As I type, the First Test between India and Australia is little more than a session old. And the stage is set for more nonsense.
Things really got going before a ball had been bowled. Indian opening bat, Virender Sehwag, started jumping up and down claiming that the Australian team had cheated in the Second Test in Sydney during the last Australian summer. Sehwag is adamant that the Australians all ran around claiming non-existent catches. Australian captain, Ricking Ponting, is quite rightly insulted by these claims. http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=643741
That Test match shall live on in infamy as one in which the game's authorities simply rolled over and gave in to the demands of the Indian team and its management. Umpire Steve Bucknor was stood down. The veteran umpire, who is respected around the world, did not have a good game in Sydney. Under the microscope he did make some poor decisions. But how is that the result of the Australian team? Apart from anything else, Bucknor is West Indian. The umpires are all independents and have been for years. But with India now being the financial powerhouse of the cricketing world, officialdom just rolled over. Just as it has repeatedly rolled over, doing nothing about the continuing appalling behaviour by Indian player Harbajan Singh. When Singh was reported for racial slurs (yet again), the judiciary hearing the case was not given any details of Singh's five prior trips to the judiciary for consideration during deliberations after a guilty verdict had been handed down. Officialdom claims it was merely an oversight that this was not provided.
Excuse me a moment....sorry but I had to duck for cover - the wretched flying pigs have invaded my place again.
Nobody can claim that Australian teams have been guilty in the past of pretty damned aggressive behaviour. The tag of 'ugly Australians' was not just targetting the large growths of facial hair sported in the 1970s. But that is still a far cry from cheating. Let us compare once more to Mr Singh. It is illegal under cricket's laws for a bowler to have so much as an unbuttoned shirt cuff flapping loose as it may prove an unfair distraction. Yet Singh is simply infamous for his stunts of yelling abuse at the batter while he runs in to bowl! Just who exactly was trying to take unfair advantage of whom?
So now we come to the start of the Australian innings in this first Test match. The wonderboy of the Australian team on Indian soil is Matthew Hayden. He was very quickly dismissed, caught behind. A replay shows that he was not actually out. According the current Indian management's modus operandi, not to mention the likes of Sehwag, it is time to start screaming 'cheat cheat' and demands that the umpire be changed for incompetence.
The really sad part of it all is that we have some of the greatest players of the game on the field - and I am including Indian players in that description - but one can be pretty much assured that it is all going to swamped by more ridiculous allegations.
I have previously insisted in this blog that officialdom needs to act. Stamp on the troublemakers of all cricketing nations. They can start by jumping on Sehwag. If the idiot made such wild accusations at the club level where most of us play, he'd probably get a punch in the mouth for his trouble. Instead, he has the media do his shouting for him. Once upon a time players used to be jumped on from a great height for such stunts. Time to resume shutting them down.
Cricket is about the game. It is about the 22 players taking their turns out in the middle. What happens on the ground used to stay on the ground.