Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Loner or packrider?

Well, here I go again, responding to a comment on a post with a post. I won't make a habit of it. Felix responded to my post about Gideon Haigh below by suggesting that Gideon was to be praised instead for speaking truth to power. First off, Felix, welcome here. I hope you stick around, and thanks for the article link.

Secondly, I'd urge you to take a look at the paragraph that I've quoted. My problem is that in there, Gideon simply echoes what the Australian team says about sledging. This is an area which has plenty of contention associated with it. Yet, Gideon suddenly loses his critical faculties and adopts the Australian line uncritically. Ironically, one could easily make the case it is the selective redefining of what counts as "aggression" on the field that has bothered the Indian team the most when it comes to Australia. There is no mention of this controversy. Instead Gideon has decided the Indian team (not the BCCI) are to blame in this regard as well. It is this loss of his ability to weigh up both sides of the debate that bothers me. He quotes the Australian captain like he is writing a press release, and for a man who has never shown the inclination to support "mental disintegration" on the field before, has suddenly decided that its OK, and in fact, the Indians are just whining about it. That is my problem with it.

Gideon's critique of the BCCI, far from making him a maverick or a loner, simply dumps him into another pack. Which prominent non-Indian journalist writing on cricket actually supports the BCCI? Heck, which Indian journalist does? I'd be very interested to get a name or two. Bagging the BCCI is like shooting fish in a barrel. I do it all the time on this blog. You should look through my archives to see what I think of them (especially when it comes to the ICL). Same for the ICC.

Lastly, that paragraph is utterly gratuitous. It doesn't fit into the rest of the article. Its almost as if Gideon couldn't let a chance go by to have another dig at something Indian. There is a tone of spite in his recent pieces which is bothersome. As I said, he is a historian par excellence when it comes to cricket. If I go off to buy a book on cricket history, I'll still be looking out for him. But as an observer of the modern scene, his anger at the BCCI and the Indian team by extension, is causing him to acquire a jaundiced vision.


Blogger Soulberry said...

I am intrigued by the McCainity of this intrepid BCCI-fighter, who has been created out of the rare Alaskan air, who can soldier on remorselessly and courageously, come desert sand or neighbour's ice, to resist the BeaStyCI. The toonami folks appear to be working overtime and foisting this figment upon the world at large.

There is no truth in either the BeaStyCI or the David who fights it intrepidly..myths all.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Suraj said...

I'm glad you brought this up Samir. There does appear to be an anti-India pattern emerging in Gideon's articles of late. He has been taking potshots at India and/or the BCCI a bit too easily, a bit too often and as you pointed out, gratuitously.

I was too digusted to comment on the last piece of his that I read, where he effectively states that Pakistan + money = India. He equates them to the extent that would make one assume that even in India, alcohol is not available.
Writers of much lesser stature know not to indulge in such ridiculous generalizations.

I remember another recent article of his (called 'the Indianization of cricket'), where he decided to cite that most reliable of sources, Wikipedia, to have a go at Sharad Pawar. You could even forgive him if he had picked up on something that was untrue but convincingly written. No, he picked something like "Sharad Pawar is the most dangerous politician in India" which even had the signature all caps style of an e-vandal with a grudge. Yes, it could have been tongue-in-cheek but it was a low blow: more mocking that conspiratory.

Methinks he does not approve of the shifting of power. I don't know what the man looks like, but in my mind I've got the image of Gollum, shaking his fist with impotent rage while watching the hobbits walk away with the Ring: "Curse them! We hates them! Yessss we does."

10:17 AM  
Blogger Felix said...

Thank you for clarifying your stance, but I am still not sure that I agree. For one thing, it is patently wrong to assert that Haigh blindly espouses the Australian line on sledging, which you seem to be confusing with merely stating what its rationale. His contribution to the recent IQ2 debate made clear his odium for "mental disintegration" and the Aussies who purvey it.

If he is not as alone as I suggest in his censure of the BCCI's hegemonic evils, why the fury that it always seems to provoke? Surely, were the Indian bloc in wholehearted agreement with him, the opinions expressed by bloggers and Cricinfo commentators would be a touch more receptive. It has a lot to do, I think, with the insecurity engendered of power.

All this aside, I am happy to learn that you will keep an eye out for his offerings at your local bookstore. Cricket literature would be much the poorer without them.

8:12 AM  

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