Not quite the start, eh?

One more wicket that wasn't 2008 promised much for India’s cricket fans. Sachin Tendulkar gave them a 100, as did VVS Laxman; they had Australia at 134/6 but then something went wrong. Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson thought, “Hang on. India can’t beat Australia. West Indies and England have been battered by the Aussies. India must suffer the same fate.” And so it began. One long, never-ending string of bad decisions (that even the Australian media slammed) and India had lost a Test they deserved to at least draw. The ICC has since withdrawn Mr Bucknor from the third Test at Perth. After India put pressure on them. Which means that he is incompetent and the ICC should not have fielded him in the first place.

That, however, wasn’t even the worst of it. Harbhajan Singh allegedly called Andrew Symonds a “monkey” which amounted to a racial slur and brought him a three-Test ban as a gift. Mike Procter, the match referee (who like Bucknor seems to enjoy snubbing India) ruled in favour of the home team. While the Indians cried themselves hoarse that there was no evidence, the word of the Aussies seemed good enough for Mr Procter. Let’s see if that proves to be the case when Brad Hogg’s hearing comes up later today.

The direct fallout has been that the BCCI has now called off the tour. Right or wrong? Hard to say. But if Harbhajan has been wrongly accused, this is a right move. However, I don’t think that the tour should end like this. India must register their protest, but not leave the tour unfinished. Even if they lose 4-0, they should play on. Australia has offered the peace pipe, but will the BCCI take it?

After a match filled with controversy it was revealed the BCCI would request Steve Bucknor, the “incompetent” official, be replaced for the third Test in Perth while Kumble will review the pre-series catching agreement he had with Ricky Ponting, who aggressively defended his integrity.

Among a lot of things questioned was the integrity of the Australian team. And I, for one, feel that they were playing hard and unfair to complete their 16 wins no matter what Ponting claimed. And after all that has transpired, one has to agree with Kumble that only one team played in the true spirit of the game.

Also read:
Kangaroo courts and bent umpires (GreatBong)
What’s caste got to do with it? (Cricinfo magazine via India Uncut)
Tour boycott will be extreme: Ponting (Rediff)
I am no racist, but Procter is a monkey (Cricket Etcetra)
Akram calls Aussies crybabies (Fox Sports)
Sledging: The mafia seeks protection (i3j3 cricket)



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