance of Gambhir was broken by Shane Watson on that occasion. I wonder why Mr. Billy Bowden came in b/w the Gambhir and Katich incident, only after Gambhir started to say something to Katich and not nywhere in that match when frustrated Australian bowlers had a lot to say to Indian batsman. If Zaheer was fined 80% then why was Watson fined only 10%, when he was far more aggresive to the batsman. But, now Gambhir has been banned for 1 test and Australians has (now) a good chance of putting up a close game at Nagpur.

  • S. Sen on November 5, 2008, 14:00 GMT

    Gambhir fully deserves the ban, and I hope this sends a message to cricketers who think that behaving like a jackass on the field is acceptable. I only wish there is a similar zero-tolerance crack-down on 'chit chat,' chest-puffing, pavilion-pointing, etc., which is tiresome beyond endurance. Shut up and play, you overpaid morons.

  • Bhavesh Patel on November 5, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    Very good article. This is australlian way to win!!!!!! Some says (of course Aussies) cricket is a mind game. Probably they are right about what they believe for this game. I think if this is a mind game, than why don't they play CHESS and beat V. ANAND and prove your talent of playing mind game.

  • James B on November 5, 2008, 13:38 GMT

    People suggesting Watson was not punished are forgetting a couple of things. Watson WAS punished. He was fined. It is less than what Gambhir got as he didn't physically assault another player. Furthermore, this is Gambhirs second offense in less than a year. The first time he was only fined as well.

    As per this being some great Australian conspiracy to get him suspended come of it. They were doing what they no doubt normally do and Gambhir lost the plot a little. They didn't get hime suspended, he got himself suspended.

    I've seen the Indian bowlers giving out plenty this series. Why are they not in the spotlight? Because so far the Aussie players have managed to control their tempers...

  • Sree on November 5, 2008, 13:38 GMT

    It was the Aussies who keeps harping that whatever happens on the field, stays on the field, right? Then why do the sissies run and whine to the umpires the moment the Indians start giving it right back? First, it was the sissy Hayden and now Watson. Why was Johnson let off the hook for his verbal diarrhea against Laxman? It could be the Aussie upbringing of verbally abusing someone you do not like, (respect is one word you will not find in their dictionary). If you look at the pattern, first Gambhir and then Laxman, the goal was to get rid of the players who have been a thorn in their flesh in this series so far. As amply demonstrated at the Sydney test, the Aussies will take any route available to win a match, by hook or by crook!!

  • hastagiri on November 5, 2008, 13:38 GMT

    If only the Gambhir decision is considered, i think its a fair call. No amount of sledging/bad-mouthing can justify getting physical. But the aussies too need to learn that they are not the GODS who will decide what is right and what is wrong. If McGrath is dishing out nasty stuff to Sarwan, he has to expect nasty stuff back form him. If Symonds wont walk and Ponting will neither walk nor refrain from claiming bump balls, he should not lecture Sehwag on the virtues of walking. Arrogance will always be admired to a certain extent in capable individuals or teams. But if arrogance grows beyond a point, it needs to be checked or finally cricket would be the loser.

  • tonyp on November 5, 2008, 13:09 GMT

    You know what I don't approve of swearing on a cricket field, I think it's uncouth, infantile, & unnecessary.

    Why then am I defending it?

    Because I see no way of effectively drafting rules that will eradicate it. Either the game must be played with complete silence between opposing players or the players will simply find or invent new ways to express their opinions.

    Outlawing key phrases or gestures that may be offensive in a multitude of languages & cultural contexts opens a can of worms. What phrases are valid and what aren't? How do we prevent new phrases proliferating as slang develops? The only answers to these questions seem to be a morass of commissions and litigation up to our eyeballs.

    Whereas drawing a hard line at physical contact is easy, simple, and effective. And just like the law off the field. Verbal provocation may mitigate but it NEVER justifies physical violence. So everyone will just have to live with swearing - just like we do in film, tv, or real life.

  • Mahesh on November 5, 2008, 12:54 GMT

    The often repeated statement is "Cricket is not a contact (physical) sport", but how about the provocation going, watson raised hands while gambir took that run, and said something which has triggered gambhir into elbowing him. its equivalent to the game of football where the opponents target the best player in the opposite side and provoke him and trick him to commit foul and send him off with red card. Why johnson let off with no actions, when in he was constantly verbal against lakshman for no reasons. No other country does sledging to this extent, aussies started it, and the true spirit of the game should take this into account, in any law of justice, the punishment is more severe for the cause of the crime then the actual crime commitor. Aussies are poor losers, and the other countries for so long stood up the losses against them and still never resorted to such tactics, its high times aussies learn to accept defeat, and now BCCI has to even think about who is the match referee..

  • tonyp on November 5, 2008, 12:42 GMT

    This article is specious nonsense.

    Cricket is a sport not a corporate office.

    Comparisons of on-field behaviour might be drawn with baseball, soccer, ice hockey or rugby where verbal abuse is considered so trivial it passes largely without comment.

    This is a "game" in which millions of dollars are at stake, in which it it is perfectly legal to hit a batsmen with a hard leather projectile perfectly capable of killing them or smash a ball at a fieldsman's face, where batsmen feel under no obligation to give themselves out and bowlers and fieldsmand feel under no compulsion to restrict appeals to instances where there's a realistic chance of a wicket.

    Oh, but swearing is a no-no

    But let's stick with the professional allusion as having some validity. What other professions involve constant barrages of abuse? Police officer. paparazzi photographer, parking inspector, re-possession agent, process server & the list goes on. Everyone might like to grow up & stop pretending they're six.

  • D chakrabarti on November 5, 2008, 12:40 GMT

    Good article. reaction to any 'abuse' is completely person dependent. The verdict to ban Gambhir clearly shows the biasness of ICC! It is completely unjust to punish for reacting to a abuse rather than punishing the abuser! Is verbally abusing the so called 'spirit of cricket'? If not then why australian players who always 'abuse' others don't get the punishments they deserve? ICC has to answer the questions, otherwise it loses its credebility!

  • Ravi K, Norway on November 5, 2008, 12:27 GMT

    Talking about umpires and match referees taking preemptive action, is like asking police to charge someone on the presumption of a crime yet to be committed. Warnings, yes; but everything beyond that becomes a highly subjective matter. When a sport is played on an international level, it is a fight for mental domination of the opponents. Added to that, cricket is non-contact sport. So, one would expect a sort of dancing on tip-toes - and wait for the first one to fall! I think it is all fair. Gambhir deserves the punishment. Verbal abuse is nothing new and zillion batsmen face it. That's the added dimension to the sport. It brings out mental toughness. Either you have witty responses or just grin-and-bear it. No place for getting all physical about it. I hope Gambhir understands that along with fluidity in batting and alacrity on the field, he needs to mental toughness on the ground at all times. BCCI trying to defend his actions is just too ludicrous.

  • Yayathy on November 5, 2008, 12:22 GMT

    Nice Post. I can see one point from the last two test series between these teams. The Ausies pick the player who performs well and try to take him out of the squad. It happened with Harbhajan Singh in Australia and now Gautam Gambhir in India. Is this the way that Ausies want to win a Test match. Will the name "World Champion" fit them if they win matches in this fashion. It is sure that Ausies cant see others performing. They troubled Murali then came Harbhajan and now its time for Gauti. Why don they have the guts to try it against the little master Sachin. Rather believing this attitiude, they can believe in themselves and play much better cricket.

  • andy on November 5, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    How some people can blame Gambhir's behaviour on Watson is absolutely rediculous, he is in control of his own actions, you don't see anyone else who gets sledged resorting to physical abuse of an opponent. It's also time the for BCCI to stop trying to flex its financial muscle over the rest of world cricket and the ICC everytime a decision doesn't go in its favour.

  • sean o on November 5, 2008, 12:15 GMT

    I was an unabashed Australia supporter up until Ricky Ponting became captain. This rubbish has ruined the spectacle that cricket used to be. The characters are gone from the game, and all we have left are players who are but a shadow of all those who have passed before. Foul mouthed, ignorant, impertinent and obnoxious are a few descriptions that come to mind. If the ICC doesn't have the guts to do something about the way the game is being played then maybe the MCC can find a way. Remove all technology from the game, allow the umpires to umpire and enforce the Laws of the game, and make the captains accountable for the disgusting and reprehensible behaviour of their players.

  • Geoff Plumridge on November 5, 2008, 12:14 GMT

    Michael,

    Excellent article. The strongest point you made seems to be missed by many though. If you use the "cricket is my job" excuse to explain why all the old amateur niceties have left the game then as you've said cricket as a workplace should be free of bullying and all other forms of intimdatory behavior. There are numerous Australian Federal & State laws dealing with bullying and intimidatory behavior in the workplace. So why are our cricketers any different, or indeed free of the sanctions imposed by these same acts? If Ponting is the "boss" in this said workplace, then my advice to any visiting team is have Australian authorities prosecute the team via Ponting under Australian workplace law for bullying & intimidatory behavior. Then cricket Australia needs to make a clear decision. Is it a job? Or is it a game? If a job follow the law. If a game then return to the old courtesies and respect inherent in the original game. No you can't have your cake and eat it too Ricky.

  • Anjo on November 5, 2008, 12:10 GMT

    "There can be no such thing as an “acceptable level of sledging”. What’s acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another. Furthermore, what’s tolerable one day may be insufferable the next day, even to the same person. Where do you draw the line before somebody snaps?" Word. It was Harbhajan who was targeted last time and he obliged, and this time Gambhir fell hook, line and sinker. What these player should have learned is that the best way to really get at the Australians is to beat them hollow and then ignore them, quite achievable nowadays. Thats the traditional way India has fought back in the past, and it was effective. You don't lose your dignity and lower yourself to the level of thugs. Unfortunately the BCCI and Gambhir haven't taken the right path this time, honestly the BCCI should give him an "official reprimand", that seemed to work for Hayden, didn't it? Given that Katich wasn't penalized this adds fuel to Malcolm Conn's "worst behaved team" on paper, rubbish.

  • Sankara Raman on November 5, 2008, 11:54 GMT

    Nice article. Well, well .... who has indicted whom. Chris Broad, for God's sake, he the gentleman! I still have a photo of Chris crashing all the stumps with the bat after getting a poor verdict in a test match! Let ICC first get hold of referees who have practiced what they can preach now. Imagine, Ponting, Hayden etc officiating as referees ...! Would be fun to watch ...!

  • deepak nair on November 5, 2008, 11:53 GMT

    lot of people have argued as to how to draw the line. I believe that any direct conservation with the batsmen should be banned!! All these fielders need to do is knock off the batsmans concentration for a few seconds and this is what australia has perfected over the years with their chit-chat. batsmen should also stop copping it on the chin and start complaining to the umpires!

  • James on November 5, 2008, 11:45 GMT

    Well Said. If this happens, we will see Aussis at the bottom of the Rank table. They cannot win a Single match without abuse/sledging what ever you call.

  • Cricket Lover on November 5, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    Very aptly put. Could not agree with you more.

  • nas on November 5, 2008, 11:42 GMT

    Aussies strech the rules and Indians break them.That is the difference.Perhaps india should hire a seasoned Aussie for coaching in sledging and without being caught.

  • natarajan on November 5, 2008, 11:42 GMT

    Well the same thing happened during the last football world cup - Zidane head butt! While Zidane was penalised for reacting with the head butt to the guy who, openly admitted, of having used foul language and indecent proposal about zidane's sister, the provocateur was let off without any punishment! If you clinically analyse the aussie cricket since 1970's they always played mental games, intimidated the opponents through on field off field antics (remember the torment llyod and co went thru 1975 series in australia)and they have the audacity to claim as being very fair and honest! The only way to punish them is to have less matches with them and isolate them - Hurt them financially, thats the only way a bully will understand!

  • NV on November 5, 2008, 11:39 GMT

    An exteremely well analyzed and documented comments. I agree with every bit of the article.

  • Veeran on November 5, 2008, 11:38 GMT

    I agree with the of the article. What worries me more is the fact that none of the Aussies seem to have any remorse on the sledging that has been targetted at Gambhir and Laxman ( I hope no Aussie player is gonna say that Laxman is a guy who keeps looking for trouble ;-)). I agree with Pranav's suggestion that the captain should be penalized for on-field transgressions of his team. I can't for a moment believe that Ponting could not ahve reined in these players on time.

  • Vivek on November 5, 2008, 11:33 GMT

    The person should be held responsible who uses abusive language and provocate other for retaliation. I could see in the television footage that Watson stood purposely in the way of Gambhir just to provoke him further after verbaly abusing him few minutes back. If Aussies can not win the game, then they can go to any non-sense level.

  • Ravi on November 5, 2008, 11:16 GMT

    The cultural difference is very well exploited by the Australian. It is perfectly normal to use the word bastard but in Indian culture this is highly derogatory. I am sure Australian strategy is to mentally disintegrate the opposition. Particularly those i form and doing well like Gambhir. To my mind the umpire has full authority to intervene and identify the culprit and report him immediately. I fully agree with Gavaskar. Does the batsman sledge when he hits the bowler for boundaries? then why the bowlers are irked when they are hit and they redicule the batsman when he is beaten by a delivery. It is very unfortunate and it can lead to a full blown fight one day. Then any tight security off the field for players won't protect them on field.

  • leroy on November 5, 2008, 11:09 GMT

    What an article- at least have the courage to come out and say you think Watson should have been suspended. I have watched this series and when Gambhir is fielding he has engaged in verbal abuse. However according to your article because the Austrlaians were able to show restraint and not elbow someone- you have deemed that Indian abuse is no, well, abusive. You are making assumptions on what was said without actually hearing it. And once again you have condemed the Australians, the Umpires, the match refree, and the ICC yet somehow excused Gambhir for elbowing another player. Did Hayden hit Zhaeer when he gave him a mouthful. Did Hayden hit Sharma when he points to the dressing room. NO Im sorry but your reporting is absolute bias- but i wouldnt expect anything less- or more

  • Manish (a different one from one already commented) on November 5, 2008, 10:57 GMT

    What a lovely article Michael. Hitting the nail on the head. Only way is to stop it totally. One angle missing is also cultural tolerance. What is normally accepted swear in one culture could be absolutely unacceptable in another as people like me who work in multinationals learn from experience. Where to draw the line? Only answer is there is no line at all because there should be no verbal (and Physical) abuse in cricket.

  • Raghavan on November 5, 2008, 10:46 GMT

    It is sad that the umpires and match refree accept and even defend that abusive sledging as part of game. Chris Broad says that people who swear back cannot complain about swearing. If this happens in my office, I can complain about Workplace harassment. In the Kangaroo court of ICC umpires and match refree and selectively approinted judges, no such protection is there.

    The level of abuse by Aussies is protected by ICC. The word 'monkey' is banned; touching the other party banned; swearing back legitimises the abusive behaviour, umpires are deaf and they will not intervene when the abuses are started.

    The only option I can think of is that BCCI should unilaterally decide not to play with abusive Aussies until CAB and ICC step in to stop this legitimate Workplace Harrassment.

  • Arun on November 5, 2008, 10:44 GMT

    I agree either put equal fines on both Gambhir and Watson or ban both of them for a test match & the sledgind should be stopped by law, if possible from the next test match itself.

    But then I think the mighty Aussies might lose their main weapon in the game.

    Arun, Dubai

  • sundar on November 5, 2008, 10:43 GMT

    The language used by Watson when Gambir hit him for a boundry is totally unacceptable to any asian and even for that matter to any one.These sports persons has to understand that they are being watched by millions and they are degrading the whole sports feternity.I dont see that calling a person even as monkey is that offensive when compared to the languages used while sledging.we have not seen any west indians sledging as these Australions when they too were world no one in the seventies under clive lloyd.i suggest to fine heavily the players who sledge rather than allowing to go to the extent of physical.Total ban of sledging to impossed immediately.

  • Sunil Agarwal on November 5, 2008, 10:42 GMT

    Well, Spirit of game - my foot! Where did the spirit go when Simon Katich obstructed Gambhir to take a single. Even, Watson put the obstruction. Is the sledging without getting punished a patent held by Ozs only. I think they should punish Simon Katich, and Mitchell Johnson as well... to be fair and equitable! And, it is also bad that Indians are following the Australian's behavior. It is okay to counter them; but not to adopt it.

  • Mohit on November 5, 2008, 10:39 GMT

    Very good article. I read the gist of Judge Sachs judgement and something that left me flabbergasted was Broad's apparent written contention that if one doesn't want abuse, one should not retaliate in kind??!! This is so stupid that I think it's worth analysis on your part as well. What is the limit of tolerance? Apparently, players from the subcontinent are not expected to abuse or be aggressive with their white counterparts. Who has defined these expectations? I know a lot of the Whites in other countries don't like hearing it, but racism does exist. The ICC has to stamp out this ugliness in sports by having uniform judgements. Gambhir deserves the ban given his previous record, but the fact that Watson was given a 10% ban (also that he pleaded not guilty-pretty shameless and that fact itself should have invited a heavy judgement), Katich was not punished at all, and the determination on ICC's part to make sure Gambhir doen't play the last test leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

  • Brian on November 5, 2008, 10:37 GMT

    My sympathies are with Gambhir. He was set up. Watson was the hatchet man acting on Ponting's orders. If you can't bowl 'em out, get 'em out any way you can!

  • Pranav on November 5, 2008, 10:29 GMT

    Ban Gambhir, keep him off the park. It's justified. And for the fourth Test itself. The BCCI should shut up for once, and if Gambhir doesn't learn, next time ban him for five Tests.

    But for gosh sakes, please explain to me what this part of the judgement means: "Chris Broad concluded that if one doesn't want to be sworn at, then one shouldn't swear in retaliation."

    Turn the other cheek? Let the opposition keep gnawing at you? Just because they can't get you out (or god forbid, because you said in a press conference that they were too defensive -- Ponting's justification for Johnson v Laxman)?

    That's the spirit of cricket. We say so. Be stoic. Be a man. The umpires won't help because it's 'part of the game'. Besides, if you do, you're a whinger.

    So ban Gambhir. It's justified. But start holding the captain completely accountable for his team's on-field behaviour. Start fining HIM and banning HIM. You'll soon see teams falling into line. A 10% penalty? Ridiculous.

  • srivenu paturi on November 5, 2008, 10:27 GMT

    I support your writing Michael, but the real question remains unanswered "Abused must be stopped to what level?". You see Michael, a little chit-chat between the players is completely acceptable and so is a little heated arguments as all the players do not posses the same emotional backgrounds. But a serious provocation must be surely stopped as the gentle men game is no more turning out to be gentle. In my personal view Watson should have been punished reasonable. Well, as there is a saying "never tolerate if one abuses your mother or your country". So even Watson had the important role playing in that disgraceful act. I was actually quite surprised to know that he made out with just 10% fine. Was that even a punishment? Gauti was a scape goat, though he over reacted. One question still lingers in my mind, was the incident deliberate? Hence, my bottom line is that there should be a serious line drawn to keep the chit-chats and provocations low.

  • OjoNam on November 5, 2008, 10:25 GMT

    @ manish : Soccer doesn't seem to have too many problems with "cultural differences" : simple, you tackle you get a card, you tackle bad you get a red card, you purposefully hit, you get banned, you repeat, you get no club. The player doesn't cry because he's black, white, small, big.. The club neither

  • DJ on November 5, 2008, 10:23 GMT

    I agree with manish - drawing the line in such a fluid, dynamic situation is not only impossible but futile. There are cultural differences - bastard versus something to do with a mother in law - these are just shades of grey. Who would want to watch cricket if it was completely scrubbed clean and antiseptic? The rubs of different cultures is what makes it wonderful and a rarity in modern sport. I agree there is a line - racism, direct interference, and of course bodily contact. As long as the umpires keep things in check aka their job, then it just adds to the spectacle. I do object to the ugly australians tag - while admitting that our actions do not always make us proud (Ponting in Sydney for example and the win at any cost), the Indians need to stop the holier than thou attitude as they are just as bad. And the BCCI needs to start acting like a real governing body instead of a tin-pot dictatorship and stop throwing its toys out of the pram if it doesn't like the ruling.

  • Narayanan Subramaniam on November 5, 2008, 10:14 GMT

    Yet again this reflects the failure on the part of the ICC to provide clarity on a touchy issue. When the "affected" party is India, all the stakeholders involved i.e. BCCI, players, Indian media blame the Australians for not playing the game right. If as they claim the Australians are sledging and hurling personal insults and the ICC Code of Conduct defines such behaviour as being against the spirit of cricket, lodge a compliant to that effect. It should be a question of facts. However the code of conduct doesnt seem to be too clear on the issue of sledging. So if thats the problem then raise an issue requesting for changes to the Code of Conduct. The ICC should be the target not the Australians who are using the rules to the hilt.

    Instead the BCCI complains only when India is affected i.e when they lose a test or when a player is banned. Its time the BCCI stops this and confronts the ICC on this as a policy issue and not on a case to case basis.

  • Agnel Pereira on November 5, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    Well written. Its so sad that the extreme provocation is allowed to persist by not being punished. Aussies are bent on making a mess of opponents in form all the time and they even shamefully expect that the star players in the rival team does not play. Read what Mike Hussey said "Hope Gambhir does not get to play". Watson goes unpunished for intensive provocation. I fully agree with one match ban for Gambhir (could have been a suspended ban after the series to ensure level playing field) but I am ashamed to know that ICC once again messed up with the entire issue by letting Watson and Katich get away with it. What will happen next? Watson and Katich will be joined by the rest of the team to disintegrate more of Indian players in the next match. By hook or crook, Aussies want to win!

  • Mailadi Paramu on November 5, 2008, 10:07 GMT

    The point here is that it is always the Indians who get the punishment. You can get one hundred examples of this. Why is it so? When the Ozs misbehave, it is their way of playing???

  • Adith Venkiteshwaran on November 5, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    Lovely article. I am big believer that the person doing the provoking loses the right to expect a certain kind of response from the victim. The ball is no longer in their court. The Aussies are wrong if they believe that they can get away with their actions because it is more "subtle" than the explicit Indian way of sledging. It was appaling to read the lackadaisical attitude of the umpires, in that they didn't take a more proactive stance when verbals were exchanged.

    Someday we are going to see this sort of chatter manifest into a full-blown fight. This problem needs immediate attention.

  • waterbuffalo on November 5, 2008, 8:27 GMT

    Regardless of who you support, you can see who it benefits. And if India loses, all hell will break loose, and for very good reason. The Aussies can pretend all they want, but they know who is the top scorer in the Indian side, I found Hussey's comments laughable, as if Mr. Hayden was not averse to a bit of chat, but my oh my, Gambhir "goes around looking for it". You can fool some people Michael Hussey, but you cannot fool those of us with a brain between our ears. A batsmen sledging the bowlers, Javed Miandad would be proud of little Gambhir, eh? Miandad would have been banned for 8 test matches. I cannot think of a more effeminate team than the current Aussie team, complaining about Gautam Gambhir. Whatever happened to dear old Merv Hughes?

  • manish on November 5, 2008, 7:28 GMT

    nice write up michael..however drawing the line concept is vague.. who draws the line & whose cultural values are to be adhered to when such lines are drawn? the only way we can evolve from this is a total ban on talking down to the opposition..mental disintegration be damned!

  • Anoop Jayakumar on November 5, 2008, 7:24 GMT

    Cannot agree more!

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  • Anoop Jayakumar on November 5, 2008, 7:24 GMT

    Cannot agree more!

  • manish on November 5, 2008, 7:28 GMT

    nice write up michael..however drawing the line concept is vague.. who draws the line & whose cultural values are to be adhered to when such lines are drawn? the only way we can evolve from this is a total ban on talking down to the opposition..mental disintegration be damned!

  • waterbuffalo on November 5, 2008, 8:27 GMT

    Regardless of who you support, you can see who it benefits. And if India loses, all hell will break loose, and for very good reason. The Aussies can pretend all they want, but they know who is the top scorer in the Indian side, I found Hussey's comments laughable, as if Mr. Hayden was not averse to a bit of chat, but my oh my, Gambhir "goes around looking for it". You can fool some people Michael Hussey, but you cannot fool those of us with a brain between our ears. A batsmen sledging the bowlers, Javed Miandad would be proud of little Gambhir, eh? Miandad would have been banned for 8 test matches. I cannot think of a more effeminate team than the current Aussie team, complaining about Gautam Gambhir. Whatever happened to dear old Merv Hughes?

  • Adith Venkiteshwaran on November 5, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    Lovely article. I am big believer that the person doing the provoking loses the right to expect a certain kind of response from the victim. The ball is no longer in their court. The Aussies are wrong if they believe that they can get away with their actions because it is more "subtle" than the explicit Indian way of sledging. It was appaling to read the lackadaisical attitude of the umpires, in that they didn't take a more proactive stance when verbals were exchanged.

    Someday we are going to see this sort of chatter manifest into a full-blown fight. This problem needs immediate attention.

  • Mailadi Paramu on November 5, 2008, 10:07 GMT

    The point here is that it is always the Indians who get the punishment. You can get one hundred examples of this. Why is it so? When the Ozs misbehave, it is their way of playing???

  • Agnel Pereira on November 5, 2008, 10:09 GMT

    Well written. Its so sad that the extreme provocation is allowed to persist by not being punished. Aussies are bent on making a mess of opponents in form all the time and they even shamefully expect that the star players in the rival team does not play. Read what Mike Hussey said "Hope Gambhir does not get to play". Watson goes unpunished for intensive provocation. I fully agree with one match ban for Gambhir (could have been a suspended ban after the series to ensure level playing field) but I am ashamed to know that ICC once again messed up with the entire issue by letting Watson and Katich get away with it. What will happen next? Watson and Katich will be joined by the rest of the team to disintegrate more of Indian players in the next match. By hook or crook, Aussies want to win!

  • Narayanan Subramaniam on November 5, 2008, 10:14 GMT

    Yet again this reflects the failure on the part of the ICC to provide clarity on a touchy issue. When the "affected" party is India, all the stakeholders involved i.e. BCCI, players, Indian media blame the Australians for not playing the game right. If as they claim the Australians are sledging and hurling personal insults and the ICC Code of Conduct defines such behaviour as being against the spirit of cricket, lodge a compliant to that effect. It should be a question of facts. However the code of conduct doesnt seem to be too clear on the issue of sledging. So if thats the problem then raise an issue requesting for changes to the Code of Conduct. The ICC should be the target not the Australians who are using the rules to the hilt.

    Instead the BCCI complains only when India is affected i.e when they lose a test or when a player is banned. Its time the BCCI stops this and confronts the ICC on this as a policy issue and not on a case to case basis.

  • DJ on November 5, 2008, 10:23 GMT

    I agree with manish - drawing the line in such a fluid, dynamic situation is not only impossible but futile. There are cultural differences - bastard versus something to do with a mother in law - these are just shades of grey. Who would want to watch cricket if it was completely scrubbed clean and antiseptic? The rubs of different cultures is what makes it wonderful and a rarity in modern sport. I agree there is a line - racism, direct interference, and of course bodily contact. As long as the umpires keep things in check aka their job, then it just adds to the spectacle. I do object to the ugly australians tag - while admitting that our actions do not always make us proud (Ponting in Sydney for example and the win at any cost), the Indians need to stop the holier than thou attitude as they are just as bad. And the BCCI needs to start acting like a real governing body instead of a tin-pot dictatorship and stop throwing its toys out of the pram if it doesn't like the ruling.

  • OjoNam on November 5, 2008, 10:25 GMT

    @ manish : Soccer doesn't seem to have too many problems with "cultural differences" : simple, you tackle you get a card, you tackle bad you get a red card, you purposefully hit, you get banned, you repeat, you get no club. The player doesn't cry because he's black, white, small, big.. The club neither

  • srivenu paturi on November 5, 2008, 10:27 GMT

    I support your writing Michael, but the real question remains unanswered "Abused must be stopped to what level?". You see Michael, a little chit-chat between the players is completely acceptable and so is a little heated arguments as all the players do not posses the same emotional backgrounds. But a serious provocation must be surely stopped as the gentle men game is no more turning out to be gentle. In my personal view Watson should have been punished reasonable. Well, as there is a saying "never tolerate if one abuses your mother or your country". So even Watson had the important role playing in that disgraceful act. I was actually quite surprised to know that he made out with just 10% fine. Was that even a punishment? Gauti was a scape goat, though he over reacted. One question still lingers in my mind, was the incident deliberate? Hence, my bottom line is that there should be a serious line drawn to keep the chit-chats and provocations low.