The recent race feud between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton basically calling Obama a “boy” and the Senator Macaca mess — all reminded me of the Indian cricketer being accused for racism as he called names while playing a test cricket series in Australia last month. The Indian bowler Harbhajan Singh was accused of calling Andrew Symonds “a monkey” in the Sydney test cricket in Australia and was subsequently banned for next three matches. Here is Symonds in play:
An Indian cricketer calling names of the host is supposed to be the eighth wonder of the world. Or, I think this is a time for brutal directness – calling a spade a spade.
South Asians have a strong concept of politeness which sometimes borders the impression of being meek, so when the Australians faced the same “sledging” in the field what they thought as their only birthright – the incident seemed to upset them a lot.
I am not sure whether Harbhajan Called Symonds “a monkey” or not but one thing is for sure Harbhajan never took Aussies’ vicious “gamesmanship” with a good humor – he publicly called then “vulgar” and refused the Aussie-abuses go unanswered. Definitely that didn’t make the Aussies very happy.
The Aussies are supposed to be the strongest cricket team in the world so far and I do admire them for their achievement. But when the game is played beyond the field and rules, to win by creating pressure – my respect for them just evaporates.
“Sledging – the practice of verbal abuse of insulting opponents in cricket” – a heritage of calling names in cricket made its mark in ‘60s. It was originated in Adeialde, South Australia – directing insults or obscenities at the opposition team became known as “sledging.”
Once the famous Australian wicket keeper Rod Marsh greeted the British batsman Ian Botham in the field saying – “so, how is your wife and my kids?”
It was taken for granted as a part of the game.
Actually it was taken for granted as a part of the game for the Aussies. It was “gamesmanship” when they did it and it was “racism” when others repeated it.
Now, the fun was to enjoy the pleasure of winning the next test match against the best and most arrogant side in the world in their own backyard. Yes, Team India won the next test match in Perth.
India won the match by displaying sheer cricket – sense, not by only being “tough.” Ok, they were tough but they didn’t have to hit below the belt to win – they just gave their best.
Well, nice guys do win. Now the question is, can nice guys be “famous” without being mean?
I can only hope so.
This incident took place during a county championship match between Glamorgan and Somerset in England.
Glamorgan bowler Greg Thomas had beaten the bat a couple of times and informed Viv Richards: “the ball is red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering.”
The very next ball was given the King Viv treatment and smashed out of the ground, into a river – at which point Richards piped up: “Greg, you know what it looks like. Now go find it.”
Now that I call giving one’s best.
With all these, I wish Obama a great luck in coming weeks!