January 15, 2008

Gavaskar's double role

Sunil Gavaskar is bomb-thrower and bomb-defuser put into one, who somehow manages to operate as the chairman of the ICC's cricket committee while also acting as peppery columnist and media provocateur
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How many hats should Sunil Gavaskar wear? © Getty Images
 

The usual excuse for misbehaviour on the cricket field is that it was done in the spur of the moment, in an excess of competitiveness, under the pressure of the situation. It doesn't always render such incidents forgivable, but it sometimes makes them more understandable: after all, these are young men strung up to concert pitch fighting for their livelihoods and in the name of national honour.

What to make, though, of those who should know better, those with vast experience and great reputations, who commit sins of tact and taste? What to make of those who hold roles in the game gravid with responsibility yet who cannot help making mischief?

Step forward Sunil Gavaskar, who somehow manages to operate as the chairman of the ICC's cricket committee while also acting as peppery columnist and media provocateur. The ICC finds itself in a tight corner, as ever, as it strains to arbitrate on the matter of Harbhajan Singh's verbal skirmishings with Andrew Symonds. You might expect all at the organisation to be pulling in the same direction towards a calm-browed settlement that allows both teams to move on with honour.

Well, unless someone has presumed to write under nom be plume "Sunil Gavaskar" in a syndicated column in various Indian newspapers, you would expect wrong. Because here this senior officer of ICC has launched an attack on a referee of ICC that can do nothing, but damage to the organisation, to the relations between countries, and to the game itself.

"Millions of Indians want to know if it was a 'white man' taking the 'white man's' word against that of the 'brown man'," Gavaskar wrote. "Quite simply, if there was no audio evidence, nor did the officials hear anything, then the charge did not stand."

Millions of Indians might want to know this - but it doesn't actually make them right. Does Gavaskar himself believe this to be true? If so, he should say it. And if he does believe it, then he should almost certainly resign, for if the ICC is a bastion of "white man's justice", Gavaskar bears some of the blame for having failed to change it.

On the other hand, maybe he hasn't been paying attention. After all, how many times has audio evidence ever been definitive in any case of on-field behaviour? The stumps mikes didn't pick up Glenn McGrath's tirade at Ramnaresh Sarwan in 2003, nor did the umpires David Shepherd and Srinivas Venkataraghavan make any report, but that didn't stop the failure of the ICC referee to take action being an abysmally weak decision.

That referee, of course, was Mike Procter. He was also the referee at the Oval in 2006 when Inzamam ul-Haq had his Achilles-like sulk, and at Melbourne in 2007 when Yuvraj Singh had his Paris Hiltonesque pout. There are some good arguments that while he bowled magnificent inswinging yorkers off the wrong foot, Procter has been a serial failure in enforcing the ICC's code of conduct. But you'd be forgiven for wondering exactly who is helped by the following assessment of his work by Gavaskar: "This is what has incensed the millions of Indians who are flabbergasted that the word of one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Sachin Tendulkar, was not accepted. In effect, Tendulkar has been branded a liar by the match referee."

Again with the "millions of Indians"! It's not me folks - it's those "millions of Indians". In fact, this debating point is a much less impressive notion that it seems. India has a population of 1.13 billion. There's probably at least a few million who believe in flying saucers. Should we really pay them serious heed? It's also far from clear that Tendulkar has been branded anything at all, for we know precious little of what was said during the relevant proceedings. Perhaps Gavaskar knows more that he lets on; if he does, it is disingenuous of him not to explain how he knows it. Perhaps he knows as much as we all do; if so, he is hastening to a conclusion on little more than supposition.

Nobody can be happy that the Sydney Test, and cricket, was dragged into ignominy. No Australian can be gratified that the deportment of their national team contributed to it. But the free bandying about of the word "racism", and the use of phrases like "white man's justice", might just make a few people look like particularly obnoxious hypocrites.

 
 
It is strange that he [Gavaskar] should be so gravely concerned about the damage Mike Procter has done to the ICC's authority, and so little aware of the damage he is doing himself
 

Which brings us back to Gavaskar. Because all this "monkey" talk can't help but remind the cricket bibliophile of the chapter in Gavaskar's autobiography Sunny Days (1976) in which he recounts the blood-spattered Kingston Test of 1976 where Bishan Bedi famously declared his innings closed rather than risk further injury for his batsmen from the West Indian pace enfilade. Here's a sample:

To call the crowd a 'crowd' in Jamaica is a misnomer. It should be called a 'mob'. The way they shrieked and howled every time Holding bowled was positively horrible. They encouraged him with shouts of 'Kill him, Maaaan!' 'Hit im Maan!', 'Knock his head off Mike!' All this proved beyond a shadow of doubt that these people still belonged to the jungles and forests, instead of a civilised country....

Their partisan attitude was even more evident when they did not applaud any shots we played. At one stage I even 'demanded' claps for a boundary shot off Daniel. All I got was laughter from the section, which certainly hadn't graduated from the trees where they belonged....

They were stamping their legs, clapping and jumping with joy. The only word I can think of to describe the behaviour of the crowd is 'barbarian'. Here was a man seriously injured, and these barbarians were thirsting for more blood, instead of expressing sympathy, as any civilised and sporting crowd would have done....

The whole thing was sickening. Never have I seen such cold-blooded and positively indifferent behaviour from cricket officials and the spectators, to put it mildly, were positively inhuman.

"To put it mildly!" The reader would wish the author to get off the fence and share what he really thought! In hindsight these are unattractive passages. Actually, at the time they were unattractive passages for that matter. For these weren't cross words exchanged on the field; they were crude lines penned in repose and with malice aforethought. Perhaps they should be seen as reassuring. If Gavaskar can have become such an important figure in the ICC after perpetrating such passages, Harbhajan could in time represent India at the United Nations.

The point is, of course, that Gavaskar should not be that important a figure at the ICC. Pelham Warner acted as chairman of selectors for England while working as the cricket correspondent of the Morning Post, but that was in the 1920s and 1930s, and he wrote such namby-pamby nonsense that it hardly mattered. Cricket today is constantly bemoaning the lack of professionalism shown by its administrative classes. Gavaskar's dual role as bomb-thrower and bomb-defuser has become a key exhibit in the case for change.

The Queensland politician and oaf Russ Hinze was famously asked about his conflict of interest in owning racehorses while acting as minister of racing. "It's not a conflict of interests," he replied. "It's a convergence." Gavaskar seems to share the same attitude. But it is strange that he should be so gravely concerned about the damage Procter has done to the ICC's authority, and so little aware of the damage he is doing himself.

Gideon Haigh is a cricket historian and writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Emancipator on January 17, 2008, 5:35 GMT

    COMMENT 7

    Can he occasionally do some pieces of Mohinder Amarnath's high-octane batting exploits in the West Indies and Pakistan in 1983- both nations with the best pace attacks during that time? Or how the classy marauder Aravinda de Silva always fared well against Australia? Or how Imran Khan's team fought the great , all-conquering West Indies team to a stand-still in three drawn series in the eighties ? Or does only the Ashes battles construe as cricket history to him?

    I also challenge Gideon to discuss/debate the issues raised in his column-my e-mail add is included in the cricinfo.com registration details.

  • Emancipator on January 17, 2008, 5:33 GMT

    COMMENT 6

    Even Jeff Thompson has classified the twenty year period -1971-1991- as the period with the fastest bowlers in history and Gavaskar's career ran for 16 of those years. Thompson should know having Gavaskar reeling of 3 centuries in that 1977-78 series in Australia. Pity, the sub-continent press was not so well-established or far-reaching enough to glorify his exploits during his era. Gavaskar has enough standing as a columnist to make the grievances of the Indian cricket lovers heard.

    PS. Also, can historian Gideon do a historical study of why only 2 non-white cricketers (Jason Gillespie and Andrew Symonds) have played in 130 years of cricket in Australia? The Invincibles- a misnomer of a term given that they just played against primarily against one nation, boors like John Howard (or historians like Gideon with their selective historical references and study points ) did not allow them???

  • Emancipator on January 17, 2008, 5:30 GMT

    COMMENT 3 Is it any wonder that Muthiah Murlitharan (statistically nearly as good as Donald Bradman in the bowling category ) Wasim Akram , Gary Sobers are rarely iconized or lauded by them, except patronizingly at best The joke is that most Australians rate Shane Warne as the best bowler -not even the greatest spinner or greatest leg-spinner of all time! Going by the example of Harbhajan Singh getting appointed to United Stations in the future , for all the boorish history of Ricky Ponting ( he shoulder-butted a 17 year old Singh in the Sachin Tendulkar starring "Desert Storm" Sharjah tournament in a non-contact sport, the infamous drunken brawl in Kolkata in 1998, mouthing off towards the English dressing room when he was run-out during the Ashes, finger wagging at and pushing BCCI President Pawar, numerous "intimidation " incidents of umpires), he does not deserve to be in the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame itself- let alone ICC administrative roles in the future.

  • Emancipator on January 17, 2008, 5:27 GMT

    I had to register myself to express my outrage...and thoughts

    Oh yes! Mr. Gideon Haigh , cricket historian but with only a world-view of English and Australian cricket and should I daresay "white" South African cricket before 1991-the year they were re-admitted to the ICC fold again. New Zealand is probably a "territory/state" of Australia for him. This is typical of the Anglo-Saxon press- mainstream, gutter, tabloid pres or otherwise- ganging up immediately when a white man is denigrated/castigated/reviled -and rightly so, as in the Mike Procter case with his brand of kangaoroo court justice. Notice also the litany of Blogs/Columns coming out of England about India's supposed power and bullying of ICC. The same used to happen when Jagmohan Dalmiya was in power-expect more of the same 'brown washing' when either Sharad Pawar or IS Bindra gets to be President-Elect of ICC in the future.

  • waterbuffalo on January 17, 2008, 3:03 GMT

    The last Australian Captain who was the least bit sporting was Mark Taylor. The Thug of his team was Steve Waugh; he was the perfect choice to be Captain, in the eyes of the Australians; then in Waugh's "all-conquering" team the thug was Ricky Ponting. It was absolutely no surprise when he was elevated to his current position. Now Mr. Haigh sniffs and smirks at Sunil Gavaskar for oversteping his bounds, when the Australian team have been doing so on and off the field for the better part of 12 years. I'm all for Mr. Gavaskar on this one. The Aussies can give it but heaven help them for they can't take it. It goes without saying that the next Captain of Australia will be Michael Clarke. I'd bet my house on it.

  • SeenuSubbu on January 17, 2008, 2:24 GMT

    Gideon, when ICC imposes penalties, bans and other punishments to Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Indian players, and ignores gross offences from the likes of McGrath, Ponting, Gatting, Andy Flintoff with not even a tap on the knuckle, does it make you want to cry out loud, and make you write pompous articles such as these? Foul accusations of ball tampering against Indian players like Dravid and Tendulkar, and the subsequent punishments, were the last straw for a believer, and boy, am I glad BCCI has the current monetary clout.

  • gardaeh on January 16, 2008, 19:35 GMT

    First of, I'm Indian. Anyone that has followed Mr. Gavaskar's career for as long as I have (since that memorable 221 in Old Trafford) knows that there has always been a hyprcritical streak in him that frequently turned into churlishness when things did not go his way. I'm not really sure why he's on the ICC committee as he hasn't done anything of note to help the game after his retirement.

  • AsherCA on January 16, 2008, 19:06 GMT

    In response to an email request from Mr. Richardson, I have documented a several instances of what looks like discriminations against cricketers originating from India by ICC's match referees, requesting him to ensure ICC action against the erring officials OR at least provide us normal human beings with basic explainations about why the Indian who suffered was at fault for a smaller offence than an Australian / West Indian / South African who was let off the hook by ICC's match referees. I had explained to him that when we read this apparent discrimination against cricketers from India alongwith the largely unbalanced volume of "human errors" by his umpires which seems to favour Australia / England / SA in matches involving India, we Indians have begun to question the integrity of ICC. ICC have not had the guts to reply to my email, in spite of several reminders including public statements like this one. ICC are lying through their teeth when they say that ICC does not discriminate

  • vkrg on January 16, 2008, 17:32 GMT

    I think there seems to be a planned motive behind this article. It takes bits and pieces of irrelevant information about a respected and learned person like Sunil Gavaskar, and tries to tie them together in a dangerous fashion aimed at maligning him and to caste aspersions on India's stand in the Harbhajan case.

    Please note that Gavaskar's issue was with the West Indies crowd was about their barbaric enjoying of folks getting hurt, and about Australia's hypocrisy about foul-mouthed language on the field. The author of this article conveniently misses the point that many non-Indians and in fact many Australians like Mark Taylor, Tony Greig, Geoff Boycott, Neil Harvey etc have supported the stand that Sunil Gavaskar has taken. In saying what the author has said, he himself shows tinges of bias and has spoken ill about a person like Sunil who is more respectable and succesful in life than the author. Also, the opinion of a large population of educated Indians cannot be ignored.

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

    Gideon, You're quite right about Gavaskar but why conclude that Harbajhan is guilty of said offence. As you pointed out, the evidence is shaky at best. Harbajhan is hot-headed and tends to get into trouble but so do many others when put under pressure. Anyone who watched Serena Williams' match last night (or day) knows that she was warned for obscene language does that mean she should no longer be part of an organization such as the UN?

  • Emancipator on January 17, 2008, 5:35 GMT

    COMMENT 7

    Can he occasionally do some pieces of Mohinder Amarnath's high-octane batting exploits in the West Indies and Pakistan in 1983- both nations with the best pace attacks during that time? Or how the classy marauder Aravinda de Silva always fared well against Australia? Or how Imran Khan's team fought the great , all-conquering West Indies team to a stand-still in three drawn series in the eighties ? Or does only the Ashes battles construe as cricket history to him?

    I also challenge Gideon to discuss/debate the issues raised in his column-my e-mail add is included in the cricinfo.com registration details.

  • Emancipator on January 17, 2008, 5:33 GMT

    COMMENT 6

    Even Jeff Thompson has classified the twenty year period -1971-1991- as the period with the fastest bowlers in history and Gavaskar's career ran for 16 of those years. Thompson should know having Gavaskar reeling of 3 centuries in that 1977-78 series in Australia. Pity, the sub-continent press was not so well-established or far-reaching enough to glorify his exploits during his era. Gavaskar has enough standing as a columnist to make the grievances of the Indian cricket lovers heard.

    PS. Also, can historian Gideon do a historical study of why only 2 non-white cricketers (Jason Gillespie and Andrew Symonds) have played in 130 years of cricket in Australia? The Invincibles- a misnomer of a term given that they just played against primarily against one nation, boors like John Howard (or historians like Gideon with their selective historical references and study points ) did not allow them???

  • Emancipator on January 17, 2008, 5:30 GMT

    COMMENT 3 Is it any wonder that Muthiah Murlitharan (statistically nearly as good as Donald Bradman in the bowling category ) Wasim Akram , Gary Sobers are rarely iconized or lauded by them, except patronizingly at best The joke is that most Australians rate Shane Warne as the best bowler -not even the greatest spinner or greatest leg-spinner of all time! Going by the example of Harbhajan Singh getting appointed to United Stations in the future , for all the boorish history of Ricky Ponting ( he shoulder-butted a 17 year old Singh in the Sachin Tendulkar starring "Desert Storm" Sharjah tournament in a non-contact sport, the infamous drunken brawl in Kolkata in 1998, mouthing off towards the English dressing room when he was run-out during the Ashes, finger wagging at and pushing BCCI President Pawar, numerous "intimidation " incidents of umpires), he does not deserve to be in the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame itself- let alone ICC administrative roles in the future.

  • Emancipator on January 17, 2008, 5:27 GMT

    I had to register myself to express my outrage...and thoughts

    Oh yes! Mr. Gideon Haigh , cricket historian but with only a world-view of English and Australian cricket and should I daresay "white" South African cricket before 1991-the year they were re-admitted to the ICC fold again. New Zealand is probably a "territory/state" of Australia for him. This is typical of the Anglo-Saxon press- mainstream, gutter, tabloid pres or otherwise- ganging up immediately when a white man is denigrated/castigated/reviled -and rightly so, as in the Mike Procter case with his brand of kangaoroo court justice. Notice also the litany of Blogs/Columns coming out of England about India's supposed power and bullying of ICC. The same used to happen when Jagmohan Dalmiya was in power-expect more of the same 'brown washing' when either Sharad Pawar or IS Bindra gets to be President-Elect of ICC in the future.

  • waterbuffalo on January 17, 2008, 3:03 GMT

    The last Australian Captain who was the least bit sporting was Mark Taylor. The Thug of his team was Steve Waugh; he was the perfect choice to be Captain, in the eyes of the Australians; then in Waugh's "all-conquering" team the thug was Ricky Ponting. It was absolutely no surprise when he was elevated to his current position. Now Mr. Haigh sniffs and smirks at Sunil Gavaskar for oversteping his bounds, when the Australian team have been doing so on and off the field for the better part of 12 years. I'm all for Mr. Gavaskar on this one. The Aussies can give it but heaven help them for they can't take it. It goes without saying that the next Captain of Australia will be Michael Clarke. I'd bet my house on it.

  • SeenuSubbu on January 17, 2008, 2:24 GMT

    Gideon, when ICC imposes penalties, bans and other punishments to Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Indian players, and ignores gross offences from the likes of McGrath, Ponting, Gatting, Andy Flintoff with not even a tap on the knuckle, does it make you want to cry out loud, and make you write pompous articles such as these? Foul accusations of ball tampering against Indian players like Dravid and Tendulkar, and the subsequent punishments, were the last straw for a believer, and boy, am I glad BCCI has the current monetary clout.

  • gardaeh on January 16, 2008, 19:35 GMT

    First of, I'm Indian. Anyone that has followed Mr. Gavaskar's career for as long as I have (since that memorable 221 in Old Trafford) knows that there has always been a hyprcritical streak in him that frequently turned into churlishness when things did not go his way. I'm not really sure why he's on the ICC committee as he hasn't done anything of note to help the game after his retirement.

  • AsherCA on January 16, 2008, 19:06 GMT

    In response to an email request from Mr. Richardson, I have documented a several instances of what looks like discriminations against cricketers originating from India by ICC's match referees, requesting him to ensure ICC action against the erring officials OR at least provide us normal human beings with basic explainations about why the Indian who suffered was at fault for a smaller offence than an Australian / West Indian / South African who was let off the hook by ICC's match referees. I had explained to him that when we read this apparent discrimination against cricketers from India alongwith the largely unbalanced volume of "human errors" by his umpires which seems to favour Australia / England / SA in matches involving India, we Indians have begun to question the integrity of ICC. ICC have not had the guts to reply to my email, in spite of several reminders including public statements like this one. ICC are lying through their teeth when they say that ICC does not discriminate

  • vkrg on January 16, 2008, 17:32 GMT

    I think there seems to be a planned motive behind this article. It takes bits and pieces of irrelevant information about a respected and learned person like Sunil Gavaskar, and tries to tie them together in a dangerous fashion aimed at maligning him and to caste aspersions on India's stand in the Harbhajan case.

    Please note that Gavaskar's issue was with the West Indies crowd was about their barbaric enjoying of folks getting hurt, and about Australia's hypocrisy about foul-mouthed language on the field. The author of this article conveniently misses the point that many non-Indians and in fact many Australians like Mark Taylor, Tony Greig, Geoff Boycott, Neil Harvey etc have supported the stand that Sunil Gavaskar has taken. In saying what the author has said, he himself shows tinges of bias and has spoken ill about a person like Sunil who is more respectable and succesful in life than the author. Also, the opinion of a large population of educated Indians cannot be ignored.

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

    Gideon, You're quite right about Gavaskar but why conclude that Harbajhan is guilty of said offence. As you pointed out, the evidence is shaky at best. Harbajhan is hot-headed and tends to get into trouble but so do many others when put under pressure. Anyone who watched Serena Williams' match last night (or day) knows that she was warned for obscene language does that mean she should no longer be part of an organization such as the UN?

  • RajChellappan on January 16, 2008, 14:03 GMT

    "Professionally responsible and accountable Mr. Gavaskar" seems to be a perfect cricketing oxymoron. Even many from the Indian Cricketing Fraternity have questioned his service to Indian Cricket recently and correctly so, too. It's quite astonishing to see him play such contradicting roles and even more astonishing to see ICC do nothing about it.

    I'm as passionate about cricket as all my fellow Indians, but surely not one who is impressed a bit by Mr. Gavaskar's credibility.

    It's a very good article by Mr. Gideon Haigh. It's an opinion expressed with the game's interest alone in mind.

  • MatyK on January 16, 2008, 13:04 GMT

    Is Gavaskar a suitable person to be commenting on issues of racism, given the comments in his autobiography? In fact, is he suitable for any type of ICC role? I wonder how the West Indians feel about him having such a powerful position on the ICC given what he thinks of them?

    On an unrelated note, why do so many people seem to know what the Australians are saying on the cricket pitch these days? Is there some magic microphone that is picking all this up, that I haven't heard about? Is it the same magic microphone that has allowed so many people to be certain that Harbhajan didn't call Symonds a "monkey" and even if he did, he didn't do it in a racist way? There's a lot of people acting righteous although they seem to forget that; (1) every team has its share of sledgers & over-appealers who frequently overstep the mark and (2)a lot of these arguments are based on hearsay and 3rd-hand opinion.

    Poor behaviour is a world phenomenon (eg. Sreesanth, Gibbs, etc etc)

  • MatyK on January 16, 2008, 12:45 GMT

    I thought Gideon's article was absolutely spot on. Sunny should either step down from the ICC or stop publishing such anti-ICC views. I find it amazing that so many of the Indian responses to this article would back up this nonsense about cricket being the white man's game, when the ICC is primarily controlled by the Asian nations & the BCCI holds so much additional power over the ICC that it can tell it which umpires & referees to appoint for matches. Incidentally, their insistence on having Bucknor replaced seems to be paying dividends for them already, with his replacement, Billy Bowden missing a plumb LBW on Dravid today. Of course, we'll only hear about the harsh decision against Tendulkar. If Gavaskar or any of the other Indian supporters focussed on why Dravid & Laxman threw their wickets away in such a strong position, how could they then blame the ICC, the umpires, the Australian team, the Australian crowd, or anything BUT their team for their failures?

    I have been readin

  • arulraas on January 16, 2008, 6:58 GMT

    Aptly named bomb defuser and bomb thrower but called the wrong one though. Right from politics to sports, the world clearly knows it is the western world who does it in good measure. Mark Benson does not seek the 3rd umpire views for a controversial catch, takes the word of australian captain, all controversial decisions go just against India, for over appealing 7 players from India reprimanded in south africa but none whatsoever even with aussies though throwing darts at the umpires on the final day at SCG. All these examples clearly portray the double standards. I am a doctor, when we make mistakes, the question put forward to us is "why did we not do these tests which would have given the answers", the same in sports "if there is technology to help why do they not seek them". Yes I agree ICC did budge to Indian pressure, so what man, it was for the right reason though. If Indians mention it, it becomes a fatal mistake, I'm sorry this is worse than apartheid.

  • Josephus72 on January 16, 2008, 6:15 GMT

    Does world cricket need a single representative body to regulate and manage the game and its industry globally? If the answer is "yes", then Gideon's argument is hugely important. In order for the ICC to be able to undertake its role effectively, unity (on its public face at least) is vital in justifying its licence to act. I believe that the patently evident dis-unity at the ICC has weakened its (real or perceived) mandate to run the game and is at least partly the reason that the BCCI has been able to influence what should be a senior authority in matters such as Steve Bucknor's sacking. Sunny's frankly inflammatory outbursts have widened the cracks of dis-unity and continue to make the ICC's job more difficult. But it's not his views, it's his expressing them as an ICC official that's the problem. Should a board chair of a public company speak out against it in the media, investors would lose confidence fast. Same here. If Sunny wants to speak against the ICC, he should quit the ICC

  • kushagra0710 on January 16, 2008, 4:31 GMT

    whatever's written in the article actually corroborates what gavaskar truthfully says about the views of the millions and millions and millions of indians. cricket has been and will be a white man's game. i would agree with only one thing. not only gavaskar, the whole of asia's test playing nations should show some guts and denounce icc immediately

  • NikhileshB on January 16, 2008, 4:22 GMT

    Harbhajan does sometimes lose his cool and say stupid things. See the video on youtube where Pietersen bowls Harbhajan and he refuses to walk. Regardless of whether Monkey is a stupid thing to say or not he should have known better than to say it and if he did say it a ban would teach him to watch his mouth and attitude. One of the worst things about that test was seeing him do that BS roll after he got Ponting out LBW when clearly to Harbhajan and all concerned (except for the umpire) Ponting got a massive edge. Also NSW, an Australian state team had a Chinese opener for many years and Andrew Symonds is playing for the Australian team so I don't see how Australia has racist selection policies. And it clearly is a conflict of interest for Gavaskar, he should quit one role, it's not like he needs the money. Lastly and what is most important is this whole escapade reflects that there is no accountability for the non-players in cricket: umpires, administrators, even journalists

  • Ferdinand on January 16, 2008, 4:11 GMT

    Interesting and thought provoking article, Gideon. Can I please suggest to posters that they focus on the specific points made by Gideon, rather than deferring to insulting him, Procter, the Australian team etc. In this way, we can get some objective assessment of the appropriateness of otherwise of his actions.

  • From_India on January 16, 2008, 4:06 GMT

    Mr Haigh,

    Your statements seem to confirm the fact that Proctor has been racist in his assessments as a match referee. An incident that really was a shame to witness on a cricket pitch and one that would have probably been inappropriate even in a boxing ring (the McGrath - Sarwan spat) was left unattended by this same match referee simply because a white man (or should I say an Australian) was involved.

    Forget about that incident alone, I can list countless similar incidents when Aussies have crossed all limits of decency on a cricket pitch without being punished for the same. Take the instance of Michael Slater having a go at Rahul Dravid during a test match in India. His verbal battering went on for at least 5 minutes!

    Can you explain to me why Aussies always get away with it? On the other hand, these same referees are very to pull the trigger on any Indians at the slightest provocation even if it was just a reply to aggression from the opposition.

  • sriramv on January 16, 2008, 3:31 GMT

    Gavaskar's statements have brought out the hypocrisy (white man's hypocrisy)There was no racism to start with.anyone tha believes there was of racism involved in Harbhajan episode needs to think deeply about what racism is Harbhajan episode is not racism - what has ensued after the alleged name -calling both in the media and the way this investigation was conducted constitutes racism.

    A cricket board with a track record of not accommodating non white players for 120 yers in the history of the game is racism. I still cannot see a south asian playing for even a state team in Australia. A cricket body (ICC) not sharing power with non-white cricket playing countries.

  • cakobau on January 16, 2008, 2:28 GMT

    Great article Gideon. No surprise that you have raised the ire of another million Indian citizens that are unable to see past their adulation of the 'faultless' Bhajji. The Australians went too far with their efforts to win, but racism should never be condoned. Indians have a very healthy representation in the ICC and Mike Proctor is endorsed by the ICC. They have no grounds for complaint. Furthermore, the hearing was indeed closed door, so no one can analyse the verdict in detail. Finally, having not yet heard of the comments in Gavaskar's autobiography, I was astounded. Clearly Gavaskar has already exhibited racism from his own mouth and it is surprising that anyone pays any attention to what he has been dribbling. Once again, I urge Indians to look past their blind adulation of cricketing idols.

  • karthikhg on January 16, 2008, 2:23 GMT

    There is no doubt that Gavaskar gets a bit too sentimental about certain issues. It is also true that in his days as a player he had some controversies which don't exactly help glorify his name. But as an ICC administrator and as a commentator (a biased one no doubt), he has been doing a good job. There are some who always sit on the wall and when they try to take a stand look ridiculous (ala Sanjay Manjrekar). But with all his shortcomings, on this one subject Gavaskar's views unmistakable. It is indeed the view of several millions in India. Mr. Haigh says that even if the millions in India feel that way, it might not be right. But then, what is? The millions of Indians though that Mike Denness was being prejudiced with his actions. Then too the rest of the world thought otherwise. The tone and words used here suggest that Haigh has a personal animosity against SG. He might as well have written a direct letter to him and called him names. Maybe Mr.Haigh might have felt relieved then.

  • RobinA on January 16, 2008, 1:23 GMT

    Leave out millions of Indians, ask the whole world abt australian behaviour. It is proven beyond doubt OZ team cannot tolerate anything bad given back to them, it thats the case they better learn to behave and respect the opposition. They might be world champs, so what?

  • Gaurav_D on January 16, 2008, 1:07 GMT

    I am really tired of this 'race' thing going on in Cricketing world. Unfortunately this is not what the game is about. Its about a good shot played by a batsmen and a good ball bowled by the bowler. But for the past few days the sport has been overburdened with the ignominy of 'race'.

    It will be so nice if ICC does ban sledging all together. Football/Soccer I think lives that way. The violater is punished strictly. Time to implement this in cricket. ICC has become such a stale organization. I wished they would have taken some active steps like FIFA to make cricket exciting. No wonder Football has become one of the most watched sport. There is someone to account for atleast.

  • Sivakumar2008 on January 16, 2008, 0:30 GMT

    Ofcourse Gavaskar is right in criticizing procter. For that matter I would say whoever that do not criticize procter are either confused or biased. somebody was saying that just because gavaskar is icc official he should not criticize his colleague procter. this is total nonsense. its like even if members of the australian cricket team apparently cheated by claiming catches that were not 100% clean, every australian should still support their team because they are australians. If my friend does something wrong i should still not criticize him cauz he is my friend. this is ridiculous and I am wondering why should even waste our precious time reading nonsense articles like this. it is evident to the whole world that there was no proper evidence that harbhajan said anything racist. On the contrary the whole world including the australians themselves knows how bad the australian cricket teams behaviour on the ground can be. they may deny it just to save their face. but truth prevails.

  • Nitin_Nidhi on January 16, 2008, 0:29 GMT

    Mr Haigh do you believe that nothing went wrong in the second test? I hope not. Numerous umpiring errors, Australian captain breaking the catch agreement (by appealing for a catch not carried and for supporting Clarke) and bringing racism into cricket happened in that test. Imagine the situation when all these things were ignored (and was infact ignored by all commentators and match officials). In that case, the hostility between India and Australia would have reached a new height. I view the dropping of Bucknor and the postponement of Harbhajan's case some of the good decisions to pacify the situation. And it was Gavaskar who voiced against these things to bring some order. Had he not expressed his opinion in the post match analysis, all the australian crowd were happy getting away with what they did and the peace process that we are experiencing now would never have occured. Well done Gavasker for bringing cricket to the grounds by voicing against what happened in the second test.

  • johcatrac on January 16, 2008, 0:23 GMT

    What Gavaskar has done is what Haig has also done. Instead of just sticking to criticizing Gavaskar for his so-called dual stance, he goes out and pulls out published statements from a book that dates back possibly more than 10 years. Gavaskar's statements in that book may not be up to taste, but there is no need for Haig to imply Gavaskar's duplicity when, during those times West Indies were at the top and were never bad winners. Ask the West Indians as to who they think are the most racist in the World cricket? No marks for guessing that one.

    Australians stooped real low in the Sydney test. Among other things, Harbhajan Singh has been accused of calling Symonds a 'monkey' when there is no evidence of that being said anywhere except by Symonds. So, what are the Australians really up to? Provocate and then fabricate?

    What will happen when the Australians tour India the next time around? The Indian players will not retaliate as is their innate nature, but the crowds will.

  • putrevus on January 16, 2008, 0:15 GMT

    Mr.Gideon,

    You are totally wrong in this aspect , let us examine what you have said ,yes Gavaskar ICC CRICKET COMMITTEE , maybe he does have some blame in not changing the structure of ICC , or he tried to change and it didnt work , that is not point here, by making Gavaskar point of debate everyone is forgetting the what Proctor has done and how is he justified in doing what he did and what criteria did he take to punish Harbhajan singh.

    questioning Gavaskar is all fine and dandy but he is not person who has given his verdict on hearing only one side of story Mike Proctor did all these things, if he has any proof which he has not made public which led him to make his verdict , if not what Gavasakar has question is the very same question which millions of indian crickets fans are asking and not finding the answer anywhere from Mike Proctor.

    Gideon guys like are deviating the subject and not questioning Match referee intentions is very wrong.

  • Sky-Walker on January 16, 2008, 0:11 GMT

    I do not think Sunny is a "Bomb-defuser " of ICC. He has equal right to express his opinion like Mr. Gideon has. I do not understand what Sunny Days Para has to do with his current ICC role ? This was his experience and quoted that , what is wrong in it ? To me Gideon is like "Jamaica's crowed " is enjoying Aussies domination with the help of umpires and match referee !. By the way, Gideon's hole article appears to be a single point Agenda against "Sunny" , I guess this guy has some hidden Agenda and I will not be surprised if CA along with Mr. Speed is behind this to put any Aussies at Sunny's position (may be they have name ready !- Steve Waugh or Allan B?).

    Why has Gideon not mentioned once about Aussies behavior (particularly Pointing) , why he did not analyzeg Mike Procter's decision ? . The simple reason is, Gideon does not want to touch real issue at all !. Appears to be pre determined hate against Indians and in particular against "Sunny" and "Sachin" !

  • Mannnly on January 16, 2008, 0:08 GMT

    The comments show how the world is devided by race. There are some uncle toms in this world and that is the reason whites could rule large parts of this world for as long as they did. Now that we are returning to some sense of parity, we better think before blurting out an article like this.

    Again for the mentally impaired, ICC is not a corporation. It is a governing body like our government. You can criticize your own govt cant you or is there a morotorium on that? Well in a white country, when whites criticize it is called intelligent and bold statement and when colored make it, it is "rebellious and uncalled for". Again Gideon you disgust me.

  • Percy_Fender on January 16, 2008, 0:05 GMT

    Haigh is normally a balanced writer with a good turn of phrase. Here, while he seems to have gone overboard against Gavaskar he has said so little about Procter as a match referee whose credibility and fairness have been called into question for some time now. As an important office bearer of the ICC,it is no doubt surprising to see Gavaskar not having done very much to ensure that the ICC does something to change the opinion of many that it is indeed racist. Perhaps he is waiting for the right moment to do so which should not be too far away. But I wish the author had been more objective in his assessment of Proctor who certainly does not deserve to be a match refferee for the many times his fairness has been viewed adversely. This kind of an article which itself appears racist, should never have been published. By talking about Sunny Days, however, Haigh does bring out that Gavaskar has been critical on incidents and matters, and that colour does not really matter to him.

  • vyseerx on January 15, 2008, 23:59 GMT

    Sunil Gavaskar is 100% right in his asessment. He is with in his right to comment on ICC refrees too. He is a part of the establishment, so what? He should not question the inapporpriate action? That is downright silly. Rodmarsh did not approve Greg Chappel asking his brother Trevor to bowl underarm, and did not keep the wicket for that ball,( He stood aside with arms folded behind the back) while still being the part of Aussie cricket team. It does not really matter whether or not you are a part of team/establishment to bring out truth and talk justice. I have been following cricket for last 2 decades , and can vouch for the White Match refree's biased decisions..( Chris Broad comes to mind readily...).Welldone Gavaskar you have proved beyond reasonable doubt that we are not timid and can speak truth without fear. If Harbhajan singh is indeed banned I strongly feel that India should boycott the series and comeback.

  • Rooboy on January 15, 2008, 23:59 GMT

    A very interesting and thought provoking article. I am starting to wonder why journalists are bothering to try to discuss the topic from a neutral or an Australian point of view, since any sense of balance is clearly unacceptable to (dare I say it) millions of indians. Reading the replies here is very depressing. It reinforces the view that many indians believe anything not going in their favour must be attributed to discrimination from the racist whities. And yet when racist behaviour is applied to whities, many indians applaud and congratulate the perpetrator! I do not see how the issue will ever be resolved while such mentality exists, although I am sure there would not be as much 'sting' in the replies from our Indian correspondents if India were able to achieve a win against Australia every now and then.

  • Leg-Breaker on January 15, 2008, 23:53 GMT

    Nice Article.

    For people like Naresh2 who take a patriotic stance blindly without any iota of logic - the point is not to debate the issue in SCG or Mike Proctor. The point is to question Gavaskar's conflicting roles - If my manager has an issue with me and he writes an article in a company newsletter instead of confronting me directly, it reflects my manager's incompetence. Sunny is in the same position as the manager - he is an official position in the ICC and he is working for them - if he doesn't agree with them in principles - it is fine - He has to resign from ICC first and then criticize. He cannot earn money by working for them and criticizing them.

    At the minimum, put a disclaimer at the end of every article which emphasises the relationship with ICC. As the chairman of the ICC Cricket Committee if he is unable to inflence it speaks very highly of his incompetence.

  • mad_cricket_007 on January 15, 2008, 23:40 GMT

    I really do not understand the hypocricy of this author. Just because someone is a member of ICC, doesn't mean he should not comment his opinion. Gavaskar is right when he said the "white man...blah..". Do not play god, when you know, how australian's are escaping everything complained against them. It is easy to fool somepeople with your eloquence but not all. Please use your intelligence to something else than hurling at an asian man.

  • Shan_Karthic on January 15, 2008, 23:39 GMT

    Someone has pointed out correctly that Yuvraj was only charged and not found guilty. I believe that for the issues under discussion, that is a technical difference and is immaterial. The question is whether or not the match referee is consistent & can be trusted. Yuvraj was charged and then (wrongly) cleared. Actually that has set a bad precedent. Which batsman would not be disappointed when he is out? Anyone can get away with anything short of abusing the umpire. Leaving that aside, it is clear from the Sydney test that the match referee is not consistent and can be considered to be biased against the Indians. Why were Ponting and Clarke not charged? I am not saying they should have been found guilty. Certainly Ponting was not out and has reason to be upset. But then he has always claimed that umpires make mistakes and the decisions even out. In Ponting's case the decisions evened out in the same innings. How do we trust the match referee when he can be considered biased?

  • Deadly_Dave_134 on January 15, 2008, 23:39 GMT

    Good article, Giedeon. Sunny has overstepped the line. As an umpire should be seen to be objective, so do members of any ICC panel. Whilst I can understand his anger, due to Proctor's lack of common sense (he really is a competency challenged individual), he should not display it.

    By the way, does anybody think that Proctor is competent. I think awesome cricketer, terrible match referee. The Oval, now this. How can anyone achieve a mindset of "beyond reasonable doubt" on hearsay evidence is staggering. I bet he still believes in Santa Claus. Of course Sunny would headline the article "Proctor dreaming of a white Xmas".

  • Mr_X on January 15, 2008, 23:38 GMT

    Sunny is a true Indian to the core. What he has said is what "millions of Indians" feel including "him". In the light of evidence about Bhajji, what he has said is what the most of the Indians feel and you cannot wrong them for that. If you just take a look back in history, Indians trusted the whites once and were colonized for 150 years. While whites have been the greatest abusers of human rights in history, it is ironical they act like angels. Gavaskar is right in lashing all out that this article cringes about . Instead of branding him a hypocrite, try understanding what made a brown man say this. As for his role of bomb thrower and bomb defuser, I don't think one needs the brains of Einstein to see what is happening. BCCI is the richest cricket board and runs the ICC analogous to the US running the world. What Gavaskar is doing is much of an honorary role for the BCCI and is probably least interested but maybe it good on his resume much like the community service.

  • derrida_derider on January 15, 2008, 23:33 GMT

    I think India's supporters, including Gavaskar, are being amazingly hypocritical. They say they're outraged that their idol Sachin was not believed. But they are quite happy to impugn the honour of the five Australian players who all said the words were uttered. While we're talking cultural differences, "fitting someone" up through perjury is about the most despicable act imaginable to an Australian - though I'm no longer sure if that's so for all Indians.

    It's not a case of "a 'white man' taking the 'white man's' word against that of the 'brown man'", but a case of the word of <b>five</b> players against one. Remember Proctor reached his conclusions after a <b>six hour</b> hearing where all the participants would have been closely questioned.

    If Bhajji said those words he is a coward for not admitting it and he has betrayed his teammate by putting him in an invidious position.

  • AksNYC on January 15, 2008, 23:16 GMT

    Agree that its cheap on the part of Gavaskar to make such comments. But I dont necessarily see this as interfering with his role at the ICC. Its the same case of Dilip Vengsarkar not being able to be a selector and have a column. SG has his syndicated columns, and there's no reason for him not to continue writing. His role is more technical relating to improvements in the game. In fact it's good that he can post a negative opinion about his employer!

  • Nick1978ishere on January 15, 2008, 23:14 GMT

    Excellent article Gideon. You are a fine writer. This article was written with a vastly superior clarity to the comment pieces written by other cricket writers. No doubt about it. Cheers.

  • dacha on January 15, 2008, 22:39 GMT

    At last a journalist that is willing to do more than pander to his own ego. There has only been two substantive issues to have come out of the first two test.

    1. India has lost two tests and a series that they should have won, they had they opportunity, they had the talent, or so they keep telling us, the pitches and conditions were taylor made for their team. Yet through poor and arrogant planning, and the inability to push home the advantage when they held the upper hand they contrived to lose.

    2. An Indian player has been found guilty of a racist comment. Where is the condemnation of this behaviour from anyone in the Indian system from players to administrators to media?

    India has born the brunt of the bad umpiring decisions, but the rest screams of the Indian press, players and administration desperately seeking the status of victim. All winning teams are boorish, especially this Australian team, just don't use this boorishness to hide failure ineptitude and racism.

  • TenaliRaman on January 15, 2008, 22:36 GMT

    Continued...

    I think Gavaskar and all the Indian fans are rightfully hurt at the insinuations of racial abuse that have been hurled at Bhajji. But what I dont understand is this glaring hypocrisy of the Aussies that enables them to keep quiet when one of their ilk dish out abuses, and to whine when someone decides to give it back to them. Racism is a bogey that has been raised by the Aussies Mr Gideon. They were the first to start sledging, racist abuses and all the dirt that we see in cricket today. So, shut up Mr Gideon. If you really want to clean up the system, start with your own backyard.

  • newguy777 on January 15, 2008, 22:34 GMT

    wow! to see someone write nonsense like this is deeply disturbing.

    1. umpires make errors, but statistically, if the umpires arent biased, the errors should be evenly spread out in favour of both teams. they werent. they were biased against india. then the match referee accepts the word of an australian over the word of an indian. how then can you expect racism allegations to crop up?

    2. i can assure you that nowhere near a few million indians believe in fliying saucers. (do i detect a bit of sunny in you?) and i can assure you that more than a 'few' million indians are enraged.

    3. yes, gavaskar's a hypocrite. he wrote something racist. so? how does that make proctor or the umpires any less racist?

    4. gavaskar's working in an organization and yet openly criticizes its workings when they go wrong. i call that courage and standing up for what you believe in.

  • Noesis on January 15, 2008, 22:33 GMT

    Can someone please tell me who the witness was in Materazzi's slur to Zinedine Zidane? Zidane himself. Yet Materazzi was fined and banned for couple of matches before he confessed. In a civil society word of mouth is good enough in most cases if it sounds credible. There is something called circumstantial evidence... And it is the norm of a civil society to honor authority and not create precedences of disobedience and anarchy.

    I do not see in foreseeable future players carrying recorders. So there will always be a 50:50 split when it comes to witnesses (we are not dealing with saints here, are we). So either scrap the law or go with evidences such as consistency/firmness of statement, etc.

    I think the biggest evidence for this case is Symonds himself. Just as it is ignominious of the victim to bring false charges of gang-rape (because of the taunts that follow), Symonds would have everything to lose by posing as the "monkey" (Does anyone think his girlfriend would love it?)

  • TenaliRaman on January 15, 2008, 22:32 GMT

    Hmmm....Interesting Article. It is surprising that the author chose to whine about this dual role and conflict of interest AFTER Gavaskar wrote against the Aussie team. As far as I know Sunny has been doing this dual role for quite some time now. Again, what was that line about "Harbhajan could in time represent India at the United Nations". I guess the writer has presumed that Harbhajan Singh is guilty of racial abuse. The basic premise of "innocent until proven guilty" has been conveniently forgotten. This was the exact argument that was used (if I remember correctly) to exonerate McGrath of any wrongdoing against Sarawan. Mr Gideon, If you had devoted as much time to the inconsistencies in Mike Procters decisions of late, as you had done researching Sunny's past, you would have understood why teams from the sub continent are not very happy with him...Continued

  • ArunKB on January 15, 2008, 22:14 GMT

    I do not know what country Gideon is from. He sure writes like a true Aussie. He should probably be allowed to write only when his team (past/present or future) ever has an opening batsman in the same class as Gavaskar. This would never happen and we would not have to read his illogical comments.

  • TheEnticer on January 15, 2008, 22:14 GMT

    Instead of criticizing Gavaskar for the alleged 'damage' his column did to the ICC, you should instead take a class in elementary logic. If someone starts a fire and it is about to burn down your house, would you blame the person who started the fire or the person who points it out? Your sentence "You might expect all at the organisation to be ..... settlement that allows both teams to move on with honour" reflects how you view the situation.. another unfortunate and totally unnecessary result of rightfully punishing another asian nation. If you cared a 'fig' for justice you would have said "..everyone at ICC is trying to look at the evidence to determine the truth and bring that to light". Instead you want honor restored to a team that had none going into the match. Or am I to understand truth will actually hurt the game? If that is the case, I suggest you, Sir, refrain from writing and let better people do their jobs in peace without you putting additional spin into the debate.

  • anythingbutcric on January 15, 2008, 21:50 GMT

    Excellent article. More than anything else, the events that have unfolded over the past two weeks shows the sorry state of world cricket these days. The ICC is literally of no use except marketing cricket to different corners of the world to generate more revenue. While some of the umpires in the panel are definitely good, some are absolute jokers. Has the ICC ever thought about evaluating and training umpires ? Grooming good umpires from around the world ? I guess not because that does not generate any revenue. Has the ICC done anything to counter slow over rates ? If anything, it has worsened over the years. Has ICC ever learned from other sporting leagues around the world ? How about the "three calls" from tennis ? I guess not because it does not generate any revenue...

  • Shan_Karthic on January 15, 2008, 21:35 GMT

    It is specious hand waving on Gideon's part to be comparing McGrath's behaviour with the Sydney incident. Sure there was no audio recording but there are video recordings available which clearly show McGrath abusing Sarwan. If I recall correctly, Procter excused that saying that is the way Australians play the game. Is he (and Gideon) then forwarding the argument that Australians can be abusive and other teams should not be standing up to them? Inzamam may not have done the right thing by refusing to play, but the ball tampering charges were later proved to be false. So it can be looked at as an ICC umpire acting on the prodding of the English coach (who admitted he discussed the same with the umpire few hours earlier) without any evidence. Same as now. Tell me, if your neighbour calls the police and says you threatened to murder him without any evidence, are you willing to go to prison?

  • malhoaj on January 15, 2008, 21:33 GMT

    This was a nice article with apt passages from Sunny Days. But the reality is that Sunny gets paid to write such stuff. He fans the fire of the fans:-). And if Sachin knows for sure what was said he should just come out in public with it. Everyone knows Sachin has not lived up to his potential in the game, but trying to make him a beacon of honesty instead is ridiculous. Sachin is better off trying to increase his average at the cost of the team like he did in Sydney by waiting for the tailenders to perish. I would take Gilly's word over Sachin's anyday.

  • The_Wog on January 15, 2008, 21:17 GMT

    The real problem is not that Gavaskar criticised fellow employee Procter, that he's turned a blind eye to India's abysmal behaviour in the Sydney Test, or even his bizarre rant against AUS before the world cup. It's that he slagged off AUS for lodging a complaint against repeat offender racist Harbhajan.

    The ICC's Code of Conduct is clear: ZERO TOLERANCE of racist slurs. MANDATORY reporting. It's the same in all grades of cricket, which modelled their Codes on this. There is NO option to "leave it on the field." He is undermining a crucial protection in the game - strangely he did feel so strongly when Darren Lehmann was accused for an on-field outburst.

    Memo to Gavaskar: If you hate AUS so much, save it until your next opportunity. Using a racist slur incident as a Trojan horse for your own hatred is the wrong time. Or resign from the ICC, then you can say whatever you like.

  • KnowledgeSeeker on January 15, 2008, 21:16 GMT

    Gideon, regardless of Gavaskar thinks. I think this whole Asian bullying is over exaggerated. The fact is that traditionally, we have been always on the receiving end. The minute we start standing up for rights.. oh, it seems that is a sin.

  • notime on January 15, 2008, 21:13 GMT

    Gideon is a historian!? what a terrible article. There are so many fallacies in his article. Firstly, bringing up Gavaskar's words, and attacking them is like defending the crowds behavior. This is cricket they are playing, not some Roman gladiator sport that even when the cricketers are bleeding, people should shout "Kill'em". SHAME on Gideon! you should be really ashamed of yourself. Secondly, after this twisted yellow journalism, he attempts to ignore Gavaskars main angst - and says not a word about it. And that is because the logic is irrefutable. No white team player gets punished, the same Proctor condones mcgrath, slater, ponting and all the umpire badgerers, but rushes to punish (3matches, 5 matches) anyone from the subcontinent. Even for "excessive appealing". Is that violation not seen by white match referees when ponting's goons are screaming their lungs out (when knwing batsmen are not out)? Shame on you, Gideon! One hopes you face your karma in this lifetime.

  • cricolover on January 15, 2008, 21:08 GMT

    It seems you had some kind of grudge against Sunil Gavaskar and you were waiting for the right moment to settle score with him.Over the years I have seen that whenever there was some spat between players in the ground and if the team was colored the majority of the harsh decisions has gone to them. India has been victimized by ICC most of the time. Mike Dennis and Mike Procter had the dubious record against all colored teams.What Gavaskar was doing was asking a proper question and I see nothing wrong in it. We feel that second test match was played by the Team Australia and the two umpires in one team and 11 members of Indians in another team. I would like to ask you Where is your article about Ponting's lie's and boorish behaviour of Australian team on and off the ground. Where is your article on horrible umpiring? Where is your article about injustice meted out to Harbhajan? This is not Cricket Mr.Haigh. Rise up and be fair we all will applaud.

  • RandomVichar on January 15, 2008, 21:06 GMT

    The article is very poor written and has flawed logic. By giving the example of flying saucers the author is clearly confusing things. Let me rephrase the sentence for him. Millions of Indians want to know if flying saucers exist? To me, this is perfectly valid question. On the same line, Millions of Indians want to know the rationality behind Mike Proctor's decision? So what's wrong in asking, Mr. Gideon.

    It's clear, Mr. Gideon is a poor thinker of the game, and is trying to put the focus back on India and Sunil Gavaskar in particular. He should be asking Mike Proctor for the reason behind his action and then hit back if he wants to... Aussies clearly are on back foot here

  • rv_subbu on January 15, 2008, 21:03 GMT

    First of all, I am of Indian origin.

    I agree with Gideon Haigh - there is a conflict of interest between Gavaskar's ICC position and his role as a columnist. For that matter, there is a conflict of interest in his role as part of the committee that selects the Indian coach and his role as a columnist - he scuttled Dave Whatmore with his column.

    But I think Gideon Haigh's argument on what Gavaskar wrote in Sunny Days doesn't wash. What he wrote 32 years ago disqualifies him from holding a post in ICC? Will Gideon Haigh protest against Ricky Ponting taking any kind of role with ICC in future? Clearly, he went back on his agreement with Anil Kumble when he claimed a catch off Dhoni's bat. Will Gideon Haigh stop writing columns because he made a really stupid argument in Jan 2008?

    I don't think that Gavaskar's comments were in good taste. I don't think the behavior of the Kingston crowd in that match was in good taste either. At least, Gavaskar was honest - good enough.

  • Hadrianus on January 15, 2008, 20:24 GMT

    Gideon, superb post. The inflammatory behaviour of several commentators on the Sydney Test has been deplorable, and their lack of self-reflection - in certain cases even basic memory retention - almost as regrettable. BTW, Baratn, you are indeed right that, if a crowd behaves badly, it should be told so. But surely not in the terms which Gavaskar uses in those passages cited above? Naresh2, I'm not sure about the procedural history of the Sarwan-McGrath incident, but McGrath was roasted alive in the Australian press for his behaviour, and he also apologised fully and publicly to Sarwan, as he should have done. I'm not sure that Harbhajan has received the same censure from the Indian press, though I would be happy to be informed otherwise. And try to refrain from using 'mate' in that annoying manner; it cheapens the presentation of your opinions.

  • SamN on January 15, 2008, 20:21 GMT

    Australian are known for hard and fair play. But "fair" for their convenience only. Winning is so important for them that they forget the true meaning of "fair". If indians are sore losers then the current Oz crickets are as good as cheaters !!

  • Beazle on January 15, 2008, 20:09 GMT

    Yes - I must say, as much as I usually like seeing the Australian's beaten, the Indians have gone absolutely power-mad ! Or as someone wrote today "The BCCI run the ICC and the media run the BCCI" Sunny Gavaskar's comments in "Sunny Day" are disgusting, repugnant and make him totally unfit to be in any sort of public office. If someone else had written such a piece of vile racist filth as that, he would be charged in any country with a proper regard for human rights. To read some of the meal-mouthed attempts to exxonerate or excuse his comments made by his Indian fans, only illustrates what a problem they really d have in India about racism.

  • Alexk400 on January 15, 2008, 20:08 GMT

    I am indian , i agree with gavaskar some , disagree with some. He can't criticize ICC refrees and work with ICC. Mike proctor is racist sob. I am 100% sure of that. He is the same guy banned rashid latif for 5 matches for try to appeal grounded catch. I agree with that with gavaskar. infact 500 million agree with that mike proctor is racist!. What i do not agree though , he should resign his post and can critcize ICC all he wants. he can't do both. He wants money and yak. That said ugly umpiring and ICC is not ready to remove these incompetent people. As though these umpires are some kind of royalty. Use third umpire for all the calls!. If i would have malcolm speed , i would have removed him. But as gavaskar said whites will accept their mistakes and correct it. That is what the problem with icc. If someone called people nigger or black something then it would be racist. Ccalling someone just a monkey does n't sound racist to me. May be black monkey or white monkey is racist.

  • JM__ on January 15, 2008, 19:46 GMT

    What is the writer saying here?- A person who is employed by the ICC cannot criticize ICC or any employees of ICC (Proctor, Bucknor) without first resigning?

    Im sorry Mr.writer, on the the contrary I think Gavaskar has gained reputation by taking on his bosses in ICC by talking his mind.

    It is true that Harbhajan was 'sentenced' without _ANY_ proof, lipreading or audio or video for something he allegedly said. It is also true that the esteemed referee Prostor said in his report "only one party was telling the truth" clearly implying that Sachin, Kumble and Harbhajan were lying.

    Calling it 'white mans justice' is extreme' and insulting to millions of 'fair whites' (pun not intended), So pray tell me what should I call it? 'Blatant collusive injustice'? 'conspiracy'?

  • NitinMurali on January 15, 2008, 19:27 GMT

    I agree on two points: The hypocrisy of him commenting on the issue while retaining his chair as one of the highest officials of the ICC and the fact that he might be damaging himself while making those comments. Having said that, I am forced to ask "So what?". It is hard for me to NOT see any merit in his views given the very incongruence of the decisions made by Mr. Proctor in recent times. I suppose, to note that Mr.Gavaskar is a hypocrite is easier than actually addressing the issues he put forward. It is a well-known fact that one always ends up criticizing the critic rather than his criticisms. The criticisms end up being dismissed as a diatribe by an emotional lunatic. I believe that this kind of mudslinging from all sides involved is what really damages the game. This means that we end up "accepting" certain things (like "oh all umpires are human and they all make mistakes!"; or Mr.Proctor adjudging matches!) which should actually be studied and improved. Oh and ICC is a joke.

  • madanmohan on January 15, 2008, 19:26 GMT

    SamD, well said...first cheat and get important match changing decisions in your favor and then label genuine complaints from the losing team as whines and moans and call them sore losers. lets see how you people behave if 8-9 decisions go against your team. Stop being a rabid jingoist.

  • cric_lover007 on January 15, 2008, 19:14 GMT

    Here is a perfect case of an Aussie getting defensive and obviously biased - the writer is pointing to incidents that don't make sense. You got to compare apples to apples! Yuvraj was brought to hearing just becuase he stayed at the wicket on being given out. What about Pointing who clearly showed unhappiness at being given out in SCG but forget any penality, he was nt even brought to any hearing by Mr Procter. Again, Mr Procter gave a 5 test match ban to Rashid Latif on claiming a catch that hit the ground while here at SCG we saw Clarke claiming an incorrect/incomplete catch and still escaping any punishment. Instead it led to Aussie win!! Aussies shouldn't forget SCG test match was a gift given to them by the umpires else India would have easily thrown them over from 1st innings itself if Symonds was correctly given out on 31 and 48 and same for Ponting on 17!! I see no harm in Gavaskar pointing out Clark's unwillingness to leave after edging and umpires going by his say for catch!!

  • Wild_Type on January 15, 2008, 19:10 GMT

    This is terrible, biased journalism. Yes we all know a lot of Indians believe racism can only come from the white man. Yes we know there is hypocrisy in Indian society and darker people are regularly discriminated against. However I would argue that it would be racist of you, Gideon, to contend that Gavaskar adheres to these stereotypes. His tirade, if strongly worded, was and is very valid - why did Proctor take the Aussies' word over the Indians'? And what good would his resignation do? Pave the way for some smooth talking diplomat who will push these issues under the carpet? Rather we need more people like Sunil. Dredging up his writing was petty and malicious - what was written wasn't addressed to all black people, only that crowd - how can you extrapolate so carelessly? You may argue a white player could not write that and get away with it, but that's because of the valid paranoia among non-whites caused by centuries of white racism, which will take a long time to go away.

  • ANALYSIS on January 15, 2008, 19:03 GMT

    So, it is just about what Gavasker does right or wrong.. but, still I've problem..!

    First, shouldn't there be someone who can/should questio Mike Proctor's rulings - he cannot simply go on just castigating India, Pakistan and West Indies.. right? - and how is the world suppose to read this bias, in the first place?

    Second, probably, Gavaskar shouldn't be charing the ICC committee, but, if someone were to write about the West Indies 1976 incidents, what would be it. Is it OK to cry for more blood when one is already to bloodied?.

    IMO, to me, if the concerns/questions themselves are valid/right, how does it matter where and whom it comes from?

  • ram_nanduri on January 15, 2008, 18:50 GMT

    I dont agree with the writer at all. He is just trying to dilute and deviate the situation. Just because Sunny is a member of ICC panel, it does not relinquish him from being able to comment just like any other Individual. It does not relinquish his freedom of speech.

  • digit_wizard on January 15, 2008, 18:31 GMT

    Are you kidding me! With due respect sir, I'm not quite sure you've followed what's happened. Racist charges aside, what Gavaskar said is correct. Mike Proctor did take the word of the Australian players over that of the Indian players. In his statement after, Proctor himself claimed that "one side was telling the truth". Now given that statement, it is also true that Proctor thought the Indian side, including Sachin Tendulkar, were lying. So Gavaskar is also correct in the second point.

    Have you read Sunny Days? I have. Gavaskar had the utmost regard for West Indian crowds. This passage was to describe the crowd at that stadium at that time. A lot of the book is full of anecdotes of his interactions with the west indians... players and spectators alike. They loved him too: read the part about "Gavaskar, the little master".

    Lastly, are you not guilty of the same sort of partisanship when you equate us incensed Indians to scientologists?

    You can, of course. It's freedom of speech..

  • Vishi on January 15, 2008, 18:29 GMT

    I accept with the writer. But at the same time, you cant have someone in a higher position and let him work as a commentator. Its ICCs fault in its policies and I hope it doesnt succumb to the politics of the powerful nations and the evergrowing media !!

  • gung-ho on January 15, 2008, 18:26 GMT

    "Mildly" put, I feel Gavaskar has nothing wrong in expressing his comments and the feelings of his countrymen. If a person from your country is called a racist because of whatever reason and if there is no proof to prove that the person was indeed a racist, "mildly" put, the person is not a racist, and yes, if that person is still branded a racist, millions of people and not just Indians or ICC officials should, mildly put, know how he can be branded a racist.

    Similarly, I am not sure how your excerpts from his autobiography substantiate what you are alleging Gavaskar of - here is a man who played with honor and merit for his country and he wrote in his autobiography what HE thought happened in the Carribean. "Mildly" put, to brand someone as a racist or provocateur based on 2 unrelated incidents is not right. And if I were you, I would be worried because copying portions of his autobiography without his prior permission could, to "mildly" put, be pilferage and illegal.

  • crankypet on January 15, 2008, 18:26 GMT

    Gideon, I think you will find that the comment "It's not a conflict of interests, It's a convergence." that you attribute to Russ Hinze was actually Max Gillies the comedian while imitating Russ Hinze. One of my favourite quotes. You give Russ too much credit. Like "My Doctor told me to go a diet and to take 2 of these pills after every meal. Now how in the hell am I expected to keep down 30 of these things a day"

  • DineshIyer on January 15, 2008, 18:21 GMT

    Sunny's always had a bone to pick with the Aussies. He has not done well against the Aussies as a batsman and has made many a gaffe against them such as the 1981 5th test walk-out and the David-hookes comment before the WC2007. Being a senior official with the ICC, you cannot critisize an umpire or the system because that questions your objectivity. With all that being said, I think he is right about this issue. Mike Proctor with his 3 match ban of Bhajji has in effect branded him a racist. Look at the evidence: umpires did not hear anything, neither did ponting and gilly and sachin said there was nothing racist. So how do u ban a person on such flimsy evidence? Lets reverse the roles ... lets say it was Symonds making a racist comment abt Bhajji. Would Mike proctor have banned him for 3 games on such flimsy evidence? If the answer in your mind is NO, then this incident has got bias (racial bias?) written all over it.

  • nirajmm on January 15, 2008, 18:13 GMT

    "Millions of Indians want to know if it was a 'white man' taking the 'white man's' word against that of the 'brown man'" - So... what's the problem in asking this question? He is only calling spade a spade. Can the writer prove that the case was otherwise? Is being a South African the only credential Procter has (as he claimed)? And while we are at it... if he is a white South African and should he be the last person sitting in judgement for a case like this? And instead of raising more questions, why doesn't the writer of this article answer the questions raised by Gavaskar? Why was Yuvraj even called for the hearing? Why wasn't Ponting? Why was Latif punished? Why wasn't Ponting? Any answers, my friend? Behind this holier-than-thou attitude, you are all naked. The less said of Ponting... the better. I am sorry his family his facing the backlash. But this is kind of behaviour the Ausies have always encouraged. So be it.

  • Aditya_mookerjee on January 15, 2008, 18:02 GMT

    I enjoyed reading your column. I must add, that Mr Gavaskar is a human individual. I was not aware of the writings of the book, as I had read it as a young boy, last. Who is to blame for these happenings on the cricket ground? How can we improve conditions? We must, for the dignity of our respective playing teams, and towards the dignity of the spectators of these matches. Attention towards the game, must be promoted, not as a blood sport, but as something more worthy.

  • PratUSA on January 15, 2008, 17:49 GMT

    It's so disgusting to see how people have made it a war between Indians and Australians. Without falling in that trap I would say Gavaskar is a long time Australia basher and in general never liked 'white' supremacy as it existed during his playing time. He is head of ICC's Cricket Committee and anybody at that position better be watching a lots of cricket and have some opinion on it. He is not anyone's boss. His committee can only recommends changes. The worst remark Sunny ever made was against Darren Lehman after his death few months ago. But main issue was Aussie team's behavior and sadly Sydney's event only vindicated him. I respect Gideon Haigh a lot but this article only lefts a bad taste in mouth. If his main argument is that Sunny should quit his job at ICC, there is no merit in that, nor does it matter to anyone. If he is trying to say Sunny can get angry and say something inappropriate at times, don't we all already know it? I hope we can focus on just cricket now.

  • valvolux on January 15, 2008, 17:46 GMT

    It's incredible reading the indians respones and support for journalism blinded by patriotism like that of Gavaskar. Clarke waited to see the finger even though it was clearly out. No rules broken, indian uproar. Ricky Ponting went forward on an agreement made between him and the indian captain. No rules boroken, indian uproar. Symonds refused to walk when the umpire failed to give him out. No rules broken, indian uproar. Harbhajan racially abuses Symonds - rule broken,india threatens to pull out of tour. Simply because millions of indians think Tendulker is the more trustworthy does not make him a million times more trustworthy than Roy. The illogical indian response has given the rest of the world every reason to dislike them. I rmemeber after 05 when we aussies were accusing england of some unsporting tactics...which was dismissed as sour grapes. Our response - we went back and trained harder than we ever had before and smashed them 5-0 a year later - sure felt better than whinging.

  • BONG_IN_CHENNAI on January 15, 2008, 17:05 GMT

    This article is meant to ensure that the only voice from Asia in ICC is thrown-out.

    They are already terified as the current BCCI chief would be at the helm of ICC affairs.

    I think its high time the phrase "MATCH FIXING" is redefined and re-looked. What planning done by sports-psychologists and media? Last time it was the NAGMA issue, this time the umpires and referees were targetted.

  • skanska on January 15, 2008, 16:42 GMT

    1- The 2 captains had agreed prior to start of series on the "Terms & Conditions" of catching appeals...that the fielder's word will be accepted....a stupid arrangement to begin the proceedings....which has now been realised by the 2 captains & changed to umpire's word rather than fielder's.

    2- Racial non-sense has no place in today's cricket.....it exists in the minds of 10% ppl following the game who try to use such instances to speak their minds.

    3- It would have been more appropriate & professional approach by Sunil.....not to voice his ill feelings towards Mike Proctor publicaly, the way he did....but to voice it within the ICC close door meetings. I think he wanted to make the Indians feel good....that they have a voice within the ICC...and sympathize with them that they're not alone in feeling racial bias....

  • kumars on January 15, 2008, 16:39 GMT

    Let us remember that it was the incompetence of Match Referee that led to where we are now. The match officials said they did not hear anything and if Procter purely acted on based on Team Australia's word then he should be sacked.

    I do agree Gavaskar violated the conflict of interest though.

  • kban on January 15, 2008, 16:31 GMT

    Questions for Mr Haigh 1) Why was Speed bearing down on Procter for the Yuvi decision? 2) Why after admitting that he was wrong (after Speed's goading) did Procter not take a decision against Lee (over appealing and dissent -T1D4), Ponting (dissent - T2D1)? 3) Why was Speed publicly putting pressure on Procter (especially in light of the Yuvi dissent case) by making public statements about the ICC's need to come down hard on racism on the eve of Procter's adjudication of the HS case? Do such statements not constitute extra judicial pressure from the ICC chief on an adjudicator on its payroll? 4) When Latif was pulled up for claiming a bump ball, why wasnt the same standard used to pull up RP? 5) If after 10yrs of biased decisions, Asian countries point to bias, it is wrong on the accuser's part? But the perpetuation of the system that accounts for such bias in decisions is OK??

    Gobsmacked at the attempts to shoot the messenger to avoid having to acknowledge the problems!!

  • kban on January 15, 2008, 16:07 GMT

    Sunny's dual role of ICC Cricket Committee head and public criticizer at the same time should not detract from the validity of observations he made: Procter did ban HS in the absence of corroborating evidence from either audio/video or umpires. He also claimed "only one side were honest". In a he said/she said case, believing one side over the other is reflective of subjective bias, conscious or unconscious. Perhaps Mr. Haigh would do better to educate himself about aspects of "unconscious racism".

    And bringing in Sunny's comments out of context to imply what -- that he is a racist? is just as off base. Mr. Haigh needs to educate himself about the fact that particular phrases that appear to be extremely volatile in light of one particular community's historically motivated usage against another are really not that volatile when used descriptively rather than abusively, especially by someone who does not bear the burden of the same abusive history.

  • PhilTom on January 15, 2008, 16:01 GMT

    For all his eloquence, has Mr Haigh got off the fence himself? What is his view on the manner in which Mike Proctor came to his conclusion in pronouncing Harbhajan Singh guilty? I dare say, in no court of law would that conclusion be reached based on the evidence presented.

    Mr Haigh has every right to criticise Sunil Gavaskar. Does he have a view on Mike Proctor's conduct?

    Millions would love to know ...

  • Sunny_Bhai on January 15, 2008, 15:53 GMT

    With all due respects to the writer, i would like to point out that the author should not be bringing conclusions when millions of cricket fans all over are reading his article. if he says Sunny is wrong, even Gideon is equally wrong if he tries to bring a conclusion instead of trying to put across a point. By writing "If Gavaskar can have become such an important figure in the ICC after perpetrating such passages, Harbhajan could in time represent India at the United Nations." he is indirectly trying to pin down the statement that Harbhajan has indeed used a racist term when the author should know that the case is still pending. Its not only the people in ICC who should write responsible stuff. Any columnist should be responsible of the effect his writing would have. Lets wait for the outcome of the hearing and then point fingers.

  • Vinayakaram on January 15, 2008, 15:53 GMT

    It is quite evident that the entire Sydney test incidents and the reactions after that have been blown out of proportions. Gavaskar's reactions/statements are purely reactive rather than intentionally provocative as the author says. The author himself has quoted something from his autobiography, where Gavaskar has reacted in the same way as he has to this particular test incidents. Any Indian's reaction would be the same and Gavaskar is an Indian first, as some other friend has commented in this same section.

    Of course, that does not justify his statements as well. Yes, what Gavaskar has done is not professional. He should have been more responsible. I hope/sense the author is not biased. It only appears like he does not know what it means to be at the receiving end of a harsh treatment. To accuse Gavaskar as provocateur would be like me calling this author's article is in retaliation. Both would be wrong. It is OK to point out what is wrong. But should be done in a right way ...

  • yogi16 on January 15, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    Dear Gideon Haigh, I am surprised that you are a cricket historian and analyse only one side of Sydney episode. You are irked because Gavaskar has condemned umpiring decisions, match referee Mike Proctor and questioned Ricky Ponting's integrity towards the game. And this led you to list out the tales of Gavaskar's past. But, do you think, by leading your readers astray from the actual subject, the taint from the Australian team would vanish after Sydney Test? Dear Gideon, why don't you dare to stand against injustice, even if it is done by your own countrymen? If you don't bother what Indians feel then why should Gavaskar bother what you feel. If India stops playing, no one will watch cricket. Neither your players will get chance to make money through advertisements. Cricket's soul lies in the subcontinent and even players like Steve Waugh and Mcgrath rinse their sledging hands in India after retirement. How come all of you start sulking when someone hammers your idiocy?

  • SriKan on January 15, 2008, 15:39 GMT

    Gavaskar's comments directed at people of the calibre of Procter has rightly attracted sharp atttention of right minded folks and ex-cricketers like John Reid and Barry Richards. Once in a while, he gets himself into hot water defending questionable causes. In this case, he was defending Harbhajan who could have said something (in response to plain sharp talk from symonds) . However, he must conveyed a contrary impression to Sachin and Anil, who both carry a sterling reputation. Gavaskar was a really great cricketer, however, once in while, he says wrong things in a manner that really hurts right thinking people. Clarke said he stood out of disappointment especially he wanted to do well in sydney, his hometown. He is human after all. On the other token, the Aussies will be much loved if they try to win right and focus on the game alone. Infact, many of the Australian umpires (Steve Davis, Parker come to mind while watching the Border-Chappell) series were doing a fabulous job.

  • ACY1 on January 15, 2008, 15:13 GMT

    Gideon Haigh, people are fed up, FED UP, of Australia's boorishness and whingeing, and equally fed up of a system that appears to give more credence to white players than to non-whites. You have obviously not been at the receiving end hence your pompous judgments. I am neither Indian nor Australian and I do not carry a cudgel for Sunil Gavaskar, but I think he is more correct than you think. Moreover, you've got to admire a guy who does not varnish his thoughts with Warnerish pablum.

  • ramirez on January 15, 2008, 14:11 GMT

    gideon makes exactly the point that gavaskar was trying to make. why was mcgrath not punished despite their being similar evidence. i say similar evidence.this is the whole crux of the problem. it is just disregarded by gideon as a bad decision.really , or is it exactly what every indian supporter is trying to point out. asian teams are punished for imagined wrongs on evidence which is flimsy while european teams are left scot free. harbhajan wasnt racist man it is this attitude which is racist.i think the muscle flexing by bcci should have come much earlier , when aussies and south africans were running around foul mouthing everyone in the game in a performance which simply wouldnt have been allowed in any form of the game.and all in the name , at least in the aussie case, of it being their cricketing culture.it is maori culture to show ones butt as an insult. how comethey dont do it in the cricket field.

  • mmartho on January 15, 2008, 14:02 GMT

    Samd, I was great supporter of the australian team, until now, although I am an Indian, other teams can learn a lot in terms of discipline, psoitive attitude, quality of their game, etc from them. However, in the Sydney test they clearly deserved to lose, it is important to understand that even champions lose, in AUstralia they are a much better team than India, however like all good teams they had a bad first day and without Bucknor there was a good chance they would have faced a large first innings lead. The issue is not India or Aus winning, it is that many of us watching in India completely lost interest when a aussie umpire chose to give Symonds not out for that stumping (100 replays?). There was clearly cheating going on and someone was desperate to win this match for whatever reasons. Cricket lost even if Aus won, maybe you should remove the blinkers you are wearing and stop your meaningless accusations. Watch the match again, see the difference between Dhoni and Gilchrist!!!

  • tusharkardile on January 15, 2008, 13:52 GMT

    Glad that whatever is being written in Indian media is getting noticed and is capable of irritating blokes like you. Its been quite some time English and Australian media wrote bad about subcontinental players and no one felt that it was unfair... and now and Indian is doing that and suddenly everyone is having problem with that.

  • Idol on January 15, 2008, 13:48 GMT

    Some of Gideon's remarks in his article are pretty much down the line of racism. In fact, one feels after reading this article that Gideon Haigh has no problem with racism as such. It is with Gavaskar that he has a problem really. Gavaskar can certainly be accused and found guilty of charge when it comes to taking sides with India and against the whites. But most of the time, it is with reason. There are several instances of the non-Asian countries having gone unpunished for their conduct on the field and the ICC has not come out with any explanation. Also, one must not assume things and we need to understand what are the pwers of the ICC's cricket committee beyond suggesting changes to the cricket conditions. From what I can see, the committee headed by Gavaskar cannot make changes to the way match referees work or on the laws governing behavioural rules. In which case, there Gideon is the one who needs to explain himself

  • HipHipHurray on January 15, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    The article smacks of the old boys club that has kept Mike Procter employed so far. With the number of blunders he has made, he should have been fired a long time back, at least after the Oval debacle. Keep it up Mr Haigh. Someone has to defend all the incompetence. By the way what was that about flying saucers. Sounded low blow to me.

  • cricobserver on January 15, 2008, 12:00 GMT

    I am an Indian and i agree entirely with the writer. Indians can be terribly partisan in their views. To many Indians Sunil Gavaskar like other Cricketers) is a "god" and can say nor do no wrong. Having followed his cricket and his career afterwards, it is my personal opinion that if you take his phenomenal batting talents out of the equation, his stature shrinks to almost nothing (except to Indians of course - but not all). As for the Sydney test - the stupidity of the establishment was once again exposed. This is no longer a "game". The entire England squad were included in the National Honours list for winning the Ashes and some of them were rewarded with commercial contracts worth millions! Use the technology wherever possible or dump it entirely. I am in favour of using it.Otherwise international Cricket will turn into a monotonous and predictable one horse race. It is not often that a team gets a shot at Australia, but when they do, they need the decisions to be right.

  • uvelocity on January 15, 2008, 11:52 GMT

    Fantastic article Gideon. Well thought out, researched and executed. Well done for returning fire rather than being un-Australian and attacking one of the greatest sporting dynasties of all time.

  • gauravjn on January 15, 2008, 10:21 GMT

    After reading the aritcle it seems that the writer was just waiting for an opportunity to express his racial feelings in the name of Mr. Gavaskar. Few sentences regarding half a million indian believing in flying saucers and his sarcasm about the same in various other paragraphs demean the indians in general.

  • chully_scee on January 15, 2008, 9:24 GMT

    Gideon Haigh's argument appears to be complex but is actually rather trivial - viz, Gavaskar onec wrote something which was racist in nature, hence what he wrote about Procter fits into the same category. This is akin to postulating that a man who tells a lie can never be trusted to speak the truth.

    Probably one thing bothering Haigh is the fact that in this particular case Australia seems to be well and truly in the dock - and that does not seem to have sat well with a large number of true blue Aussies.

    Gavaskar's arguments have more than just ordinary merit - and if he is inside the ICC pissing out, so what? People are often condemned for not acting as whistleblowers when an organisation needs to be outed - here is the good Sunil doing just such a job and without a cloak of anonymity either, and yet we find fault with him.

    McGrath v Sarwan - it was easy to lip-read the whole exchange. You didn't need any more evidence. In Harbhajan v Symonds, lip-reading was impossible.

  • zingzangspillip on January 15, 2008, 9:04 GMT

    1. Yuvraj was only charged with dissent. He was not found guilty. 2. I seem to remember that Latif's catch was actually a half-volley, whereas Ponting grounded the ball after catching it in mid-air. I thought it was a catch as well, but for reading the laws of the game. 3. Gideon Haigh is making the point that Gavaskar should not be able to make the statements he does *and* be in such a lofty position in the ICC. He is not denying Gavaskar's right to write a column, or to be in the ICC. He is lashing out at Mike Proctor's decision while being, essentially, Proctor's boss. It is a heinous conflict of interest.

    As usual, an excellent article by Mr. Haigh. I wish he would write for The Advertiser in Adelaide. We could do with a decent cricket journalist, let alone a superb one.

  • digitaleye on January 15, 2008, 8:59 GMT

    ICC has had a poor track record of disciplinary decisions when it comes to Asian teams... any sane and fair cricket fan cannot be oblivious to this fact. Asian players at various points have been penalized for over-appealing, sledging, showing contempt towards the umpire while Aussie, English and SA players have gotten away on numerous occasions for the same 'misdemeanors'. On these lines Gavaskar has a very valid point and I wonder why the Aussie and English writers fly into a seething rage when someone brings this issue up. Maybe it says something about their sense of fairness.

    That being said Gavaskar is no saint either. His account of his Caribbean crowds is plain racist. Its amazing how he conveniently forgets his own vitriol against a group of people and takes a moral high-ground on racism. His use of the term "millions of Indians", "Tendulkar is a liar" are clearly provocative and seem far fetched given what we and Gavaskar himself knows about the incident.

  • ExCric on January 15, 2008, 8:56 GMT

    The article's title is misleading as the writer has not mentioned instances of when Gavaskar has defused tense situations. If the writer is not aware of any then probably appropriate homework has not been done before writing this article. Members of the ICC are citizens of their country first and have a right to express an opinion when too many times their opinion is not considered in panels or their countrymen have been ridden roughshod like village mules. It does not matter what Gavaskar said or how he sounded about the harbhajan-symonds issue - for the issue is very relevant. He also played in an era not known for its political correctness and it shows in his words but, the two nations with veto powers in that era and the language they used would put gava's in the shade. If the millions who agree with Gava might believe in flying saucers, then any Aussie or English points of view against the Indians should not be considered as there is a good chance these are from daft people.

  • Baratn on January 15, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    In principle, I agree that Sunil Gavaskar should not be saying things in public against the ICC while holding a high office in ICC. This is wrong and I feel Sunil should step down from the office in ICC if he continued doing this.

    However, I am glad that Gavaskar reacted the way any normal human being would with regard to developments at the SCG; disregard him being Indian and an Indian team subject to bad decisions and bad behaviour by the Aussies.

    Also, what Gavaskar wrote in "Sunny Days" is perhaps before his ICC appointment and he had every right to voice what he felt was true and correct. The ICC appointed Gavaskar to office well after the publishing of "Sunny Days".

    Please also note that the crowd in Jamaica consisted of ethnic Indians, black, whites and mixed races too. Gavaskar did not refer to any single race behaving badly. His statement referred collectively to the crowd.

    Well, if a crowd behave badly, they deserve to be told so.

  • SamD on January 15, 2008, 8:45 GMT

    Well said Gideon. The hypocrisy about racism coming from India and it's supporters at the moment is truly amazing.

    I for one and tired of it and look forward to seeing them leave. I cannot remember a touring party and supporters who so consistently whinge, moan, and make meaningless noise basically because they keep losing.

    Bring on anyone but this bunch of sore losers!!!

  • Naresh2 on January 15, 2008, 8:27 GMT

    Dear Mr Haigh,

    1. We all know Sunny has done plenty wrong in his time - that does not exnoerate everyone he criticizes. Or is there some new logic there that us ordinary Asian folks don't get?

    2. OK - take him off that ICC committee - who cares? Do you think he would care? I would not care.

    3. Proctor did not punish Mcgrath when he got into that spat with Sarwan (if you can't take it, don't give it "mate") despite there being no doubt who said what ("because the on-field umpires did not comlain" ) - here he chose to punish Harbhajan, but took the word of some white men (and their one and only, precious non-white player) against Harbhajan's.

    4. As someone else pointed out here, the incongruency between Proctor's attitude towards Rashid Latif and australians is also quite remarkable.

    Sunny's double role is not an issue at all.

    Instead, give us one good reason, "mate", not to believe what Sunny has brought forth.

    We are waiting to hear further from you...

  • R.Nath on January 15, 2008, 7:58 GMT

    Just like the BCCI recently banned the Indian Coach from writing his column,ICC should also consider whether the Chairman of its Cricket Committee should be allowed to air his views in public.Cricket is full of precedents.One can argue forever.However,when it comes to legal proceedings,it makes no sense at all for the accuser's word to be accepted over the accused's.In that respect,Gavaskar is absolutely right. I believe that this racism business has been carried on too far.Pretty soon,nobody will be able to speak for fear of being called racist.Soon,Harbhajan will not be able to call Ponting his bunny! Harbhajan and Tendulkar deny that Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey.But the word of Symonds,and other Aussies who did not hear the exchange, is believed.This is what Gavaskar is protesting against,and rightly so.

    If Harbhajan is not lying,then Symonds must be lying.Can this be a predetermined plot by the Aussies to get back at Harbhajan?I certainly would not put them beyond it.

  • DeokarAshish on January 15, 2008, 6:59 GMT

    Dear Mr.Haigh,Mr.Gavaskar is absolutely right when he is saying that Mr.Procter is biased,how he can charge Harbhajan only on the word of Symonds? if Harbhajan is proved innocent then will he frame symonds for werong accusation. . it is clear that it is statergy of austrailian team to mentally disintegrate Harbhajan singh and Mr. procter helped them. Why come he didnot have any objection of behaviour on the Ricky ponting when he appealed for a catch which was clearly grounded,as for the same charge Mr. Procter earlier charged Rashid Latif of Pakistan and banned him for 5 tests as he was the captain of team.or for that matter Adam gilchrist who appealed very vigrously against Rahul Dravid when he actually was aware that Dravid didnot nicked the ball.as clearly seen from your column it is evident that you also belong to same breed of white colomnist who sees nothing wrong with white peoples and pin point subcontinent players for small small issues.

  • MKrishnaswamy on January 15, 2008, 6:58 GMT

    The tragedy is not that Gavaskar comes up with these inflammatory statements from time to time. The real tragedy is that he has been completely useless as Chairman of ICC's Cricket Committee.

    What has he done to get more technology into the game to reduce umpiring errors? If we had a system of challenges [backed by referrals to the third umpire] in place, all the rubbish that we saw in Sydney would never have occurred.

    But of course that would mean less 'masala' for Gavaskar's columns...

  • Supratik on January 15, 2008, 6:37 GMT

    Dear Mr. Haigh, First of all Gavaskar did not write 'Sunny Days' in 1984. It was published first sometime in '78/'79 and till date remains one of the most compelling -and successful- autobiographies written by an Indian cricketer. What he wrote about Jamaica '76 was what was felt by most of the players at that time and there was no ICC worth it's salt. The umpires,officials, etc. were all West Indian. If it was England or Australia, instead of India, much hue and cry would have been made of it ala 'Bodyline'. Gavaskar is not superhuman and is caught in a trap between nepotic BCCI and bureaucratic ICC. Unlike 32 years back, India has a better voice in World Cricket. Gavaskar bashing has for sometime been the favourite topic of the Englishmen and the Aussies. Shamefully some Indians and sometimes those who matter in cricinfo have also joined the bandwagon. Unfortunately for them, they shall not obliterate the contributions of this great figure of Indian cricket.

  • valvolux on January 15, 2008, 6:36 GMT

    Very interesting artice there - I for one had no idea that Sunil was a high figure at the ICC. On that basis I agree with your call to sack him - as he is such a loved character in india he would know only too well that his words would only provoke millions more indians. The critical arguement on the indians behalf in support of both their unruly crowd behaviour and also that of Harbhajan's is that monkey is not offensive, that passage from his book only goes to support the fact that there is quite some ignorance in the indian community to the affect of certain words for certain races. But then is any of this suprising form Gavaskar? Having been too young to watch him play his legacy for me was his bad sportsmanship more than anything - the first thing I think of when hearing his name was his inability to accept an umpires LBW decision before demanding that his opening batting partner join him in leaving the field in protest at the decision. Makes M.Clarke look like a saint!

  • aditya87 on January 15, 2008, 6:22 GMT

    To be fair, Gavaskar did reach his truce, as it were, with the West Indian crowds by accepting their culture. He played well in the Caribbean, to the point which moved Lord Relator to write a Calypso about him. And he might be using words "millions of Indians" in order to weasel out, or he probably means it. After all, the audience in India for a top one-day or Test match reaches hundreds of millions, and most of them felt (going by newspaper polls) that there was first-world hypocrisy on display. "Taking the white man's word over the brown man's" might not sound politically correct, but it certainly seemed that way and millions of Indians did feel that. And they may not be right, but Gavaskar has every right to speak on their behalf. After all, he is writing a newspaper column.

  • Bushwackers on January 15, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    Great article Gideon, as an Indian I have always hated Gavaskars arrogant and pompous attitude. Gavaskar was one of the greatest all time players but it was the same man who managed just 36 off 174 balls , replying to England's 334 from 60 overs.It was alleged that Gavaskar deliberately performed poorly in that match, due to his annoyance with the promotion of Srinivas Venkataraghavan to captaincy. He is the biggest hypocrite in Indian cricket and doesnt deserve his place in the ICC. Its high time the ICC reorganize their body before the spirit of cricket is lost forever.

    Ragesh Pillai South Africa

  • Ram.A on January 15, 2008, 6:03 GMT

    Mr.Gideon, 1. When are referring to McGrath episode. Pl. note that there were no two sides to the story. But in Harbhajan's case there were two sides or versions. One side of Hayden, Clarke "the cheater" and Ponting. Other side was from Tendulkar. So, in the civilized world, when you are delivering justice you listen to two sides and look at the evidence, then deliver the verdict. 2. Talking about the "white man's justice" of Mr. Procter. What was difference between Rashid Latif and Ponting claiming a catch which was not there? It was just their skin color. But same Mr. Procter "the ICC referee" found Rashid Latif guilty and Ponting not guilty. Another example was in the same match Yuvarj and Ponting staring at umpires. Yuvraj guilty, Ponting not guilty. If this is not a "white man's" justice then what it. ICC personnels sending inconsistent messages to cricket world. 3. If ICC is not consistent and fair, then it will lose it's respect and standing. That will be end of ICC.

  • aditya87 on January 15, 2008, 6:03 GMT

    What Gavaskar has said in an extremely inflaming way is that first-world hypocrisy is rife in cricket. When Pakistan beats England with reverse-swing, it's ball tampering. When England does it, it's a skill that should be celebrated. When Rashid Latif claims a grounded catch, Procter hauls him in. When Ponting and Clarke do it, Procter says nothing despite their being an agreement right under his nose to take the fielder's word for it? When bombs go off in Lahore or Karachi, no one wants to play there. When bombs go off in London, the Ashes doesn't get cancelled, does it? Oh and by the way, using that passage from a book out of context does not help make your point, Rob. That was the 1970s and 80s, a time where such racism was rife from all quarters. Greg Matthews did hand movements on the field to try to "entertain" the crowd as though they were a bunch of animals or children (I've seen footage of the Tied Test). Botham's "mother-in-law" comment must also be remembered.

  • jude_the_obscure on January 15, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    I dont think he was wrong in anyways-first & foremost a colmnist should be honest & fair in voicing his views-which he did. As far as being the chairman of ICC-I think it was his pent-up frustration again as he could hardly do anything to improve double standards which exist in ICC & the cricket world. C'mon-Rashid Latif got a 4 match ban for appealing falsely against a minnow team in a 1-sided series & here we are talking about the current & future captains making mockery of sportsman spirit & getting away scot-free by influencing series-sealing decisions! Sunil Gavaskar should resign if he cannot improve on these in ICC. Let ICC be run by money mongers & opportunists-anyways they have hardly done any good to the game.

  • aditya87 on January 15, 2008, 5:54 GMT

    Look, Gavaskar definitely does say a lot of things many times that are controversial. Last year he was embroiled in a controversy with the Australians talking about the way they played on the field. That does not take away from the observation that in this series there seems to have been serious bias against the Indians from the first Test onwards. If the umpires reported Yuvraj Singh for dissent if he stood his ground in Melbourne, why did they not report Ponting or Clarke in Sydney? Ponting pointed his bat at the umpire and threw it in the dressing room as he was walking back. It doesn't matter if Yuvraj was cleared...why report him at all then? Is it a case of when the Australians do it, it's disappointment, but when the Indians do it, it's dissent? As far the Harbhajan-Symonds incident is concerned, it does seem to be a case of taking an Australian's word over an Indian's. Gavaskar didn't say it in the right way, but I can take the point he has made.

  • jamrith on January 15, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    I agree that Gavaskar should not be writing any columns while he is a member of the ICC. However, the question he has raised is very pertinent and Gideon Haigh can not sweep the matter under the carpet with high dudgeon as he is attempting to do.

    On what basis has Mike Procter taken the word of the Australian contingent over that of the Indian group when neither the umpires nor any other independent verifiable source heard anything conclusive? There has to be complete transparency on the issue and not the kind of obfuscatory prose with which Gideon Haigh is trying to claim the moral high ground.

    To add insult to injury, he has stooped to making the cynical remark that Harbhajan could become India's representative to the United Nations. This is gutter journalism at its worst.

  • Jeremy68 on January 15, 2008, 5:49 GMT

    Thank you Gideon.I thought it was bad enough that Sunil played the race card and appled the double standard of judging Mike Procter, as a white man, incapable of administering fair justice towards a brown man because of his inability to judge according to reason and not emotion. Now I see that in his autobiography he was comparing Jamaican cricket fans to apes, and deeming them uncivilized. Having also heard everyhting he had to say about the character of Australian players on day 5 of the Sydney test, it's also hard to overlook him dragging Chetan Chauhan off the field at the MCG on the 1980/81 tour when he didn't like the LBW decision given against him (see YouTube). Was that in the spirit of the game,Sunil? I've also never heard such emotionally over the top commentating by any other commentator as I did from Sunil on day five of the Sydney test, unlike Harsha Bhogle. Sunil,you were one of the greatest batsmen ever. I'd prefer to remember you that way,and that way alone.

  • hattrick_thug on January 15, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    While there may be evidence of the traditional Indian jingoism, it is based on a basic tenet of modern humanity - innocent until proven guilty. The accusations of racist comments have been well documented, but the proof hasn't - no transcripts of the hearings have been published. In lieu of published evidence, the public is being asked to place their trust in a person and a process, and I think an objection to this is justifiable. It is one thing for a match referee to fine someone for slow over-rates, or lingering at the crease, but a racism charge warrants more transparency than has been shown.

  • Baburao on January 15, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Dear Mr. Haigh,

    How do you explain that the umpire who bore the brunt was only Mr. Bucknor, and not Mr. Benson, who had had an equally horrendous time? And Even in the spat with Symonds and Harbhajan, it was only Harbhajan who is charged, where millions have seen Symonds speaking to him in an "intimidating & provoking" manner?

    It has always been the case, where the blacks & Browns have been positively penalised by white match refrees, & I feel that Mr. Gavaskar is right in making these remarks.

  • Harinder_Jadwani on January 15, 2008, 5:25 GMT

    You're quite a hypocrite, Mr. Haigh. Because you are focusing on Mr. Gavaskar's words in which he accurately describes the powerful emotions felt by hundreds of millions of Indians at the furor created by the Australian team and Mike Procter over a tiny incident in the Sydney Test. That incident was provoked by Symonds, to disrupt Harbhajan, because Harbhajan was tearing the Aussie bowling apart. The Australians had already been allowed to amass some 200 extra runs in the 1st innings because the blatantly unfair umpiring. The Indians tried to make the best of it, and were looking to take a first innings lead so Symonds provoked Harbhajan with an insult. The Aussies, already handed a Test on a platter, now jumped on a word 'monkey' that they allege was used by Harbhajan, and that then became the focus of racist bigots such as Mr. Haigh....sweeping under the rug all questions of umpiring and Aussie cheating. Never mind that the word monkey has no racist significance in India..

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  • Harinder_Jadwani on January 15, 2008, 5:25 GMT

    You're quite a hypocrite, Mr. Haigh. Because you are focusing on Mr. Gavaskar's words in which he accurately describes the powerful emotions felt by hundreds of millions of Indians at the furor created by the Australian team and Mike Procter over a tiny incident in the Sydney Test. That incident was provoked by Symonds, to disrupt Harbhajan, because Harbhajan was tearing the Aussie bowling apart. The Australians had already been allowed to amass some 200 extra runs in the 1st innings because the blatantly unfair umpiring. The Indians tried to make the best of it, and were looking to take a first innings lead so Symonds provoked Harbhajan with an insult. The Aussies, already handed a Test on a platter, now jumped on a word 'monkey' that they allege was used by Harbhajan, and that then became the focus of racist bigots such as Mr. Haigh....sweeping under the rug all questions of umpiring and Aussie cheating. Never mind that the word monkey has no racist significance in India..

  • Baburao on January 15, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Dear Mr. Haigh,

    How do you explain that the umpire who bore the brunt was only Mr. Bucknor, and not Mr. Benson, who had had an equally horrendous time? And Even in the spat with Symonds and Harbhajan, it was only Harbhajan who is charged, where millions have seen Symonds speaking to him in an "intimidating & provoking" manner?

    It has always been the case, where the blacks & Browns have been positively penalised by white match refrees, & I feel that Mr. Gavaskar is right in making these remarks.

  • hattrick_thug on January 15, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    While there may be evidence of the traditional Indian jingoism, it is based on a basic tenet of modern humanity - innocent until proven guilty. The accusations of racist comments have been well documented, but the proof hasn't - no transcripts of the hearings have been published. In lieu of published evidence, the public is being asked to place their trust in a person and a process, and I think an objection to this is justifiable. It is one thing for a match referee to fine someone for slow over-rates, or lingering at the crease, but a racism charge warrants more transparency than has been shown.

  • Jeremy68 on January 15, 2008, 5:49 GMT

    Thank you Gideon.I thought it was bad enough that Sunil played the race card and appled the double standard of judging Mike Procter, as a white man, incapable of administering fair justice towards a brown man because of his inability to judge according to reason and not emotion. Now I see that in his autobiography he was comparing Jamaican cricket fans to apes, and deeming them uncivilized. Having also heard everyhting he had to say about the character of Australian players on day 5 of the Sydney test, it's also hard to overlook him dragging Chetan Chauhan off the field at the MCG on the 1980/81 tour when he didn't like the LBW decision given against him (see YouTube). Was that in the spirit of the game,Sunil? I've also never heard such emotionally over the top commentating by any other commentator as I did from Sunil on day five of the Sydney test, unlike Harsha Bhogle. Sunil,you were one of the greatest batsmen ever. I'd prefer to remember you that way,and that way alone.

  • jamrith on January 15, 2008, 5:52 GMT

    I agree that Gavaskar should not be writing any columns while he is a member of the ICC. However, the question he has raised is very pertinent and Gideon Haigh can not sweep the matter under the carpet with high dudgeon as he is attempting to do.

    On what basis has Mike Procter taken the word of the Australian contingent over that of the Indian group when neither the umpires nor any other independent verifiable source heard anything conclusive? There has to be complete transparency on the issue and not the kind of obfuscatory prose with which Gideon Haigh is trying to claim the moral high ground.

    To add insult to injury, he has stooped to making the cynical remark that Harbhajan could become India's representative to the United Nations. This is gutter journalism at its worst.

  • aditya87 on January 15, 2008, 5:54 GMT

    Look, Gavaskar definitely does say a lot of things many times that are controversial. Last year he was embroiled in a controversy with the Australians talking about the way they played on the field. That does not take away from the observation that in this series there seems to have been serious bias against the Indians from the first Test onwards. If the umpires reported Yuvraj Singh for dissent if he stood his ground in Melbourne, why did they not report Ponting or Clarke in Sydney? Ponting pointed his bat at the umpire and threw it in the dressing room as he was walking back. It doesn't matter if Yuvraj was cleared...why report him at all then? Is it a case of when the Australians do it, it's disappointment, but when the Indians do it, it's dissent? As far the Harbhajan-Symonds incident is concerned, it does seem to be a case of taking an Australian's word over an Indian's. Gavaskar didn't say it in the right way, but I can take the point he has made.

  • jude_the_obscure on January 15, 2008, 6:01 GMT

    I dont think he was wrong in anyways-first & foremost a colmnist should be honest & fair in voicing his views-which he did. As far as being the chairman of ICC-I think it was his pent-up frustration again as he could hardly do anything to improve double standards which exist in ICC & the cricket world. C'mon-Rashid Latif got a 4 match ban for appealing falsely against a minnow team in a 1-sided series & here we are talking about the current & future captains making mockery of sportsman spirit & getting away scot-free by influencing series-sealing decisions! Sunil Gavaskar should resign if he cannot improve on these in ICC. Let ICC be run by money mongers & opportunists-anyways they have hardly done any good to the game.

  • aditya87 on January 15, 2008, 6:03 GMT

    What Gavaskar has said in an extremely inflaming way is that first-world hypocrisy is rife in cricket. When Pakistan beats England with reverse-swing, it's ball tampering. When England does it, it's a skill that should be celebrated. When Rashid Latif claims a grounded catch, Procter hauls him in. When Ponting and Clarke do it, Procter says nothing despite their being an agreement right under his nose to take the fielder's word for it? When bombs go off in Lahore or Karachi, no one wants to play there. When bombs go off in London, the Ashes doesn't get cancelled, does it? Oh and by the way, using that passage from a book out of context does not help make your point, Rob. That was the 1970s and 80s, a time where such racism was rife from all quarters. Greg Matthews did hand movements on the field to try to "entertain" the crowd as though they were a bunch of animals or children (I've seen footage of the Tied Test). Botham's "mother-in-law" comment must also be remembered.

  • Ram.A on January 15, 2008, 6:03 GMT

    Mr.Gideon, 1. When are referring to McGrath episode. Pl. note that there were no two sides to the story. But in Harbhajan's case there were two sides or versions. One side of Hayden, Clarke "the cheater" and Ponting. Other side was from Tendulkar. So, in the civilized world, when you are delivering justice you listen to two sides and look at the evidence, then deliver the verdict. 2. Talking about the "white man's justice" of Mr. Procter. What was difference between Rashid Latif and Ponting claiming a catch which was not there? It was just their skin color. But same Mr. Procter "the ICC referee" found Rashid Latif guilty and Ponting not guilty. Another example was in the same match Yuvarj and Ponting staring at umpires. Yuvraj guilty, Ponting not guilty. If this is not a "white man's" justice then what it. ICC personnels sending inconsistent messages to cricket world. 3. If ICC is not consistent and fair, then it will lose it's respect and standing. That will be end of ICC.

  • Bushwackers on January 15, 2008, 6:20 GMT

    Great article Gideon, as an Indian I have always hated Gavaskars arrogant and pompous attitude. Gavaskar was one of the greatest all time players but it was the same man who managed just 36 off 174 balls , replying to England's 334 from 60 overs.It was alleged that Gavaskar deliberately performed poorly in that match, due to his annoyance with the promotion of Srinivas Venkataraghavan to captaincy. He is the biggest hypocrite in Indian cricket and doesnt deserve his place in the ICC. Its high time the ICC reorganize their body before the spirit of cricket is lost forever.

    Ragesh Pillai South Africa