Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Carrying on like porkchops

Yesterday, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Akhtar both carried on a bit. Afridi's carrying-on was more of the pesky nuisance variety, chattering away from gully, though he was getting close to being a a dweeb with his running up to the batsman and getting up close and personal. Perhaps he wanted some feedback. Akhtar's was the usual petulance, lots of pouting, cursing, taunting the batsman. Where things started to go over the line was Afridi commencing the chat somewhere in the run-up, and taking it from there. And so did Akhtar. At some point, this crosses the line and starts to become a bit irritating largely because it interferes with my sense of watching a cricket game: I become convinced that I'm watching a temper tantrum of some sort. And the predominant feeling while watching a child throw one, is to shut him up somehow. Not quite the experience you associate with cricket appreciation.

And today, Akhtar spat the dummy. First, he got hit for three spanking fours by Dhoni (the last one a smashed pull after Shoaib went round the wicket). Shoaib then bowled a beamer, refused to apologize, and snatched his hat from Taufel. I'm puzzled; do Pakistani fans like this sort of thing? Both kinds of behavior, I mean. I'm genuinely curious. When they watch this on telly, do they cheer this on, or do they roll their eyes? Indian journalists note this behavior in their dispatches from the ground, but Pakistani journalists don't bother, which leads me to believe that they either approve, or are used to it. Both of which bug me a bit. Australian journalists comment too, on their players behavior, whether critically or to point out overreaction on the part of umpires or opponents. The Pakistani Press Corps? Silence.

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