Not so ridiculous quote-du-jour

"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,, 20.2.08

Call me a cynic, but Bindra is not too far off the mark with this self-serving observation.


Welcome to Collusion Central

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.

Is Team India attempting to pervert the course of justice?

The hearing of Harbhajan Singh's appeal against his ICC Code of Conduct breach has begun in camera in Adelaide today. Appeals Commissioner, Justice John Hansen, briefed the media yesterday on the procedures to be undertaken.

With due legal process taking its course under the watchful eye of a New Zealand High Court judge, why then:

  1. Is the BCCI demanding that Harbhajan Singh be found not guilty?
  2. Has the Indian team refused to travel from Adelaide to Melbourne today as scheduled until the outcome of Harbhajan's appeal is handed down tomorrow?
  3. Have Indian team sources claimed that the squad will return home if Harbhajan's "racism" charge is not dropped?

Are they attempting to influence the outcome of the appeal through public threats? Are they going to refuse to accept any decision they don't like? Having had the appeal hearing delayed until the conclusion of the Test series, are they trying to do "whatever it takes" to keep Harbhajan Singh available for selection for the Indian eleven?

"Attempting to pervert the course of justice" - does this rather ugly cap fit the BCCI head?

Faqih, you got him third ball!

It was during the one-day tri-series of 1981-82. Australia versus Pakistan, from memory I think it was the Adelaide Oval game. Javed Miandad, a few weeks after his legendary contretemps with Dennis Lillee, was in hot water for apparently being overhead shouting the F-word to Greg Chappell as the Australian captain was leaving the field after being dismissed.

In the days well before codes of conduct and match referees, Javed explained that he was actually greeting the successful wicket-taker, off-spinning all-rounder Ijaz Faqih.

Javed's words to Ijaz in Urdu translate into English as, "Faqih, you got him third ball!"

Monkeys, bastards and Hoggs

Brad Hogg has been charged with "making an offensive remark" to Anil Kumble and MS Dhoni during India's second innings of the Sydney Test on Sunday. The ICC announced the charge, laid by Indian manager Chetan Chauhan, on Tuesday. Match referee Mike Procter will hear the charge next Monday. Hogg has been charged with a Level 3 offence under paragraph 3.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct - the same category of offence for which Harbhajan Singh has been found guilty, and is currently appealing.

Paragtaph 3.3 reads as follows:

"3.3 Using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, gender, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin."

You know you're having a bad tour when...

...the team bus sideswipes a parked car as it was leaving the hotel. It happened to the Indian team as they left Sydney for Canberra, 48 hours behind schedule, this morning.

Macquarie National News has video. You don't actually see the prang, just the sound of a bang and the crowd going "ooh" as the bus pulled out of the kerb outside the Radisson Hotel, Sydney.

Harbhajan and due process

There's so many strands to follow at the moment. Let's start with the central issue.

Harbhajan Singh has been found guilty by ICC match referee Mike Procter of a Level 3 breach of the Code of Conduct that relates to comments vilifying players on the basis of, among other options, race, ethnicity or colour. The full ICC press release concerning the hearing can be read here.

Harbhajan is alleged to have used the word "monkey" to Andrew Symonds - though I notice that there seems to be no finding explicitly stating that he actually called Symonds a "monkey".

There appear to have been five witnesses giving evidence at Sunday night's hearing in addition to the two protagonists. Sachin Tendulkar, who was Bhajju's batting partner at the time, and four Australian fielders: Ponting, Hayden, Gilchrist and Michael Clarke. Neither umpire witnessed the alleged remark.

Conflict resolution? What's that?

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.

The Sydney Test (possibly part 1 of several)

A bit of preamble before I write my thoughts about the off-field events of the past 24 hours.

I have seen very little of the Sydney Test, won by Australia late yesterday afternoon. I was on holidays with my daughter for most of the week and listened to the second half of Sunday's play on the radio at home. (If I really wanted to, I could probably have made the dash across to the ground when they threw the gates open for free at 4.30pm.)