Wednesday, 9 January 2008

M*nkeying Around

I typed out a pretty long post on the whole Habhajan-Symonds imbroglio and the poor umpiring at the a couple of days ago, but I accidentally deleted the whole thing before I could hit 'Publish Post'. So instead, since everyone including Kracker-boy has gotten in on the act already, I'll write about what I think the Indian team should do going forward.
Firstly, it needs to work on its appealing technique. After all, human umpires will not be going away anytime soon, so we may as well make the most of them. Note how, when the Australians appeal vociferously, they claim they are just playing the game hard and eventually browbeat the umpires into giving them the marginal calls. When the Indians do it, they get cautioned or worse for excessive appealing. Avijit Ghosh wrote an article on it a couple of days back in the TOI, but unfortunately I can't find it online. I think we could ask Warnie or McGrath for a couple of coaching sessions -considering how much they're going to be paid for joining the IPL, it's the least they could do. Scotland once called in David Boon to help their team deal with sledging, so this may not be too far-fetched an idea.
The second thing the team needs to work on is the sledging strategy. Currently it's done pretty amateurishly. The Australians are again the side to benchmark against here. You have Ponting, Gilchrist or even Hayden playing the perfect choirboys when they face the media and being generally on their best behaviour most of the time. The sledging is then left to guys like Symonds and Clarke. This makes it tougher for people to criticize the team overall. England followed a similar strategy with Vaughan facing the media and Prior and gang doing the trash-talking. India on the other hand had Ganguly doing both for a while, and even now the younger members of the team still don't know how to play the media. Surprising, considering how much more coverage they receive. All is not lost, however, since Yuvraj still might make it into the Test team as a middle-order sledging all-rounder, and perhaps Rohit Sharma can perhaps be groomed into a baby-faced potty-mouth a la Michael Clarke or Ian Bell. At the same time, Dhoni can flash that smile at the press conferences, and just to ensure that all bases are covered, Robin Uthappa can reaffirm his faith in (a suitably Judeo-Christian) God.
Finally, in the short term, to deal with the whole racism issue, I would suggest a couple of photo-ops with aboriginal kids. Harbhajan could even adopt a home - it worked for Steve Waugh, so it might help him too. And seriously, they could do with the boost in media attention. Considering that the team is in Canberra at the moment, they could start by dropping in here .

1 comment:

  1. apparently, bhajji said "abi maaki" to symonds who thought he was saying "a big monkey".

    this piece of "fact" stands at the very thin line between fiction and reality. given all that has happened it is hard to discount it though.

    Imagine the "trial", it'd be almost monty python-ish. "Your honour, aila, he did not use the word monkey, it's a hindi word, in india we worship monkeys, aila, that is why all those mumbai-wallahs were screaming monkey monkey, because you know they love symonds, really this is all about friendship."

    "I dunno what he's talking about, he called me a big monkey and that's that. We told him not to say it and he said it. Hindi-schmindi. A line has been crossed."

    "It appears the Indians are labouring under the mis-apprehension that monkey is not a racist abuse."

    "Your honour, really, he did not say monkey. He said, "maa ki", which means "your mothers". It is a sort of short form for mother-f*er. So he was only abusing his mother, that is all. That is allowed isn't it?"

    "Yes, but how do I know he said or didn't say "maa ki'.."

    etc etc

    John Cleese can play Mike Procter, Michael Palin can play Sachin, and Eric Idle makes a good Aussie bloke with his blonde hair and what-not.