Tag Archives: Racism

Harbhajan Race Row: A New Zealander’s View

If there’s one misguided, horrifying comment post about the Harbhajan Row, it’s this one (taken from press.co.nz) by Matt Rickens of the Walkato Times:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4350433a6429.html

Let me quote the first paragraph for you, followed by the picture used:

Puffy bright lips, round face surrounded by masses of hair and a dark complexion … to me, Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds looks like a primate.

Not many could look at this picture of a spider monkey and see no resemblance to Symonds. In fact, you might reasonably ask which is which?

I don’t mean it in a racist way, but he actually does look like a monkey. It’s not because of his skin colour, although that is obviously a contributing factor.”

Shocker...

David.

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Filed under Andrew Symonds, Australia, Australia v India Cricket Row, Harbhajan, New Zealand Press, Racism, Sport

The buck now stops with Ponting and Bucknor

Being an England fan, I think it was difficult to at first acknowledge the role of Ricky Ponting in the Harbhajan affair. After all, England, in a time that seems so long ago, overcame sledging etc in the 2005 Ashes Series by playing them at their own game. Of course, it didn’t work just over a year ago in the Australian backyard.

Becoming so accustomed to that type of behaviour, it now seems natural — ‘The Spirit of the Game’ transformed; the “anger” Nasser Hussain called for the England team. The persistent appealing towards two underwhelming umpires (in the case of Bucknor, one consistently underwhelming umpire) at first masked by the racism row, is now beginning to be realised. Gamesmanship is now the issue, with Harbhajan taking a back-seat. Even notable Australian-based cricket journalists such as  Peter Roebuck are calling for his sacking.

Steve Bucknor, who was to umpire the third Test in Perth, is now no-longer doing so, and has been replaced by Billy Bowden. Malcolm Speed, chief executive of the ICC, bowed to the pressure of India.

And, by being nocturnal and watching ND-TV on Sky (channel 513 in the UK) at 4.30am this morning, where a studio audience was drafted in and a panel who repeatedly talked about the honour of a nation being besmirched, it’s easy to understand why.

His consistent poor decision-making has stirred a nation to the point where memories of the colonial past are now coming back; views that the game of cricket cannot afford to be subjected to – again. Comments on that eponymous feature of all news channels — the ticker, were all calling for the sub-continent to form a ‘super association’ that is totally independent of the ICC. It’s all rash talk, but rash talk that will frighten the ICC.

Cricket is entering yet another shaky period. This row, as well as the ensuing impasse over England touring Zimbabwe, are making that ominous Hadlee vision a reality.

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Filed under Andrew Symonds, Australia, Australia v India Cricket Row, Comment, Cricket, ICC, India, Indian Cricket League, Peter Roebuck, Racism, Ricky Ponting, Sport, Steve Bucknor

Harbhajan race row: Could it split cricket apart?

The furore over India’s Harbhajan Singh supposedly calling Andrew Symonds a “monkey” during the second test in Sydney is escalating in confusion and intensity.

On the one side is the ICC, the body that protects the wider game from its tax-haven in Dubai; the other is India, the obsessive cricketing nation that frequently airs intention, albeit not from the BCCI, of breaking away from the establishment with its Indian Cricket League and of continued desire for more control in the game.

It may seem like exaggeration, but if this not resolved soon, it could have the potential to not just damage reputations, but to be ‘the straw that broke the camels back’, and with it splitting the cricketing world apart.

The issue now seems to transcend the role of Australia in the row, and is now concentrating more on umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson, and match referee Mike Procter.

For now, India have lodged an appeal and Harbhajan is free to play until it is is heard, but politics is once again threatening the game.

India are once again playing the ‘unjustly treated card’ by saying that the umpiring and refereeing was totally unacceptable, as well as stating that Australia played the game in a manner that was contrary to the ‘spirit of the game’.

Meanwhile, Australia are baffled by the whole thing, with Symonds saying that he is “surprised” about the supposed incident because there had been “no bad blood” during the series so far.

As for the tour continuing is uncertain; however, India’s assistance manager MV Sridhar believes that the tour will continue, but said that “we will await instructions from the BCCI.”

James Sutherland, chief executive of Cricket Australia, also believes that the tour will go ahead after discussing the matter with BCCI President Sharad Pawar:

“Sharad Pawar, who is the president of cricket in India, has overnight made such commitments, so that’s good enough for me. We’re looking forward to Perth now.”

This situation does bear some resemblance to the South Africa v India series in 2001, where five Indian players (including Harbhajan and Sachin Tendulkar) were suspended for ball tampering.

In this incident, which lead to the infamous Unofficial Test at Centurion, the match referee Mike Denness was lambasted by the BCCI and incurred, according to then Wisden editor Graeme Wright, “the wrath of a nation.”

Except now that is, the nation that believed was being racially discriminated, is now the believed discriminator.

In the 1982 edition of Wisden, former New Zealand captain Walter Hadlee wrote:

“The International Cricket Conference [as it was then known] represents the cricketers of the world. Its future can only be threatened if members allow themselves to be involved in politics rather than cricket.”

This is what is in danger of happening. Effergies of Bucknor, that most unlikely of hate figures, Benson and now Ricky Ponting, are being burnt on the streets of India. A political row is brewing, and the BCCI are trying to remain composed by awaiting the official ICC ruling on Harbhajan. But for now at least, the Indians are adamant and once again feel discriminated.

Time will tell whether this could be that proverbial piece of straw.

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Filed under Andrew Symonds, Australia, Australia v India Cricket Row, Comment, Cricket, ICC, India, Indian Cricket League