Thursday, 17 January 2008

Cultural difference and others craps

We would surely love to believe that the Sydney bad blood has been flushed out. Disturbing voices, however, still want us believe Ricky Ponting & Co played the game hard but fair.

“Cultural difference, silly!” Well, that’s pure crap. Hogg…I mean hogwash actually.

Let’s get it right that India lost the Sydney Test but Australia did not win either. If Cricket Australia cares a fig about intangible things like ethics and morality, the Sydney Test, at best, was a Pyrrhic victory. But neither Ponting nor James Sutherland is Pyrrhus and nor do they realize that victories like this would leave their reputation in tatters.

Unmistakably, the Australians are so seduced by success that they bring in a kind of ruthlessness that probably guarantees them silverwares but not admirers. Well, if they are happy with that, congratulations! If cricket is global politics, Australia is its America – the big, brash, bully that boasts of everything but admirers. Likewise, Australia’s cupboard maybe full of trophies but they have hardly won anything else.

Specially under Ponting, Australia has fallen from the grace. They have been disgraceful in triumphs and worse in defeats. Like America, they top the hate-list outside Down Under. Preparing a rap-chart, where India and Sourav Ganguly top the team and individual lists, is an exercise in futility.

For quite a while, Australia has been so unflinching in its single-minded persuasion of the one-point agenda of success that it sacrificed everything else – grace, niceties, sportsmanship – at its altar.

Reared up on a perverse notion that skill alone may not be enough to ensure success, the Australians have been schooled to be crook. Sledging is considered a necessity and grip over a filthy vocabulary has been made to look as important as gripping the ball.

Unfortunately for the game, Australia is the hideous face of cricket. It’s rather an irony that cricket has a team at the top that stands for everything that goes against the very spirit of the game.

Alas, Australia is not aware of the kind of cricket it has been practicing and preaching. Now if they decided to play it the way they wanted, I would have no business criticizing them. But what worries me is the fact that the disease if contagious. Frustrated at Australia’s America-like hegemony, countries like India are trying to blindly ape them, bringing a smug smile to Australia’s face. After all, imitation is the best form of compliment. Therein lies the danger for the game.

Image: Getty Images

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