Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Spare me the Glare!

Crowd Taunts, verbal chats, brushing shoulders and intimidating glares - A perfect script to get the game going with the least emphasis on getting the game right! Its pretty inquisitive of the way things have been happening in this game and looks like a new script writer has been appointed to spice up things. A question however pops up - Is it really called for?
Cracking up Australia is not that easy. Andre Nel would have learnt that a couple of years back when Gilly whacked him to all corners of the ground after his antics. He even got a taste of his own against India, though Sreesanth's terpsichore in reply probably overshadowed the entire match itself. No doubt, its fun, though once a while. It becomes quite annoying after that!
Subtle humor with a pinch of sledging is brilliant and I'm not sure if anyone barring the likes of Graeme Hick would really argue with that. But not everyone is good at it, and then comes the case of crossing that 'thin' line when it becomes seriously objectionable. Isn't that happening too often these days? We all know that there is a lot of chatter going around that 22 yards but then to do it gracefully is an art in itself.
Indians were never really good at it, barring a few smart blokes, whom you can count on one hand (The name of Ravi Shastri instantly comes into my mind). However, there has been a substantial change in the past decade or so and this was much evident when Ganguly was at the helm of affairs. He definitely caused a few jitters in Steve Waugh's tummy when the Aussies had come down to India 2000-01.
Things have been changing since then. Aggression is suddenly becoming more important than your numbers. Sreesanth is perhaps a classic example of this. I'm not against giving it back to the Aussies, but then an overdose of the same doesn't really carry any meaning, and especially when you are not able to back your words with deeds. With the recent developments in the Indo-Aus series, its pretty clear that the upcoming tour to Down Under would probably be a make-or-break series for quite a few Indian players. We've all seen how 'generous' the crowds Down under can get, leave alone the 'mates'!
However, ICC would probably be relishing seeing all this. There's a touch of 'soccerial' behavior thats sneaking in this game, driving even the 'relatively' passive folks to hoot for their players. Lets see if these gimmics on display highlight fierce competitiveness or should be ignored as mere buncombe.


Amol Agrawal said...

I liked your view on how ICC would be relishing all this behavior. They would try and show they are worried but at the back of theor mind would be happy. More of this means higher revenues, higher bonuses, ranches in Texaz etc etc :-)

Now to the main point.
I actually don't like the way Aussies play the game. They started all this and reading their statements it seems they take pride in this. By calling it Aussie spirit, Aussie way of playing etc they try and defend their behavior. But we all know it is not needed.

It is irritating to read statements from Ponting etc that we play this way only. Aussies are a great team and have brilliant players and this behavior is just not needed. By not resorting to such behavior it would make them only greater.

They start talking before a series (and that too all leading players)and expect the other team to keep quiet. Now when other teams are not keeping quiet, the scenario is getting ugly. Andrew Symonds made a big hue and cry about coments made at him. How about Aussie crowd humiliating several players time and time again (Muralitharan the most often targeted). These double standards need to bne addressed but unfortunately only Gavaskar talks about them.

All I can say is greatness in any sport is not just about winning most of your games. It is also abput the way you carry yourself on and off the field. That is why players like Borg, Sampras, Agassi, Tendulkar etc would always be remembered for taking the game to a different high.

It is unfortunate to say the same does not apply to the Aussie cricket players.

@purV said...

This post was long due and I'll be honest here to say that there were several incoherent thoughts regarding this.
Agreed that you probably won't be able to find even a single player in the Aussie squad who's clean, and I'll reiterate that I'd love folks giving it back to them, but then they also need to back it with their game - thats what counts at the end of the day and that's why I cited Andre Nel. The problem with Aussies are that they are damn good on the other aspect as well!
They do step over the line too often, no doubt - who can forget Michael Slater's 'felony' on field - it was one of those days when umpires were reduced to mere marionettes. But then they often win at the end of the day!

Rohit Jain (felon) said...

Well said amol and apurv. There certainly was jiggling going in my mind pertaining to this whole issue. But apurv not always would you like to see the so called aussie style even if they back it up with their game. There are certain ethics that are to be followed in any sport (that's what i think). I agree with Amol, that's the reason why sportsmen like Sachin, Dravid, Sampras, Agassi ........ are famous. Their style and soberness of their game, and how subtly they just rip their opponent (with their game and may be a few glares :))

On the other hand i agree with you that aussie (or for tht matter ne team) should be given a nice reply, but then guys like sreesanth are probably overdoing this. There has been a lot of hoopla on his code of conduct. I suppose everything has it's good and bad post effects, but this Aussie style is kinda just taking the whole sanctity of the game away. Though making the game certainly interesting.

I belong to the good old school of thoughts, let the action first speak and then may be a few words ;)

P.S.: I might sound contradictory, but then i have mixed feelings and i suppose most of us would have. There are points on which i'd agree and few on which i'd disagree. This comment should be considered as a critic rather than as a comment ;)

@purV said...

Aussies know they are the best in business basically! I don't really think they are taking the sanctity of the game away, its just that they ensure that the opposition knows this. The Windies in their prime used to display their greatness through their 4 giants who'd break your teeth if you tried to be too flamboyant! ;D We all know what Sir Viv was capable of. But then no matter how good the 'mates' are, the Windies of the 70s were unsurpassable.

Rohit Jain (felon) said...

well do agree with the windies example, bt still too much of everything is harmful.. i alwaz believe in that.. the ausie style is certainly taking over all the team across the globe... i suppose indian team is affected the most :D

btw, i suppose for ausies it's more of a psychological phenomena to do all this.. comments b4 the game, guys like ponting and symonds and mc grath, commenting in media, on field exchange of words etc etc etc.. but then regarding the whole sanctity of the game, i just meant that at times they just over do, for that matter most the teams (specially indian).. best eg is sreesanth :P

bechara sreesanth.. saale kii watt laga rakhi hai sabne.. ab toh bloggers bhi :D

@purV said...

waat nahi be.. its just that this chap looks to have some great potential and I'd hate to see him fade away!

Rohit Jain (felon) said...

well, with indian team..trust me nething's possible... i mean, how many times have we seen good guys being dropped out of the team for so called inexplainable reasons.

the first name that comes to my mind "Laxman" .. and youngsters, well the list may just go on and on.. and we can just hope the best for the team. May god bless them all :)

Amol Agrawal said...

Precisely, that is what I said. Aussies just dont need to get into this behavior at all. If they feel this behavior is what leads them to wins it isnt cricket at all. They should go back to the caves.

Others know they aint any good as Aussies and hence are frustrated. Earlier most relented, now most are joining and playing games on the field hoping some aussie to get irriitated and may be match turns their way.

So my idea is I can understand other teams getting into such antics not Aussies. Aussies have always been a tough opposition but with Steve Waugh's captaincy antics really picked up. Like I don't understand why Mcgrath said before a series things like I am targeting so and so..What is the need? Now we have Ponting saying things like "we will try and not let Muralitharan break Warne's record in Australia"...It is silly isnt it?

I agree they play damn well and manage to do most of what they say, but why talk? They just don't need to as things are getting really ugly.

Now it is not just between Australia and others. All countries seem to have joined in. The recent India-England series is a case in point. It was really ugly and kept getting uglier withe every match.

What irks me more is Aussies defending their behavior and saying "Hang on India, wait and watch what we do to you when you come down under?" Really? What to expect? With the way these antics have been progressing, we would soon have analysts commenting which city, which stand is the team expected to get more boorish behavior and what the visting team should do.

So cricket would be played more in neutral venues and may be that would help ICC promote cricket around the world. So whichever way you look at it, ICC looks like the real winner :-)

Rohit Jain (felon) said...

i agree with you amol, totally :)