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Posts Tagged ‘Harbhajan

Weeding Monkeys

with 4 comments

Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma.

Names I had not even heard of before this Aussie summer. But names that should come up frequently if this recently concluded series is any indication.

And if people had told me back in January that this combination was going to win India its first ODI tournament in Australia in a gazillion years of trying, I’d have asked for a puff on the obnoxious weed they were smoking.

But it was the youthful energy of these guys along with the likes of Gambhir, Uthappa, Sreesanth, Dhoni etc., and the prescence of just one ‘senior’, the evergreen Sachin Tendulkar that lifted the CB Series trophy at the Gabba last Tuesday. And in the process they have also made me (and a few other bloggers) eat a humble piece of my own words.

But I hardly care, I will write down those words and eat the paper too; after a long, tumultuous summer, we gave it to the mighty Aussie – winning on the field and delivering a bitter taste of their own medicine off it. And that just warms the cockles of my heart.

Back in late January however, it had begun real badly – a total rout in the 20/20 at MCG. But then, slight flashes of brilliance in bowling and batting at the rain-soaked GABBA encounters, followed by a good win at the MCG, and then losses to Australia in games that could have been won, a trundling win against Sri Lanka, followed by an emphatic one. Still, it seemed we were consistently doing what we do best: being inconsistent.

And then something happened: Mathew Hayden, FSM’s gift to the foot-in-the-mouthers, came on a Brisbane radio show and graciously expressed his opinions on gardening, demonstrated his acute grasp of the Indian accent, and shared his pugilistic fantasies of beating up young kids. In the same breath, he also mentioned something like ‘Indians are always losing…..’.

The rest, as they say is history. After that interview, Australia promptly lost three in a row. Over the two finals, Harbhajan Singh, the bete noire of the Australian cricket team, public and particularly the media, took the wickets of Symonds twice, Hayden once and had a hand in the run-out in another.

Irony, divine justice, karma, call it what you will. And to top it all, Sachin Tendulkar, long castigated for never winning it for India ‘when it mattered’, joined the party and played two highly innovative innings.

All followed by wonderful celebrations; and especially, as I mentioned before, the wide eyed innocence of the small-town boy, Praveen Kumar, while accepting the MoM award. (the other great moment was in the first final at Sydney, where Yuvraj and Harbhajan started a bout of mock boxing after Hayden’s dismissal).

A special salute to Captain ‘Uber-Cool’ Dhoni.In situations where Dravid would have frowned deeply, Ganguly thrown fits, Dhoni calmly – with nary an expression on his face – handed the crucial last over to Pathan. It was a strange decision given Pathan was certainly the worst bowler on display through the day, but he repaid the confidence. Since being appointed 20/20 and ODI captain, it has been a good season for Dhoni. Most of his decisions regarding player selections, backing of youngsters (a point he did not forget to make during the presentation speech) paid off handsomely – they may not in future – but his unflappability under pressure has me impressed [1].

So once again, here is to the young lads in blue ! Cheers !

(Picture: Cricinfo)

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[1]: As if I required more reasons to like Dhoni, read about his departing words to the Aus media. Very cheeky 🙂

“There was a time when it seemed like he was like Michael Jackson, the way the media were following him,” Dhoni said before flying out of Australia with the Indian team.

“I think it would have been better if they (Australian media) stuck to cricket.

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

March 5, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Dont scratch yourself….

with 9 comments

….err in the arm-pits. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the gesture is racist (apparently a monkey taunt) !!!!

Check for yourself and judge:

I won’t be defending Harbhajan if indeed he made monkey taunts, but if this is the picture that forms the basis of their accusation, it is a very weak one.

[Not justifying anything, but apparently the crowd was also having quite a go at him with shouts of ‘wanker’ (typically Australian) to ‘knob head’/’cut your hair’, a reference to his Sikh religion. Classy stuff.]

The Aussie press has really gone ballistics after their invicible team lost last night. Most of the reports keep focusing on meaningless stuff like how much the Indians celebrated e.g. how Yuvraj and Harbhajan cheekily started a mock shadow boxing round after Hayden was out (hilarious stuff IMO), rather than the game itself.

W hat a bunch of sore whiners.

Take this absurdity from Malcolm Comm whose list of Harbhajan’s past trangressions include:

Others included poking his tongue out in a one-day match against SriLanka and running most of the way to the boundary during the SydneyTest before doing several awkward rolls after dismissing Ricky Ponting

Now you cant stick your tongue out ?!! What about Brad Hogg then ?

And of course, Peter Lalor is at it again, this time raking up a bunch of pathetic excuses for Ricky Ponting’s slump in form.  I am too tired to fisk him, but Mohan at i3j3Cricket has done a pretty good job.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

March 2, 2008 at 7:14 pm

Hmm………

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Cricket fans are planning to protest against the Indian side in tomorrow’s Twenty20 match against India in Melbourne.It’s believed text messages are circulating, urging supporters to verbally attack the tourists and their fans in the wake of the Harbhajan Singh race row. (link)

Should make it interesting if any ‘incident’ happens.

MEanwhile, the Australians are probably finally taking this form of the game a bit seriously. In their last match against New Zealand, they rested players, including Ponting. For this game, Ponting seems to be in a hurry to get fit. OTOH, India are treating this as a practice game.

By the by, the 20/20 will be telecast on HD – apparently the first time for cricket in Australia. Should be fun. I actually happen to like 20/20 better than ODIs (Test cricket trumps both).

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 31, 2008 at 6:33 pm

Medieval Justice

with 5 comments

[update: Also read this piece by the GreatBong – he is obviously angry. Also, my new post on the cricketing aspects of the test match here].

Mike Procter, the match referee for the recently concluded, controversial India-Australia Test at Sydney, determines that Harbhajan used a racial slur against Andre Symonds (called him a ‘monkey’). Yet he provides no evidence other than the fact he is “satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Harbhajan Singh directed that word at Andrew Symonds and also that he meant it to offend on the basis of Symonds’ race or ethnic origin.”

Anantha expresses it much better.

PS – Apparently, Symonds was upset that Harbhajan was patting Brett Lee’s bottom.

Symonds said Harbhajan’s bewildering decision to pat Australian fast bowler Brett Lee on the bottom during play on Friday in the second Test had sparked the furore.

When Symonds asked Harbhajan why he had done this, the fiery Indian – then batting – allegedly called the Queenslander a “monkey”.

Symonds feels he had a greater claim on that piece of ass.

PPS – News Corp is racist. Here is the proof:

picture2.png

PPPS (hopefully the final one): I am not condoning Harbhajan using a racist slur, or even trying to debate whether ‘the word’ is racist or not. There was apparently an agreement between the teams beforehand that ‘the word’ was not to be used against Symonds. But only IF Harbhajan indeed used ‘the word’. The way the inquiry was handled makes it far from certain if it was the case.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

January 6, 2008 at 5:47 pm