Saturday, August 9, 2008

Why Australians have a right to be mad

CRICKET today being not a sport but a cashflow activity, it is fair and proper that India should be on top of the heap. Indians collect more money for cricket than Americans collect for baseball. Between Lalit Modi and Sharad Pawar, don’t be surprised if India’s cricket money one day matches Saudi Arabia’s oil money.

That’s what makes the Australians mad. After all, once upon a time they were not only on top of the heap; they helped make cricket a civilised game. They contributed to the world the greatest icon of cricket, Don Bradman. The record books were full of decent feats by decent Australians.

Then came this thing called Ponting, and a team of obnoxious weeds. They were smart enough to know that their cricket was pretty low-grade. So they turned bullies, hoping to snatch victory by browbeating their opponents.

They played so dirty that if they had won this time, cricket would have lost. Joyous as India’s victory is, the greater satisfaction is Australia’s defeat.

Let’s be fair, the attempt to win by other means was not the fault of the weeds. It was the fault of the wellestablished biological phenomenon known as atavism. Dictionaries are clearcut about the word’s meaning: ‘Reappearance in a plant or animal of characteristics of some remote ancestor that have been absent in intervening generations.’

As everyone knows, in the early days of colonialism England had sent to Australia shiploads of British convicts considered beyond redemption. Four centuries and several intervening generations later, what’s unusual if some characteristics of ancient ancestors reappear atavistically on the cricket fields of Australia?

What, again, is unusual if these characteristics reach their boiling point at the sight of Indians? A new generation of Indians has come up who give as good as they receive. To gentlemen they are gentlemen, to bullies they are bullies.

So Australia’s cricket fraternity developed new weapons to make India nervous and defeatist. The first weapon they employed was an infiltration specialist called Greg Chappell. He almost succeeded in sabotaging India from within by pitting player against player. But before he could complete his programme of destruction, he was invited to go laughing all the way to his bank.

Then they unleashed the bully brigade. They singled out for psychological attacks those Indians they thought were vulnerable. But the Indians refused to be cowed down. Fired by the bravado of youth they hit back, proving themselves past masters at the mind games the Australians invented.

It’s India’s cricket politicians who seemed ready to cow down. When the Australians used foul language, politician Rajiv Shukla talked like Jesus Christ. When an Australian player actually grabbed an Indian batsman by the waist and forced him to the ground, when they deployed a separate camera to keep a targeted Indian under surveillance, our politicians kept silent.

Let the politicians hold up a boycott warning against misbehaving Australians - and the bullies will come cringing, for they want the IPL millions. For that matter, why should the monarchs of the international cricket kingdom be Australians? Lalit Modi knows more tricks than any of them. Let the cash flow decide.