Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Home and Away

Mukul Kesavan always manages to get the point, and then puts it oh-so-well. Check out this piece from Cricinfo Magazine, where he tears apart the myths surrounding the sub-continental teams' home records. Ted Dexter's cries of 'it was the smog' still have a jarring echo to this day, ignoring of course the fact that his team were in fact a bunch of pussies who couldn't beat a club team. And then of course, there was the 'I gotta have baked beans and spaghetti' Shane Warne, although to his credit he never used such irritants as excuses (which is why he's the champion cricketer he is). In recent times men like Nasser Hussein and Steve Waugh, especially the latter, have done much to change the attitudes for the better, but old habits die hard. The English side displayed remarkable insensitivity and ignorance when complaining about being locked up in hotels or lack of 'nightlife' in reference to the upcoming Indian tour or their recent Pakistan tour. I'm all for objective assessments of team records, and the away records of India and Sri Lanka need much betterment (and that is an understatement), about that there is little doubt. But every time some English or Australian journalist talks about a Indian or Sri Lankan win as the outcome of a dustbowl, it's hard to digest. Thankfully, technology is changing the game, as it is elsewhere. There is no more talk of 'biased' umpiring, only bad umpiring. The sub-continent is no longer a mythical place where people get mysterious diseases. And that means the Kumbles will get their due as much as the Warnes or McGraths. A point to ponder, though: why isn't a Pakistan win viewed similarly? Let's not forget the umpiring bogey that they had to contend with, for a long time, though. Something which prompted Imran Khan to argue for neutral umpires. - NK

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