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    November 05, 2008

    Gautam Gambhir will miss the Nagpur test

    Gautam Gambhir, who was banned for a test after he elbowed Shane Watson at Mohali, will sit out of the Nagpur test. This is because his appeal for a review of the ban has been rejected.

    It is the right decision for several reasons.In the light of these facts, I have no idea what prompted the BCCI to go in for a review of the original decision in the first place! In fact now, the BCCI is threatening to up the ante by refusing to accept the decision. I have no idea why this is happening. In any case, Justice Albie Sachs, who was appointed by the ICC to hear the appeal, has presented a fact-based ruling about why the 1 test match ban should stand.

    Malcolm Conn can keep writing about how the ruling would confirm India's standing as the worst-behaved team in the last decade. But the facts of this hearing and the Justice Hansen hearing of the Harbhajan v Symonds episode confirms Australia's standing as consistently displaying equally pathetic (if not worse) behaviour, considering the number of times opponents have complained about provocative and abusive language having been used by Australian players. The only difference is that, for whatever reasons, Australia's players are rarely pulled up before the match referee, and when they are, they get off lightly.

    In a sense, it is good that Australia being the provocateurs most of the time is being exposed so that the players' double standards are brought out in the open. When Australia's players abuse and sledge, since it is the way they have always played their cricket, it is par for the course and opponents must cop it. But when opponents sledge or abuse, they go complaining to the umpires.

    Mind you, this doesn't justify Gambhir's actions. But the fact is that the incessant abuse obviously got to him and that is what Justice Sachs hints at in his decision.
    [16] In considering the proportionality of the penalty, I am prepared to accept that he had been the victim of prolonged and persistent verbal abuse by members of the Australian team, culminating in a moment of anger that led to his unfortunate lapse. I would add in his favour that the manner in which Shane Watson had raised an arm as he ran past for the first run, could have been taken by him as a mocking gesture, and thereby could have served as the last provocative straw.

    [22] At the same time, it is not only physical argy-bargy that must be minimised. Constant verbal assaults are also unbecoming, and also bring the game into disrepute, the more so if their intention is to break the player’s concentration and provoke a loss of temper. To my mind, these 'verbals' as they are euphemistically called, whether they involve swearing or not, provide a kind of tension and aggression inconsistent with the spirit of cricket. Yet even if a case can be made out that the time has come to consider whether sledging has any place in cricket at all, one form of unbecoming conduct cannot justify another. However severe the verbal assaults on them may be, players are obliged not to give vent to their anger through physical retaliation. They must respond with their prowess as cricketers, and not with the furious muscle of out-of-control anger. Even a hint of physical retaliation must be strongly dealt with. And captains and umpires should be astute not to allow any badgering which raises the temperature and encourages undue ire.
    This is a great opportunity for the ICC to step in and do something about abuse and sledging.

    Update: Michael Jeh, on the Cricinfo 'Different Strokes' blog, has a good post on why the ICC needs to step in now. He also questions why the umpires did nothing about the constant abuse that Gambhir was copping. He asks an interesting question - Are these chaps at a workplace or playing a sport? If it is a workplace, clearly this abuse is unacceptable. If its a sport, then why not pay them commensurately, and besides, why abuse if it isn't something to be taken too seriously?

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 6:54 pm |
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    3 sledge(s):

    It's all about who crosses the line and who doesn't, and also, who wins and who doesn't.

    The line seems to be in a different place, when one loses, as opposed to when one wins. It is generally the winner that gets all the focus too. Now that India looks like winning a bit more, you'd better get used to the spot light.

    You can't tell me that Australia sledge more than NZ, India and South Africa - I (like the BCCI) simply won't accept it ;-)

    By Blogger Stu (05-Nov-2008, 12:00:00 pm)  

    Who wins has a limited impact on who gets pulled up. Assuming, like you say, Aus, NZ, Ind & SA sledge almost the same amount, and yet Ind gets pulled up more often.

    I'd put it down to one of three possibilities:

    1. Bias/Incompetence in the ICC's match referees and umpires, since they're the ones who can bring charges

    2. Cultural differences in the way sledging or abuse is perceived by the ones doing the sledging and the ones copping it.

    3. Lack of smartness - If you're getting caught when others aren't, for the same amount of abuse/sledging, then clearly you're not very smart about it.

    I'm tempted to pick #3 :)

    By Blogger Jagadish (05-Nov-2008, 5:15:00 pm)  

    ICC would always have Indians in sight being pulled up for sledging....And thats what u call bias :)

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