Teh Spirit of Teh Game
Posted by Possum Comitatus on January 9, 2008
The most ironic thing about this latest outburst of jingoistic politics-by-other-means from India is that the only group to come out of this sordid affair that even remotely appear to be living in reality , are the Australian Test cricketers themselves – demonstrating the very thing that they are so often accused of being removed from!
All this horseshit about arrogance on the field, sledging, mental disintegration, bad sportsmanship and how such behaviour is ‘just not cricket’ – honestly people, pull your heads out of your arse. If I hear one more knob bleat on about Teh Spirit Of Teh Game as if it were actually something other than a convenient myth, I think I’m going to puke.
Professional cricket is a professional sport supported by big money, it’s highly competitive, psychologically brutal and the stakes are high and the pressure relentless – professional entertainment is a tough business. The rules of the game that exist will always be pushed to their absolute limits, simply because that’s what happens in professional sport when so often it’s a collection of the small little advantages that can make the difference between a winning and losing team in a multi billion dollar, high pressure industry.
If you long for the days of amateur cricket and its gentlemanly overtones (which is a load of rose coloured poppycock to begin with, as any player involved in any level of representative cricket over the last 30 years can attest) – then go down to your local sporting field on the weekend and lap it up. That’s where you’ll find it – although these days, probably minus the inherent racism, the yobbish misogyny and blatant class warfare that was rampant in the times of yore, yet is now conveniently well ensconced in the collective amnesia of cricketing tragics everywhere.
If you expect the brutal, highly competitive, commercially driven world of professional cricket to be populated with cardboard cut outs from Australia’s greatest cricketing hagiographies – we’ll, you’re an idiot. You’re an idiot for believing the marketing tosh that it was ever that way in the first place, and you’re an idiot for believing that it can ever be that way now.
Not as big an idiot as that attention seeking famewhore Peter Roebuck – but close.
So let’s look at what this hoo-har is all about.
The Indians got a few rough umpiring calls in the match – OMG!
Like that’s not a regular facet of the game.
But suddenly it’s now become a grand conspiracy against them, effigies are burned, the Indian national media is carrying on like a bunch of methed out meatheads and the Indian team are poor widdle victims that are only trying to play cricket, but these bad Australians and their hyper competitive ways just hurt their widdle feelings.
Give me a break – a measure of a good team is how its players respond to bad umpiring calls by adapting their on field performance to make up for it. We all witnessed how good India was in that regard – it’s why they lost the Test. Their response was a batting collapse or a session of poor bowling. There were a few bad decisions, there weren’t 20.
If they had played better, they might have prevented a loss.
The irony of India, the country bringing more financial pressure to bear on international cricket than any other, whinging about the hyper competitive consequences of that financial pressure is really quite something.
The other great part of the hoo-har is the charge of racism. The umpires made their decision – Harbhajan Singh was found guilty and for any other team in the world, that would have been life, they would have sucked it up and the world would have moved on.
But not India.
Their attempt to dominate the game at the financial and political level has been successful, but their ability to dominate the game on the field has been a dismal failure. The fallout from the latest Test is where these two issues collide, with their political influence over the game being engaged to make excuses for the lack of ability on the field. It wasn’t that they were beaten, you see, it was that they were robbed! India getting Bucknor removed from the next Test match is apparently some kind of vindicative proof.
See, it was all about the poor umpiring, not India’s poor cricket playing.
Then we have the racism. This must grate on India – how dare those old white colonial bastions of cricketing racism accuse India of racist behaviour!
So rather than actually have to deal with any nasty racial underbelly that may exist within Indian cricket (let alone the caste ridden wider Indian society), rather than accept the umpires decision, the Indian cricket board simply flexes their political muscle again, threatens to take their bat and ball and go home if the judged reality isn’t re-written in a way that would make their cricketers look better.
This pathetic little hissyfit has destroyed any semblance of independence in the International Cricket Boards adjudication of the game. India have used political and financial intimidation to bastardise the processes of the ICC to make up for that which they could not achieve on the field….. and they have the audacity to whinge about others not playing in the spirit of the game.
I wish they would take their bat and their ball and go home. At the very least it might spare us from having to listen to any more excuses for their poor on field performance.