Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The verdict has arrived...

But where does it leave us?

The best part about blogging is what your fellow bloggers are saying. If you are ever looking for an alternate view or for something you hadnt thought about, you are sure to find an answer in the blogging world. And that is just what happened to me about 5 minutes back.

Who better than our esteemed friend, Mr Soulberry to come up with a very believable explanation of the whole Harbhajan - Symmonds saga. I just read his blog entry where, being from Punjab he explains that one of the choicest combinations of Punjabi vernacular can easily sound like the word monkey. If this is actually what happened then it makes the whole episode a lot funnier than it is and quite honestly a bit absurd. As I mentioned in the comments for the same blog entry above, what Harbhajan may have said is how a Bostonian would say monkey. Just as park = paaahk in Boston, monkey = maaahki; also in Boston... well sort off. But then one mans monkey could be another ones mother. I wouldnt use either of these words with Zidane and Symmonds in the same room. Harbhajan was being provocative if he was using his best Boston-speak, but definitely not racist.

This whole episode leaves more questions unanswered at the end. Couldnt the captains just have sorted this out themselves at the end of the days play in Sydney? Did Ponting and the Aussies consciously go around Kumble? Was there any malicious intent involved? Kumble is on record saying that he tried to talk to Ponting but the matter had already been reported. I think its common sense to at least talk to the opposing team's captain before making an allegation as serious as racism

The other worrying and questionable aspects are the ICCs role and India's pre-emptive muscle flexing. Firstly, what more could the ICC have done wrong here? Did it take them a whole 2 weeks to figure out that the whole thing was just a mis-understanding at best? Even if you look at the worst case scenario, what exactly is the case of the match referee? Is he the judge, jury and advocate? I dont think ex-players are well equipped to be judges, as Proctor has so ably demonstrated. I will give him the benefit of the doubt in that he was simply ill equipped to deal with an incident like this and that he had no malicious intent. But the ICC needs to do some serious soul searching here - it is ok to admit defeat and ask for input.

Finally, what was up with the Indian team "showing solidarity" with Harbhajan and being on standby with a chartered jet in Adelaide instead of being in Melbourne, preparing for the next game? This is very disturbing... sure the powerful dictate and set the rules, but this is a bit too much. This is like gali cricket where you could just leave if you didnt like the ball that got you out.

I think the next evolution will be a helicopter and/or jet on standby at the ground itself - one wrong decision and you can just fly back home. Wouldn't that be awesome! Most cricket grounds are pretty big so a plane can land on the ground itself. Instead of signaling for a powerplay, the captain can just call for the plane - traveling light redefined indeed! Pakistan definitely doesn't have the economic muscle India does, so waiting for the next PIA flight can be a bit embarrassing... beware, this powerplay isnt for everyone!

Make your pitch on this post...

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4 Pitched:

  1. Q said...

    Hahahah!!! Ill give my comments once im done laughing..hilarious post Obaid!!

  2. David Barry said...

    I don't really want to get involved in discussions over the politics etc. of the situation, but there is part of Hansen's report (see here) that should teach the ICC a lesson or two.

    He talks (from Paragraph 30 onwards for a bit) about the standard of proof required. The Code of Conduct doesn't mention this anywhere, so instead he turned to the ICC's anti-doping policy, which says that the standard of proof required is in between the balance of probabilities and beyond reasonable doubt. But where in between these two it doesn't say.

    Hansen is of the opinion that consistency in such matters is good, and so he applied this to the Harbhajan case. But where in between the two extremes do you draw the line? Hansen says that the more serious the offence, the stronger the standard of proof required. He judged that a Level 3 offence was serious, and so, since he wasn't convinced that Harbhajan had called Symonds a monkey, Harbhajan was let off.

    Now, there are things I might quibble with there (eg, doping gets a two-year ban, racism gets two to four Tests - doesn't that suggest that the level of proof needed for racism is less than that for doping?), but if the ICC can stick to it, it would be a good system and at least we would all know what the rules are.

    Given that cricket gets legalistic quite often, it would be very very useful if the ICC guideline documents spelled out clearly what levels of proof are required.

    Poor Mike Procter - not a lawyer to begin with, perhaps not entirely clear on what reasonable doubt is, and in any event he couldn't possibly know what standard of proof he required, because the ICC has never told him or anyone else!

  3. Straight Point said...

    i have just read harshas lated article and agree with him completely...

    i mean i just don't understand why such hue and cry is made over this issue by oz it frustration of not getting the desired result when everything was so obvious and apparent...???

    having said that i also wish that god someday will stuff some senses in bcci...they could have just waited...sitting pretty...

  4. obaid said...

    hey folks, welcome! Q, have you stopped laughing yet :) This is a pretty serious issue you know.

    David, that transcript of the verdict is priceless... I love how the F word is thrown around here and there... and the TMK word is also explained

    Regarding your comments, the ICC totally messed up by not having Harbhajan's record available to Hanson. And yes, what can poor Proctor do? He is not a judge... the whole game is moving on but the cricket administrators and rule enforcers are definitely living in the 50s

    SP, I have also just read Harsha's article and I also agree with the part at the end... now I will have to write a whole blog entry about it... he has hit a raw nerve :)

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