Absurdity follows absurdity in the latest contretemps that positions world cricket somewhere on the spectrum between WWE wrestling and the personal life of Britney Spears. Frankly, it has elements of both. There's the hyped-up petulance and faux conflict of the prima donnas dressed up as professional sportsmen. And there's the tragedy of a fragile soul whose state of mind needs loving care whilst the rest of us look on and treat it as a circus.
The events since the conclusion of the Sydney Test on Sunday afternoon defy rational belief, at least from my perspective. On one side of the ledger, an Indian camp reacting to some understandable grievances in the most immature and petulant fashion. On the other side, an self-righteous Australian camp taking recalcitrance to new heights.
And there's two more key players looking on. In the member's stand, there's an ICC looking increasing ineffective and self-serving, indeed looking like a Total Failure. And on the hill, there's the media - Australian and Indian, one and the same. Partisan, parochial, insensitive, hysterical, chasing readers and ratings and loving it. You can almost hear them telling Ponting, Kumble, Sutherland, Chauhan et al: "You supply the sound bites and we'll supply the war".
(There are, of course, one or two notable individuals who are attempting to be in the members stand and on the hill at the same time. And more about the roles of Mr Gavaskar and Mr Taylor at a later time.)
The Indian team should proceed with their tour without hesitation. They are quite within their rights to appeal the guilty verdict against Harbhajan Singh, and should now let due process take its course and mount a robust legal challenge. They should also follow due process in lodging their grievances, for the most part justifiable in my opinion, about the umpires, and not resort to "trial by media".
The Australian captain, players and administration should show a bit of humility and grace, point their faces at the mirror and ask "hey, how could we have stopped this mess happening"?
The same question should be asked by the ICC, BCCI and Cricket Australia.
As for the media, they should all take a cold shower and go cover the tennis.
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