Monday, September 29, 2008

Gideon jumps the shark

Gideon Haigh has been slipping for a while. I've always respected him as a writer and consider him a historian par excellence when it comes to cricket. But his crankiness is getting the better of him, and nothing shows it better than the following paragraph where he manages to swallow the party line hook and sinker, get in the obligatory slam against India and the ICC, and also be snide all at once:
Although it is a commonplace that Australia is the world's most aggressive team, it is actually more accurate to describe them as the world's most consistently and uniformly aggressive team. That is, where a number of teams exhibit aggression in spasms and phases, and certain individuals from other countries are inclined to throw regular weight around, Australians are better at maintaining a lounging, low-level hostility at all times. Indeed, one of the bones Ponting has picked with India is that their players appear to vary in their willingness to contest. He complained, for instance, when the hosts, chockfull of cheek in the first two games of last year's one-day series, suddenly took umbrage in the third: "If the Indians can play the sort of cricket they did play for the first couple of games and then completely turn around and go the other way in the other games, it showed us how fake, if you like, the first part of the series was as far as they're concerned." One of the reasons Bhajjigate festered on in January, I suspect, was a residual annoyance about what Australians see as an Indian tendency to periodically redefine the acceptable level of on-field belligerence. Thus Ponting's hankering to obtain an ICC determination of what was beyond the pale - not a wise move, really, considering the ICC needs a committee to determine the day of the week.
This is frankly, unbelievable, jumping-the-sharkiness. Everything is here. The precious use of italics. The need to drive home the thesis ("That is.."). The faithful parroting of Ponting's wisdom. The psychoanalytic take on why yet another Indian has managed to get under the skin of the Australian cricketer. And on and on.

I blame the BCCI for this. They've reduced a great writer to a babbling hack.


Blogger Homer said...

The BCCI - such devious bastards. Always consistently and uniformly aggressive!!!! :)


12:23 PM  
Blogger straight point said...

home minor correction...

The BCCI - such devious bastards. Always consistently and uniformly regressive!!!!


samir...i liked this idea of 'praising' BCCI after each post...after all its our organization we should be the first to bag them...before them

that is... :)

7:38 AM  
Blogger bored peon said...


For the Indian test team selection, you are invited to the Bored Meeting tomorrow afternoon (IST) at BCC!

3:48 PM  
Blogger Rodney Ulyate said...

For myself, I think Haigh's dogged BCCI-baiting nothing short of courageous. You are by no means the first, Samir, to knock him for it: the white noise that imbues Cricinfo's every comments section is thunderous; so too the blogosphere. It would be easy simply to throw in the towel and allow his jingoistic foes, zealously hoarding their new-found hegemony, to have their unchallenged way; indeed, it would probably be in his best professional interests. That he has stood by his views, though, is nothing short of honourable.

At any rate, Haigh remains the furthest thing from a "babbling hack" and hasn't slipped a jot. Last month's essay on Bradman's formative fame bears this out amply:

It is notable, I think, that his supposed decline coincides with his persistent criticism of India, and even more notable that Indians are just about the only ones supposing it.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Homer, SP: They're devious bastards all right. I've always said so.

Bored: I went to your blog and noticed you were talking about Anshuman Gaekwad. Yikes!

7:14 AM  
Blogger Soulberry said...

Start winning games, start winning series - home and abroad - and the haighs and lows will be planed out.

2:12 PM  

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