Peter Roebuck’s call for Ricky Ponting to be sacked as captain of the Australian cricket team should be treated with contempt. He provides no sound reasons for this call. The Australians played tough, uncompromising cricket and won. The inferior Indian team has lost the second test partly due to some poor umpiring decisions but partly because they lack requisite skills.
The Indians have threatened to abandon the current test series unless (i) umpire Bucknor is dismissed from further service in the series and (ii) a proven charge of racial abuse (specifically the label ‘monkey’ directed at Andrew Symonds by Harbhajan Singh*) is withdrawn on appeal. The latter charge was proven not by the Australians but by the International Cricket Council which has also already rejected the attempt to remove umpire Steve Bucknor. Moreover, the umpires concerned are not Australian nor is the ICC.
The reaction of the Indians to the loss of this test match is the cry of a nation of long-term losers. Obviously a competing team cannot be involved in the selection of cricket umpires. Moreover, calling the dark-skinned Symonds a ‘monkey’ is racially offensive and against the current laws of cricket. Making an appeal against this decision and then threatening to abandon the series unless the appeal goes their way is adolescent behaviour by these losers. The bleating of the visiting Indian side amounts to condemning the Australians for their cricketing skill and success.
I enjoyed the response to this fiasco by Tim Blair. He documents the stupidity of Roebuck’s complaint and the hypocrisy of the Indian team.
Update: Umpire Steve Bucknor has been replaced to the evident satisfaction of India's cricket board (BCCI). Irrespective of his judgement this is a poor decision because it means the losing side in a Test match has got rid of the umpire. Moreover, the BCCI is still threatening to end the series unless the 'racist slur' against Harbhajan Singh is reversed by appeal. He might have won the appeal anyway but applying this pressure leaves India in a no-win situation and damages the future of cricket. It might be assumed that any reversal was a response to the pressure applied by BCCI rather than the truth - it undermines the appeal process. The Indian team and the BCCI are still acting like a miserable bunch of losers.
*In fact I would be prepared to let the ‘monkey’ charge go as an ill-advised, spur of the moment racist remark but Indian captain’s claim that Australia is ‘a team that cheats and lies quite blatantly’ suggests that issues of deficient emotional maturity run deep in the Indian squad.