Thursday, January 31, 2008

Filthy Lucre II: update

The good humored voice of Indian cricket, Mr. Harsha Bhogle, has penned a piece for the SMH. I find Harsha a well informed and entertaining commentator on the ABC’s coverage and don’t necessarily find much to disagree with in what he’s written. Three things, though, need comment.

Firstly Harsha notes that “Newspapers are selling more copies, news channels are filling up time, and simple minds are being influenced”. One might ask influenced how? The simple minds, I’d suggest, are those that populate the ICC. This is a body which is about as relevant to the running of the game as the term “British Empire” is to what remains of the Commonwealth.

Secondly Harsha writes that “the players who think they heard what he [Harbhajan] said might feel disappointed, but that is not how the law works. If judgment was to be made based on what one person said versus what another did, the world would become unlivable”. Now, on the face of it, there’s little to disagree with there. It is a bit like children with their claims and counter claims. No one ever did it. I this instance though, Harsha might be well advised to inform the BCCI, and Mr Lalit Modi in particular, of his view on how the law works. The BCCI seems to feel that it works by demanding the judge make a particular finding or else India packs its collective bat and ball and goes home.

That this had no bearing on the spineless ICC beggars belief. The ICC’s record on such matters is anything but reassuring. It has a strong track record of not supporting, indeed of removing, umpires who do not see the game in the sub-continental way.

Lastly Harsha declares that Australians might think that “Harbhajan has got away with a slap on the wrist in spite of three players claiming he racially abused Andrew Symonds.” Now, for the record, I’ve no doubt that in sticking his nose in where it wasn’t needed (after the Indian’s pat on Lee’s bum) Symonds instigated the ugly little event. That in no way excuses Harbhajan should he have said what he might possibly not have. And, while we’re on the subject, why is calling someone a “mother f***er” of so little import?

The point is that the execrable spin bowler did indeed get off light. The judge has admitted as much. This due to the fact that the details of Harbhajan’s suspended one match ban for intimidation and abuse of an umpire were not put before him. Nor were any of the other three “convictions” recorded against the bowler. His lamentable record, for the purposes of this enquiry, did not exist because it was not produced.

And, who didn’t produce it for the court? The ICC, of course. Threats of abandoning the tour and further action by the financial powerhouse of the game count for nil don’t they.

Or is that just my too cynical nature?


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