A punishment too harsh…

When the news of the cheating and ball tampering by the Australian cricketers first broke out, my response was the same as many. “These arrogant Aussies with their sense of superiority should be brought down and should be handed the harshest punishment “

Definitely, part of the reason for such a feeling was the fact that Australian cricketers of the past  had got away with their  arrogance,  unsportsmanlike behaviour on and off the field and had many a times justified their crass morally repugnant behaviour as an essential ingredient for success on the field. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Bwn-uAWdoQ)

 

I grew up in times when the Australian cricketers were winning all tournaments but at the same time, behaved as if they could get away with any of their on field behaviour. Seeing Michael Slater admonishing Rahul Dravid for no mistake of his ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8dkLrm5ALI) and Glenn Mcgrath sledging and gesticulating aggressively to Sarwan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hN4RU4LW2IM) and several such incidents have created an impression about Australian cricketers and an expectation that even when shown their obvious mistakes, the Aussie cricketers will not own up to them and be remorseful.

That is what I expected from the current episode too. I had expected them to continue defending their actions with some weird rationale just like Steve Waugh did about the sledging techniques as a form of “mental disintegration “of the opposition.

But the response from the cricketers has been very refreshing .  Seeing the players in the press conferences after being sent off abruptly from a tour, especially Steve Smith, I can’t feel more sorry for them.

The fact is that they are being penalized for “cheating”. The huge backlash they are receiving from the Australians and the world over is for intentionally trying to cheat.  But then, are they the first?  Are they the worst cheats?

Of course, what they tried to do was in contravention of the rules of the game but then, how many times have we seen players of all sport play within the rules but contrary to the spirit and blatantly cheat in a quest to win at any cost.

  • Aren’t the countless batsmen who know they have nicked the ball to the wicketkeeper but don’t walk not intentionally cheating?
  • Isn’t the fielder who claims a catch even when he knows it is possible that he may have taken it on the bounce not intentionally cheating?
  • Isn’t this an example of intentionally cheating? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afQvCaPd4t8
  • Aren’t all these episodes intentionally cheating? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxiBX6D4mxQ
  • Taking examples from other sports, aren’t all those footballers who fall over for no reason without any contact with the tackler only to earn a free kick or penalty not intentionally cheating?

How many of these players have faced such harsh penalties and ignominy as the current trio?

 

I feel Steve Smith and the others are having to face the backlash which is not entirely due to their doing. There is a legacy effect from the previous Australian players and teams. The on field behaviour of the previous teams, their treating of the opposition teams and the players, their arrogant justifications for the same have all been significant factors in creating the frenzy within and outside Australia and had reached a tipping point and unfortunately, Smith, Warner and Bancroft are having to face the punishment for that.

My take is that Lehman had to go as did the players responsible for the decision. But it is debatable whether the quantum of punishment in the form of an international ban for 12 months is appropriate.

 

I for one, feel it is too harsh.

 

 

 

 

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A punishment too harsh…

Off to see PM Modi

So, I am going to attend the massive reception of our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi at Wembley stadium in London tomorrow.  I am very excited and looking forward to seeing him speak. It is going to be  a record gathering of 50,000 or more people, an enhancement on the numbers he attracted in other parts of the world. In times of increased cynicism with politicians across the world, it is staggering to witness such huge support for a leader of a state.  I am not expecting any fantastic announcements or anything different to what he has said over the last year or so. But I still felt strongly that I should attend the event.  It is evident many others do as well.

Many in the media and the “experts” on TV who were surprised at the amount the mandate he got in 2014, continue to be shocked at the  support he gets from the diaspora . They attribute it to effective “PR machinery” , “rabid Hindutva youth”  “ guilt of leaving motherland” etc., but they couldn’t be further from the truth. None of these would have guaranteed him the consistent support he has had outside the country.

Here are 3 of my reasons which explain the huge attendances.

  • Over the year and half, ordinary people are convinced that he is working for them and not for himself. In a country of largely corrupt and self serving politiicans, people have a firm belief that he untiringly works for the nation. Ordinary people believe him when he says that. Even on Deepavali this year, he was not taking a break but rather visiting the armed forces.  Even when he was observing a fast during the Navratri, his schedule is packed. Despite the much talked foreign tours attracting controversy, people at least on the social media have realised how his schedules are planned and how he tries to get something out of every minute of his stay abroad. When he returns to India, there is no respite. He may not have brought about any dramatic changes on the ground yet, but people believe they will come sooner or later. He may not be undertaking the policies which they think are right, but at least he is not self-serving like the previous regimes.
  • Modi has started to bring some pride to the Indian diaspora which has long been overdue. He talks about our strengths, potential and the immense possibilities. He has made us feel that we will see us and the country marching ahead in future.  Slowly and slightly but surely, the stature of India has grown in the world. In the UK, the contribution of the Indians is increasingly recognised. The diaspora attribute this partly to the recent increased standing of India which in most part is due to the Modi government.
  • Many young Indians feel that he has been vilified for far too long and far too disproportionately for past events, and somewhat unfairly at that. He has gone through an extensive judicial scrutiny closely monitored by no less than the highest court of the country at a time when the Congress party was in power in the centre. We know that they would have not stopped at the smallest opportunity to incriminate him but they didn’t come up with anything. That he faced such a scrutiny as a sitting head of state government is unprecedented but he has come out unscathed. The youth are not convinced anymore with the tenacious narrative that he is complicit churned out by the mainstream media and the left liberals spurned from the Congress- ecosystem. More importantly, despite enjoying enormous unchallenged power in the whole of the state for 10 years and now at the centre for a year and half, I personally cant think of a single incident in word or deed from his side wherein he has discriminated a particular community or which would disturb the communal harmony of the country. This knowledge makes the people doubt his complicity in 2002. Despite this he is still asked repeatedly about his role in 2002.

Many youth feel angry that he is vilified this way and feel the urge to demonstrate their support to him. Hence, they take time off work, travel from far and attend such events as in Wembley in big numbers to make their support known.

And I am one of them.

Off to see PM Modi