The Misplaced Garrison!

Greater Kashmir

CRICKET POLITICS

If you are playing cricket against the Australian team, you are doomed to lose; irrespective of the team you are, irrespective of the skills you carry. I do not say that, their past record does.. They somehow carry a charm that makes them difficult to beat, if not impossible.  However, if you are playing them in their own backyard you are doomed to lose the game alright, but in addition it is your supporters who are doomed to lose their hair, sleep and sanity. All this because of the super chauvinistic Australian commentary team that unleashes themselves irrespective of whether the Aussies unleash themselves on the field or not!
Chauvinistic the word, describes people who are obsessed with the superiority of their own kind or race. I doubt if there is a better example to illustrate the word. “The Australian cricket commentators are Chauvinistic”. This is what an English teacher trying to make a sentence out of this word would write on the black board.  Only that she would have missed to include a harsher degree that they command; Super-Chauvinistic.
As I write this piece, Pakistan cricket team has already been trounced 3-0 in the ongoing one day series. For a fan like me, the pain is already too much to bear. What makes it worse is the nature of commentary I get to hear.  I want them to win the next two matches; at least one. Not only because I love their cricket but more so because I want to hear what a Tony Grieg or a Richie Benaud or a Michael Slater will have to say about it. Correction; I am dying to hear what they have to say about it. To be honest, I don`t think they will say much. That is the way they are. When Australia is doing well they have volumes to say. When they aren`t they prefer to cut the matter short and concentrate on something more trivial.
During the course of the third one day international played between Australia and Pakistan on the Australian Day, Salman Butt the Pakistani opener got a shocker of a decision. I don`t consider myself to be much of an expert but even I, with the naked eye, on a damn rough television screen, at full speed, could figure out that the ball had pitched outside the leg stump. The batsman could not have been adjudged leg-before-wicket. He could not have been given out. That is what the rules say. Unfortunately he was. Replays showed that the ball had indeed pitched a good five inches outside the leg stump. It well and truly was a shocker. But how did our super-chauvinistic commentary team choose to describe it? Not in a very convincing manner, I must say. I could unmistakably decipher a conscious effort to downplay the catastrophe. Indeed Catastrophic it was, as the next few overs proved. One after another, the Pakistani batsmen were sent packing to the pavilion, all starting with this shocking dismissal of Salman Butt who for once was playing extremely well.  Pakistan was left reeling. And the commentators while going berserk, applauding the Australian success just as easily chose to ignore the good part that luck had to play in it.  One of the commentators just stopped short of saying that it was a regulation mistake that the umpire had made and the others could identify it only because they had the benefit of technology to view the replays on slow motion. I must say that is totally incorrect. Even without technological wonders one could have made the correct call. I could. I did. I did not have the technology. I did not have the hawk-eye. I did not have the slo-mo.  I was watching on a damn television set.  Yet the words escaped my mouth, “Don`t you raise your finger. You dreaded adjudge. That has pitched outside leg.  He cannot be given out.” Yet he raised the finger. Yet he was given out.
I understand that such things do happen in cricket and come as a part and parcel of the game. The umpire made a mistake. He has a right to make mistakes like every human has. I do not blame him. I do not expect the commentators to blame him either. What I expect them to do is to show a little bit of courtesy to accept that it was a mistake and conferred an undue benefit to the other team, even if it meant the Australian team. Definitely the commentators should have had the heart to call a spade spade.
Rest assured, if any of the Australian batsmen had got a decision like that, the Australian commentary team would have been all over the poor umpire, dissecting each and every aspect of his life right from his birth date to the kind of shoes he wore to the kind of nail cutter he used to clip his nails in the morning! Pity, when it is the opposite team that is at the receiving end, this is how they choose to refer to the decision, “Salman Butt`s leg-before-wicket was a little-dubious!!!” Little dubious? For Allah`s sake, why don`t you say it was miserably outrageous and should not have happened.. Uncharacteristically someone from the commentary team did point that out and called it a shocker. That came as an unseen relief. But pity that does not happen every time.
 When Muhammad Yousuf fumbles a couple of balls, his misfields are termed as ‘regulation’. When Ricky Ponting misses a shockingly easy run out, it is simply laughed out. When Doug Bollinger manages to catch the outside edge of a batsman, his uncanny talent is made the only thing worth talking about. When MUhammad  Asif deftly finds a way through Shane Watson`s defenses to rattle his stumps, his dexterity is not talked about at all, no. On the contrary it is Shane Watson`s attacking attitude that finds unending praises. “Australians` attitude is wonderful. They even try to force good balls for runs.” Ridiculous. That is how I term the comments that they shower.
Sometimes I wonder if the Australian commentators even know that the live coverage of cricket in Australia and their comments are fed to millions of homes across the globe and not only Australia. If they do not, I have a message for them. Be unbiased in your comments. Be neutral in your point of view.  The game is played between eleven visiting opponents and eleven Australians only. They do not need your support, they just need your comments. If Ravi Shastri or Ramiz Raja or Geoffry Boycott can do it, so can you.
(Feedback at : basim.amin@yahoo.com)