Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Peter Lalor, The Australian, and We The Indians!

By John Cheeran
The Australian newspaper’s cricket writer Peter Lalor has provoked a debate on the unfair reportage by the Indian media during the just finished Test series against Australia Down Under.
Lalor makes two big points in his column. One is about umpiring and other is on crowd behaviour.
Lalor excoriates Indian media for their hypocrisy.
He refers to when the West Indian umpire Steve Bucknor did not give Indian fast bowler S Sreesanth out during the first Test at Lord’s when England required only one wicket to win the match. Many felt that Sreesanth was out LBW on that occasion but Indian media did not discuss that decision but were happy with the draw.
So, Lalor asks, why make such a fuss when the same Bucknor makes more mistakes, now against India in Australia?
Well, Lalor, everyone has a right to be stupid, but one should not abuse that right.
When Bucknor did not give Sreesanth out, it was not Indian media’s business to protest that decision, England has its cricket writers. The BCCI with its money power did not muzzle out the English media.
And, Lalor, being cognoscenti, should have known that Indian media and team management were not protesting decisions against a No.11 batsman.
A decision going against No.11 batsman has only that importance, even considering the match situation at Lord’s.
England was pressing for a win, and visibility was poor etc.
England did not win the Lord’s Test against India not because Bucknor’s stupidity but their bowlers’ incompetence.
And in Australia Anil Kumble’ s boys had to contend with Bucknor giving not out to a seasoned all rounder such as Andrew Symonds. And other stupid decisions that resulted in the dismissals of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly.
Lalor must be really a patriot to compare Sreesanth decision to the horrendous blunders Bucknor committed in the second Test at Sydney.
And to consider that Symonds had the cheek to declare that he knew he was out when Bucknor refused to give him out! And Lalor has no problems with a player who betrays the spirit of the sport.
Indians and their media have every right to be incensed. Their incandescent rage, in fact, played a major role in India winning the third Test at Perth.
And Perth victory nailed Lalor’s argument. India showed that they can trump Australia given fair umpiring.
Lalor should remember that in the series he was referring to, England never came close to winning the remaining two Tests, that too on their home turf. In fact Rahul Dravid’s India won the second Test and almost won the third Test.
Now for the monkey chant against Symonds.
Lalor should know that in some regions, Indians build temples for their monkeys. Lord Hanuman and his great leap across to Sri Lanka are great feats in Indian folklore.
And remember this. Who’s whining? Aussies. Those who employed under arm bowling against Kiwis, and the masters of sledging.
And Lalor should know this-- Indian cricket fans come from a social spectrum, unimaginable for an average Aussie. You will find beggars, sadhus, corporate honchos, teens, veterans, fishmongers, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, poets, perverts and drunkards at the Indian stands.
All of them may not react like what you may prefer to call in a ‘civil’ manner.
We lynch our neighbours when a riot suits us.
Aussies should be grateful for what they get while they come playing. Including Symonds, that is.

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