Tuesday, August 07, 2007


England have not taken the defeat at the hands of India in the second test in the sporting sense. It is one thing to be trashed by Australia down under. It is quite another thing for the English team to be beaten at home by India.

First there were assertions by players and also the coach of the England cricket team over the sledging accusations. Even a player of the stature of Matt Prior doesn’t feel bad about the sledging. The coach Peter Moores dismisses such allegations. Collingwood is not ashamed at the jellybeans thrown by some his teammates at the Indian players.

But the cake should go to Mike Atherton, the former captain of the England team and now a media professional. It is right for Atherton to go hammer and tongs at Sreesanth for his boorish behaviour during the test. Sreesanth bowled a beamer at Kevin Pietersen and then shoulder barged Michael Vaughan. Such behaviour should not be condoned by any means. Atherton is not happy with the punishment meted out to Sreesanth. The former skipper wants Sreesanth to be dropped from the third test. Sreesanth looks most likely to be dropped given his shoddy efforts in the match. It is true that the match referee Ranjan Madugalle took a rather lenient view of the whole Sreesanth. But what authority does Atherton have to talk about a tougher punishment?

Atherton himself is someone who does not have the moral authority to sermonize. This same gentleman was once caught by cameras taking sand from his trouser pocket and applying the same to a ball during the course of a test. Then the punishment was not severe, by today’s standards. Probably that is the reason for the present outburst. If Sreesanth’s bowling a beamer was ‘rancorous’, then what should we call Atherton’s behaviour? Sreesanth can walk away from the controversy on the pretext of an accidental act, while Atherton does not have that kind of a luxury.

In a one dayer prior to the Ashes of 2005, Simon Jones hurled the ball at Matthew Hayden when the batsman was not even attempting a run. The ball hit the shoulder of Hayden. The whole of the English media praised this incident as the ‘aggression’ of the English team.

Clearly, it is a case of different strokes for different people.

Don't brand me a racist, just yet.

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