AMAZING. A sport in which left-arm unorthodox deliveries are still blithely called 'Chinamen,' a sport with such unfocused, disparate locuses of power and privilege [the brown people have the money, the white people have the aspirational value], and not only the debate on racism, but also the mechanisms of dealing with that racism, are all the same, same, same.
I wish I could imagine how this whole thing would have turned out if Harbhajan, on being bullied about sexual preferences, or aspersions on the virtue of his female family members, had held back his attempt at ironic racism, and just gone ahead and headbutted Symonds. No excuses about evidence, no wriggle room, no justifications. He’d have really earned his three-match ban for that. I would have been shocked and disapproving, and Gandhian India would lie exposed in its hypocrisy and unable to excuse itself. And everyone, everyone who has gathered these last few days across the world to use this incident to make point and counterpoint about sportsman spirit and bad captaincy, would have had a moment of absolutely cathartic satisfaction. Because on his good days, Ricky Ponting makes Marco Materazzi look like the angel he likes to proclaim he is.
On to links:
Peter Roebuck's stirring call for Ricky Ponting to be removed from captaincy, the day after the test, in a morning column for the Sydney Morning Herald that will no doubt occupy central position in the body of journalism that has collected around the issue.
Greg Baum took a more measured view in the same edition, asking both sides to just grow the hell up and move on.
Australia now cares as much about how they win as winning itself. Well, after three consecutive World Cups, it's about time.
The Harbhajan ban: a cross cultural view. [Someone on Google Groups dissects it with a deft sociological scalpel. NB: I haven't read the whole thing yet.]
Harbhajan is the victim here. It's nice how all these Aussies [and Poms] are standing up for the kid, but let's not forget that he is an annoying man who, while certainly innocent to my mind until more evidence of his racist remarks is provided, is more than capable of being quite an unpleasant fuck.
Just ban sledging altogether says Tim de Lisle in Cricinfo. Sledging always walks a fine line, Simon Barnes in The Times reminds us. Point taken. Banning something to make life simpler, though, is a little silly.
Dileep Premachandran on the uniformity of the Indian reaction. Nice. Some righteous self-hating anger. I feel it too. We are the equivalent of the average Daily-Mailer England fans when it comes to cricket in this country. Dileep also wrote an earlier blog on the Aussies' behaviour losing them friends.
[to be added to...]