We all know how the sport drives us. Cricketers in India are next only to God. I say God because Lord Krishna or Mahaveer Swami, in their individual capacities, might not have that big a fan following as Sachin does. Something quite evident in the uproar over the entire 'monkey' fiasco. We didn't give in to bullying. We sure showed them that we are not going to let anyone down under intimidate us with their sledging and their holier-than-thou attitude. But did we?
The way I see things, Hogg plays while Bhajji sits.
So what was the hulla-balloo all about? I get a feeling that it was not just the belief that we were right and they were wrong, the age old good vs evil battle. I sensed a hint of indignation. I doubt the reaction would have been this strong had the accusations of racism come from a small fry (Strictly in terms of Cricket only) like Bangladesh. There was an undertone to everything I read that was being said by the Indian authorities. It went something like this:
Oh you think you can be the endearing naughty boys who win all the time? You think you win because of your talent? See how it feels when you get a taste of your own medicine? Take that, and that... Bam bam bam.
I guess we felt the maximum shock wave of the whole racist controversy because we were in the thick of things. We as Indians were at no fault of our own, and so we were indignant at being called something we are not. We are not racists, and we want the world to know about it, not by proving our point on a political field, not by setting an example of how good natured we have become despite casteism being in our blood, but
1. by screaming our lungs hoarse that Bhajji didn't say the M word because we as Indians are tolerant, and
2. by flexing a strong arm, by threatening the ICC via BCCI because we have financial control over world cricket. And this is how we redeem ourselves, wronged by the all powerful, this is how we rise from the ashes.
But strong responses like these are evoked only when we are facing the brunt. Had Brian Lara called Salman Butt a f******* Paki, we might have just taken it with a pinch of salt, probably even delight.
Here is my take on the situation, and advice to the BCCI: When you start a job, finish it. If you have the guts to call off the tour, do it. Don't wait for a response. Don't threaten if you cannot carry it off. All the while you say that you will not let Bhajji be labeled a racist, the 3rd test is on and Harbhajan is on the bench. I wonder what's going on in his mind.
You are very much in Canberra. And you are goddamn well gonna play the one day series too and you know it. Then what was the entire junkload of crap that you bestowed on the world about not taking no for an answer? Get some sense.
Cricket may be a religion, but only in India. Australians have the choice to pick their sports idols from a vast range of individuals spanning sports like Rugby, Tennis, Baseball, Athletics, Cricket et al.
How is this for statistics:
No. of countries on the earth: 194 (that or thereabout).
No. of test playing nations : 10.
Cricket is small fry for the world and personally for me too. Lets keep it that way and not let things get out of proportion.
ps: (This is where you would expect a disclaimer to come. Sorry to not disappoint. ) I still whoop for joy when India wins. I agree I can't name 11 non-cricket athletes from India. But I treat cricket as a sport. An entertainment medium. That's all folks !!