God’s own children!

The Kangaroos seem determined to prove that they are worse than the Pakistanis on the cricket field. They suffer from the illusion that God has sent them to Earth to rule the cricket world. ‘Sportsman spirit’ is the phrase that finds no place in their cricket lexicon. What the Aussie captain Steve Smith did at the Chinnaswamy Stadium at Bengaluru on Tuesday after being declared leg before wicket by the umpire can be stated in one eight-letter word – Cheating. The Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, just stopped short of spitting that word out of his mouth but he left no one in doubt how he would describe Smith’s action.
Smith’s ludicrous excuse, after being caught red-handed on-field and being reprimanded by the umpire, that he had a ‘bit of a brain fade’ will deceive no one.  One can have a ‘brain fade’ (whatever that may mean) once but not repeatedly. The Indian skipper saw him look at the dressing room twice earlier to seek guidance. Yes, Smith had been caught cheating for the third time. It betrays a mentality not to accept being declared out and reverse that decision – or to try to reverse that decision – by resorting to underhand methods. Smith must not be let off merely with a warning or a reprimand, but be debarred from playing in the next two Tests so that the lesson is driven home into the Aussie camp. They have to be told in unambiguous terms that rules of the game apply equally to all teams, Aussies included. And repeated violation of the rules will not be condoned.
That the kangaroos cannot stomach defeat is well known in the cricketing world. The racist remarks against spin bowler Harbhajan Singh in the second India-Australia test at Sydney in 2008 are still fresh in memory. The Aussie captain, Ricky Ponting, implicitly admitted that complaints against them were not baseless by saying, at the end of the match, that: “But what I’ve also been conscious of is making sure the guys are remembered as being good people to go along with being great cricketers. We have actually started to change the perception the way in which the public see us.” What Steve Smith did at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was exactly opposite. Instead of ‘changing the perception’ he only reinforced the perception that Ponting wanted to dispel. The BCCI has joked in a tweet that Australia thinks DRS stands for ‘Dressing Room Review System.” But it should not be left at that. Whether a formal complaint can be lodged with the ICC should be seriously considered.

Friday, 10 March, 2017