International cricket is in turmoil with the Indian cricket board suspending its team's tour of Australia and media calls for Australian captain Ricky Ponting to step down.Harbhajan Singh was reported for calling Andrew Symons a 'monkey', the same taunt that the crowds used against Symons during Australia's last tour of India. Neutral umpires made the report, the incident was referred to the match referee and Singh was found guilty. Australian authorities have absolutely nothing to do with the decision.
Last night the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) flexed its muscles by suspending the tour pending the outcome of spinner Harbhajan Singh's appeal against his three-match ban for racially abusing Andrew Symonds.
People may not be aware that Indian cricket board, the BCCI, effectively runs world cricket and is using this non-incident in order to leverage more power from the International Cricket Council. For the BCCI to suspend the team's tour shows the depths that India's cricketing authorities are now plumbing in order to flex their muscles.
Why do we have neutral umpires in the first place? Because teams touring India and Pakistan in the pre-neutral umpire days couldn't get a fair go. There wasn't a problem with umpiring in Australia or England or the West Indies at the time. The number of crazy LBW decisions that finally led to the introduction of neutral umpires was a stain on sub-continental cricket's reputation.
Pakistani authorities complain about incompetent umpiring because they had a few decisions go against them but don't look at the other side of the ledger to see if there was anything that went for them. Ponting's dismissal was clearly not out. Did Ponting carry on like a pork chop? No. He accepted the decision and off he went.
Peter Roebuck's ridiculous assertion that Ricky Ponting should be replaced as captain indicates to me that this normally (or formerly?) very good cricket journalist has let a few sheep out of the top paddock. Any fair assessment of the various incidents that took place in the series so far could come back with any judgement other than Australia plays 'hard but fair' and Ponting captains the same way.
Does anyone remember the way India's captain at the time, Sourav Ganguly, behaved during Australia's last tour there? Contemptuous. Arrogant. Unsporting. Unseemly. Ungentlemanly. He did more to damage India's cricketing reputation than any other single player for many a year. Did the ACB carry on about Ganguly? No. It's part of the game.
Get over it. Get on with it.