Thursday, May 22, 2008

Australian Cricket

Irrespective of how much flak the Australian Cricket team has drawn from the self proposed enforcers of cricketing spirit and passionate supporters of sides finishing a close second, the fact still remains that Australia has been a champion side. This is a fact that no one can deny. After all, records can’t lie.

Unless of course, it is lamented that, complaints of irresponsible on field and off field behaviour are dusted under the carpet, and never really brought into public scrutiny. This argument hardly counts because professional sportsmen are after all human and mistakes are inevitable. The argument of a sportsman being morally irresponsible should never be mixed with any sporting debates, because organised sport is essentially a device to tame man’s wild and violent impulses to initiate and indoctrinate the spectators and the players into the complex web of obligations that live at the heart of the rule of law, taking from the words of Bartlett Giamatti. Thus, one shouldn’t expect a cricketer to be the perfect citizen, the perfect role model. That does not go on to say that cricketers should not try incorporating perfection into their behaviour too.

Once a match starts, the only thing running through a professional cricketer’s mind would be to deliver his best and to help his side win the game. He also has to have a sportsman spirit that acknowledges that the other side also wishes to win. Basically he should play hard but fair - an argument put forth explaining Australia’s some what rude and un-sportsman-like behaviour at times. This does not justify their actions but what one has to understand is that the human memory has a tendency to be short lived.

Take a champion side that has been winning consistently, without losing for a few months or so continuously, so much that winning has become a habit. Losing a habit is difficult and even the most grown up person tends to become childish. Sometimes they tend to do anything to protect the habit. Yes, winning does sometimes make you “high”.

It is because of this tendency that people have a tendency to label a champion as an arrogant brat. This does not justify the champion’s actions but the labelling and criticism is over the board. It would be easy to label the Australian cricketers as arrogant but it would also be unfair saying that they lack a sportsman spirit and can’t handle defeat. The current side has displayed impeccable resilience and a great spirit even in the face of defeat. There have been times when they rise to the top, become arrogant slightly, then lose, initially finding it hard to accept and then be like a bear with a sore head.

But it is in this situation, when the chips are down, when there is an understanding that there are people who dislike you that the Australian side has planned well, focussed hard and come out on top. And the cycle continues. It is not the fact that the win consistently, that makes Australia a champion side, it is the ability they have shown to win in hard situations that have given them the label. One should respect them for this and appreciate the fact that other teams are inspired to play harder at least to revel in the moment of victory over the Australian side. Setting all behavioural debate aside, the hard hitting batsmen, resilient defence, and spitfire bowling have only added to the beauty of the game.

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