Monday, March 05, 2007

Theres gotta be something else

Mukul Kesavan begins his series of pre-tournament takes on the teams in the World Cup, and appropriately, starts with Australia. But this piece disappoints me. There seems to be an excessive concentration in this post on the rough aspects of Australia's cricket, on the sledging, the hard-but-fair mythology, and so on. The gangster comparisons are also slightly out-of-whack. For what its worth, I find it surprising that an Indian journalist and cricket fan finds the Australians rougher out on the field than say, the South Africans or say, the Pakistanis (you know, the ones who let loose with a volley of "bahenc***s" and "madarc***s" at Indian cricketers?). If that was the dimension Kesavan was going to concentrate on, I don't think the Australians are champs. They've got some stiff competition. Secondly, a post about the Australians that doesn't pay enough attention to their superb attacking style doesn't do them justice. The Australians are a very attractive team to watch - their batting is not just workmanlike and utilitarian in the way that Kesavan suggests. Watching Ponting in full flow is quite an experience, as is doing the same for Mark Waugh and Damien Martyn. Their slip catching, grounded in a very old tradition of great slip catchers is a treat as well. The Australians are very far from the grim, efficient outfit Kesavan makes them out to be (and yes, thats despite the loss of Warne and Lee).

Overall, I find it disappointing that Kesavan's take is so one-dimensional. Comments on the blog have already noted how the piece seems incomplete. If nothing else, he should have noted that with respect to the one-day game, the most unconventional, and yet attacking tactics in one-day outcricket were those used by the Australians in the 2001 triangular competition in England, when Steve Waugh's team used test match fields in the opening 15 overs.

4 Comments:

Blogger Homer said...

Samir,

You have played league criket in Australia.

What was the experience like? What is the crcket culture in Australia like?

12:11 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Homer, I played two seasons in C-division Northern Sydney Suburbs cricket - and will try and post some notes from that. John Sutton still plays regularly - in the Sydney Shires competition - and would be even better equipped to comment.

Still, some facts about the Aussie cricketing culture can be gleaned even from this limited exposure.

5:52 AM  
Blogger omar said...

'For what its worth, I find it surprising that an Indian journalist and cricket fan finds the Australians rougher out on the field than say, the South Africans or say, the Pakistanis (you know, the ones who let loose with a volley of "bahenc***s" and "madarc***s" at Indian cricketers?)."

To be honest, I don't find it to be such a discrepency that an Indian journalist and fan can comment on the Aussies. I think its perfectly reasonable for him to assume that.

Agreed, Pakistanis and Indians do curse at each other and chatter and stuff, but just how much of it do you really hear on the stump microphone?

I have heard Shoaib Akhtar once, Shahid Afridi a couple of times, Faisal Iqbal perhaps. On the Indian side, I've heard Ganguly and Yuvraj and no one else.

However when I watch any Aussie game, its not cussing thats apparent. Its friggin all out chatter, talking, annowing, fingering, making fun of them and EVERYONE does it.

I have played a bit of cricket back in Pakistan, and the field is bloody quiet. I mean there are tiffs now and then, but no one cusses anyone out.

Kesavan's article was incomplete in one sense of the word, but it was effective in describing the infamous Aussie mental disintegration...because they rock at it!

9:48 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Omar,

Hi; thanks for the comment. I didn't mean to suggest that an Indian journalist was commenting on Australian sledging; I just found it surprising that it was all he focused on when it came to the Australian team. They've given lots of fans pleasure with the style of the cricket they play, and that might have been nice to point out as well. Test cricket needs attacking teams at the top.

As for amounts of chatter/talk heard on microphones, it seems to me other teams are quite loud as well (the international ones at least) - or you can lipread!. I can't vouch for local cricketing scenes other than the Indian and Australian ones. (And I still have to write on the latter!).

There is one kind of chatter in which I think Aussies excel, and this is the general gee-ing up the bowler kind of chat, which Indians and Pakistanis only show when they are on top, and pressing for a wicket. The Australians just sustain it for much longer.

6:47 AM  

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