10 May 2008

The Pot Calls The Kettle Black! Or, Is That Brown?

Harbhajan Singh has been 'Unmasked', says the great Ricky Ponting. The great Ponting, who knows everything about everything! What about Ponting himself? And, what about his Australian backers, both in and outside of the media?

Let's look at the next-to-Bradman Ponting's record, and let's see if we can unmask him; here's what Wikipedia has on him:(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricky_Ponting#Controversies)

1. Ponting was suspended from the Australian National Team for a fight outside a pub in NSW in early 1999. He was given a suspended £2000 fine and banned from the team for 3 matches.
Just as an aside, guess who the Chief Executive of CA was? You guiessed it! The same Malcolm Speed, who was livid when match referee Mike Proctor let Yuvraj Singh off in the First Test of the 2007-2008 series between Autralia and India.

2. In 1998, Ponting was thrown out of Equinox night club in Kolkata after misbehaving with several women and assaulting the management staff. He was reportedly pulling his zipper up and down, drawing attention to his zipper. As per the oh-so-proper and holier-than-thou Australian Manager Steve Bernard's narrative to the journalists, Ricky couldn't remember doing anything wrong.
Ponting still copped a fine - for doing nothing wrong!

3. On the way to losing the Ashes to England in the 2005 series, Ponting was unhappy with the use of substitutes by the England side. He was fined 75% of his match fee for his rant against the England team.
The reason I mention this here is that after his return to Australia, Ponting had the temerity to claim that England were playing within the rules of the game, but not within the spirit of the game. More on this later.

4. In the spirit of the game, Ponting started to use bats with a graphite covering over the blade of the bat. As per MCC, this was violative of Law 6.1 governing Cricket equipment. Kookaburra Sport, the manufacturers of the bat withdrew the bat from the market and said they would be supplying new bats to all the players using their bats.
Guess what the ICC, led by the cannot-do-anything-wrong-Australian Malcolm Speed did? The ICC approved the bat in May 2006.

5. That Ponting has the divine right to rule on the cricket field is evident from his skirmishes with on-field umpires and also from his propensity to let his pack loose on the umpires. While the Second Test against India, in Sydney in the 2007-2008 series, is a glaring example of his and his team lording it over the umpires, it is not the only one. Playing against New Zealand, Ponting got into a slanging match with umpire Billy Bowden over signalling a no-ball because Ponting believed that there were not enough players within the inner circle. In Bangladesh, Ponting consistently badgered the umpires until he got his way.
Writing in 'The Age', in an aptly titled story called "Big yield on odd regret"(Jan 12, 2008), a surprisingly candid Brendan McArdle writes "Like many of his teammates, he consistently pressures umpires with his aggressive appealing and he often ignores the edict that is supposed to prevent fieldsmen from charging at umpires during their appeals."He further writes, "As a batsman he has always found it difficult to accept line-ball decisions; it was no surprise last week when, despite his earlier reprieve, he showed his displeasure at wrongly being given leg before wicket." McArdle goes on to say that Cricket Australia's boss Sutherland has always stood behind his team, but that is time that he should have a chat with Ponting. And his pack(my words, not McArdle's).

6. In 2006, Ponting was fined his entire match fee for showing dissent in match against West Indies in Kuala Lumpur. Ponting admitted breaching the players' code of conduct, "I made a serious error of judgement. I shouldn't have behaved in the way I did."
Incidentally, that was Ponting's second incidence of dissent within the same year - the incident in Bangladesh being the first.

7. Again in 2006, Ponting and his pack were quick to show their boorishness in pushing Sharad Pawar, the BCCI chief, off the podium. Ponting had to formally apologise for that incident.

8. And of course, who can forget the Second Test in Sydney in the 2007-2008 series against India. Ponting showed that he was not leading a team of cricketers but that he was leading a pack of, well, you decide what. He let loose his pack, not only at the Indian players, but also at the Umpires.
The umpires did his bidding; the picture of Ricky Ponting raising his finger to show that Ganguly was out is still fresh in my mind, and everybody else's. Countering Kumble's criticism that only one team played the game withing the spirit of the game, Ponting had this gem to offer, "absolutely, no doubt about this match being played in the right spirit." He went on to defend the umpires, "All I'll say about the umpires is that they're out there like me trying to do the best job that they can. "Sure, they made a few mistakes, but that's the game of cricket."
Cricket Australia's chief, another cannot-do-anything-wrong-Australian, supported his team wholeheartedly, "We're supportive of the Australian team and the way they play and this tough and uncompromising way is the way Australian teams have always played,"
Australian Cricketers Association Chief Executive, Paul Marsh was quick to jump to the Australians' defence, "They definitely play the game hard but they rarely cross the line …" Rarely? Mr. Marsh, your knowledge of the English Language needs enhancement.
Ian Chappell, another Australian Captain, said that Ponting learnt from his mistakes and therefore, deserved a second, chance. I am sure he meant a 10th, or, did he mean a 15th chance. Ian Chappell went on to say that Test matches need Umpires with Authority!

Long list, eh? So what does Ponting do? He says Harbhajan has been 'unmasked'. And a fawning media, not just the Australian Media mind you, but a subservient Indian media as well, for who the white man can do no wrong, fails to see anything wrong with Ponting. They go to town asking Ponting his opinion of everything under the Sun, giving Ponting a chance to pontificate.

Hey wake up, Ricky! And, shut up! Mend your own ways first and then take care of your own batting. And if you have the guts, speak out in India, not when you are in the safe environs of your native Autralia. But then, you had to keep quiet while you were in India, right? Not only because you don't have the guts to snarl outside your own backyard , but also because even the pitiful $400,000 that you got as your IPL bid might have been in jeopardy!

I have to say this to the Indian Media - not just to the ignorant girls who comment on Star TV, a channel owned by an Australian incidentally, but also to the other guys who know their cricket - respect yourself and your own, otherwise nobody will respect you.

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