Home > Cricket Article > If it isnt Australian, it isnt right!

If it isnt Australian, it isnt right!

There is much to admire about the quality of cricket Australia bring to the table. Whether the way they play it is worth emulating, is another matter altogether.As they have displayed in ample measure so many times in the past, and as they have reiterated in India over the last three weeks, the Aussies set the benchmark with their aggressive, intrepid approach. Australia forever believe in going forwards, because taking a backward step is, their thinking dictates, a sign of weakness and submission.

Their belief in their abilities is awe-inspiring. Each time they have stumbled momentarily, they have found at least one man for the occasion. To them, there is no obstacle that can’t be surmounted, no crisis that can’t be tided over. Their brand of cricket is at once flamboyant and spectacularly alluring, appealing to the eye as they lift cricket to a fine art by amalgamating style and substance to a nicety.

So far so good. But hey, who appointed them the guardian angels of world cricket?

Proud peacocks
For almost as long as they have strutted around like proud peacocks aware of the admiration they evoke, Australia have genuinely believed that the standards they set are the only ones acceptable. And we are not, let’s be clear, talking skills with bat and ball in this instance.

Australia seem to be under the mistaken impression that the copyright for norms of behaviour, for the spirt of the game, for chat and aggression, for appearance and conduct, lies entirely with them.

They appear convinced that there is a direct correlation between on-field dominance and non-skill related demeanour, which is why they will trigger awe and respect around the world, but never generate any great fondness. The team that prides itself on setting the norms was the one that put on the most boorish behaviour on a public forum, less than 12 months back.

Today, Australia sit on the righteous moral horse and pass judgement on India’s outlandish reaction to their Twenty20 World Cup triumph. The same Aussies showed a massive disrespect for both age and authority at the presentation ceremony of the Champions Trophy in Mumbai last November.

Irreverential message
No sooner had a finger-wagging Ricky Ponting received the cup from BCCI president and union minister Sharad Pawar than the captain himself and Damien Martyn practically shoved Pawar away from the dais. That was perfectly acceptable from their point of view, we are told. That was a moment for the team to celebrate and savour.

‘You have handed over the cup, now get going,’ was the irreverential message they sought to convey to the man who, two years hence, will head the International Cricket Council. Benchmark? Thanks, but we shall pass. So we have Adam Gilchrist opting to ‘walk’ and demanding that he be complimented for it. So we have tons of Aussies questioning the actions of Muttiah Muralitharan and Shoaib Akhtar, among others, while some of their own with only slightly less questionable actions are wrapped in cotton wool and molly coddled.

So we have the moral guardians publicly questioning the wisdom of the ICC and the knowledge of the umpires while rising spiritedly in defence of the man who asked for ‘compensation’ to quit the Elite Panel of umpires in the wake of the ball-tampering and match forfeiture controversy at The Oval last year!So the Australians are peeved because we treated our Twenty20 World Cup-winning side like ‘princes.’ They are upset that every time they switch on the TV, Indian players stare them in the face from commercials. Surely, they have heard of remotes?!

Public forum
The John Buchanans, Steve Waughs, Pontings and Brett Lees have flown out to India during their off-season to honour contractual obligations to products they promote.The Australian players get more play in Indian media — print and electronic — than the Indians because the Board of Control for Cricket in India has prevented its players from entering into ‘exclusive’ deals with television channels or newspapers. Therefore, while the visitors have a public forum through which to shout themselves hoarse, the Indians are merely reduced to defending themselves against the plethora of allegations at official pre-match conferences.

Teams from across the globe have been visiting India for more than three-quarters of a century now. In the early days, touring India wasn’t the easiest task because the hotels weren’t top-draw, pollution levels were extreme. At no stage, though, did anyone question the sincerity of the people or the respect of the fans. Andrew Symonds has fired the first salvo by equating monkey chants to racist abuse.

There is no condoning the behaviour of an admittedly small group of spectators; Mark Waugh, however, hit the nail on the head when he questioned the invoking of the racial angle when not a single word was uttered.What Australia have managed is to whip up interest, passion and emotions back home.

Contrary to what Symonds would have the world believe, it is Australia more than India which is a hostile place to tour. The media, the fans and the players themselves are like one unending stream of aggression, collectively elevating mental disintegration to a fine art. For three months from December, India will alternately have wrath, ire and disdain heaped on them Down Under. And neither moan nor grumble. Now that is worth emulating, for sure.

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Categories: Cricket Article
  1. October 18, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    You said it.

  1. October 20, 2007 at 4:26 am

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