Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Filthy Lucre - or - Justice Kolkotta style

And here was me thinking that Channel 9 ran cricket in this country. The delayed start of the Test match in Perth, I thought, was clear evidence that – daylight saving aside – the boffins at Nine would decide what the time was in Perth. I also confused myself over the misapprehension that the ICC – being the International Cricket Council – actually ran or managed the game internationally. It appears that this was not in fact so. The reality of international cricket is that India runs the game.

India – and the other sub continental teams – decide who is “racist” and who is not. Ask Darryl Hair. They also decide who does and who does not “cheat”. They also demand and get what they want. From the Calcutta Telegraph:

The Indian board has brought into play the “honour” of “every Indian”and virtually set the International Cricket Council a 48-hour ultimatum to rescue the Australia tour…

“Then the tour will go ahead,” a Board of Control for Cricket in India official told The Telegraph. He said if the ICC dilly-dallied, there was a “good enough” chance of the team being brought back in protest.

Although no official suggestion has been made about a possible tour cancellation, the BCCI mounted pressure this morning by dramatically holding the team back in Sydney just as it prepared to leave for Canberra…

The board has three demands. One, the ban must go. Two, the ban statement must drop the word “racist”. Three, Steve Bucknor must be dropped as umpire for the third Test in Perth.
As it now stands, the BCCI has been granted every demand. Or, viewed around the other way, the ICC has caved to every one.

Before today’s hearing of the appeal the Indian management and the BCCI threatened to withdraw from the one-day circus due to start in February. This is pursuing justice sub-continental style: overturn the finding and drop the charges or we go home. To quote BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi:

"If a clean chit is not given to Harbhajan, the Indian board's decision is to call the team home".

Clear as a bell that.

None of this is to excuse any on field excess displayed by Australian teams. There is likely plenty that they might answer for over time. Obviously the trick with all of these cases is – as with any legal case – to weigh the evidence and come to a finding. With the Indians it somewhat different, more along the lines of ‘forget the evidence here is the finding you will make’. Perhaps this is how justice works in India.

What I have found interesting in this entire saga is the fact that there were, from the start, three defenses mounted by the Indians. The first was “it was never said”. Outright rejection, didn’t happen, never said it. This was then followed by two reasons as to why what wasn’t said was not offensive: monkeys are revered in India and Harbajan was therefore showing no disrespect; and that the word “monkey” was confused with another Indian word that is extremely close. Must have been the word used by all those back on the sub-continent during the 20/20 tourney I suppose.

Why did the team management and the player feel the deep-seated need to explain something not ever said?

It doesn’t matter because the final defense, the one always going to be deployed, was run by the BCCI vice president. That and Channel Nine's dwindling ratings and lack of substitute programming.

Filthy lucre. It always comes back to money. That and a spineless administration which hasn’t even the intestinal fortitude to ask that teams manage 90 overs in a day’s play.

Wonder what might have happened had an Australian or English player been brought up for calling an Indian an “ape”?

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Blogger Jacob A. Stam said...

"...that the word 'monkey' was confused with another Indian word that is extremely close..."


Another empirical example for someone's doctoral dissertation on the universality of the mistranslation meme.

This one's quite an artefact, since it's a purported mistranslation of something that purportedly mightn't even have been said.

29/1/08 11:07 PM  

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