When it comes to stats and trivia about cricket, I've been hooked since I was a teenager. It's easy to get seduced by the numbers and the mathematical comparisons, but I figure it's ok so long as the sport itself remains more important. I draw a line, however, when statistical "milestones" become playthings of the media industry, a raison d'etre of the sports desk at the 24/7 news outlet, the honeytrap for mindless SMS fodder.
You are here
And so it was on Friday that for about two hours we had the exhilaration of simultaneously following: Day Three, India v Sri Lanka at Mumbai; Day Two, New Zealand v Pakistan at Wellington; Day One, Australia v West Indies at Adelaide. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Just exhausting. Three games of wildly varying textures, each one with that joyous "Let's See You Do That In The IPL" feel about them.
Violence in suburban Australia towards Asian immigrants and students, notably from India, is disturbing. Sadly, it's not a new issue, not confined to Sydney and Melbourne, and by no means targeted at Indians. It's a bigger problem, and one that is being misreported in the Indian media and underreported by their Australian counterparts.
The world's second most populous nation, India came into the 2008 Olympics with a total of eight gold medals ever. All eight of them in men's hockey. The last of them in 1980. India had never, ever, produced an individual gold medallist.
Stand up, Abhinav Bindra. On Monday he won the 10 metre air rifle shooting event to become India's first individual gold medallist.
As I write, Delhi are 48 for 1 after six overs against the Deccan
Chronicles Chargers, and presumably cruising to victory in Game Seven of the Indian Premier League. There's a lot to observe and a lot to talk about. Lots to blog about over the coming weeks if I have the time and maintain the energy.
A thirty-year phase of cricketing history came to an end at the Gabba tonight. The triangular one-day international series had long past its use-by date, and was finally being put out of its misery. But instead of ending with a whimper, it went out with an unexpected bang. India completed a 2-0 clean-sweep of the best-of-three finals series against Australia to win the 2008 Commonwealth Bank Series.
OK class, repeat after me:
"Monkey is not a racist word in Australia."
It's not, in general. There is, however, a long history of "monkey" being used as a term of racial derision in Britain and continental Europe against people of African or Caribbean heritage, most prominently on the football field. Andrew Symonds, born in Birmingham of Jamaican parents, and an immigrant to Australia as a child, comes into this category.
"This is the second most important day in world cricket, according to me. The first was in 1994 when the monopoly of Doordarshan came to an end when we won the court case."
- Inderjit Singh Bindra, member of the IPL Governing Committee, discussing the IPL player auction, OutlookIndia.com, 20.2.08
Call me a cynic, but Bindra is not too far off the mark with this self-serving observation.
Harbhajan Singh's successful appeal against his Level 3 transgression, and its replacement with a Level 2 charge, seems on the surface of things to be the right decision, though I think the penalty imposed (50 per cent of his "match fee" - whatever that is) is light. The use of obscene language in an abusive context, regardless of the language in which it is spoken, is abhorrent.
We will know later today more about Justice Hansen's reasons for the findings when he releases his full written statement. Meanwhile, the reports that are coming out concerning back-room deals before the appeal hearing are very disturbing.