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Posts Tagged ‘sports’

She was a petite perfectionist in an age of muscular athletes. She possessed a backhand from heaven and shot-making abilities second to no other female tennis player. She was the person who ended the Williams sisters’ dominance in such stunning fashion and then went on to usurp their role. 

Justine Henin. Always number one. Thanks for the beautiful moments. And good luck.

(Photo by Glenn Thomas. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License.)

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There’s a right way and a wrong way of going about improving your circumstances and I think I went about it the right way, so I don’t understand why people would be calling me disloyal.
I find it strange that in any other job people accept that you try to improve your circumstances and get in a better position to provide for your family, but it’s almost like you’re not supposed to do that in sport. I don’t understand that; maybe it’s because professional sport is so new in this country. 

-Shane Bond, arguably the greatest New Zealand fast bowler of his generation, on why he joined the ICL, effectively signing off his international career. Read the whole article, highly recommended.

I have great admiration for Bond and I wish him the best. A part of me however continues to hope that we will see the sight of Bond again on the international stage, where he belongs … high up in the air, his body a beautiful symmetry, his arm about to deliver one of his fast lethal yorkers … with the BCCI and its bullying ways a distant memory.

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Tim de Lisle has a piece in Cricinfo where he says that sledging without an obvious skin-colour dimension is often as offensive as racial sledging. I agree. However, his solution to the conundrum is to ban all sledging. Mine, as I wrote yesterday, is to allow it.

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The poor umpiring and Harbhajan Singh’s three match ban for alleged racist remarks to Andrew Symonds have marred what was otherwise an excellent test match.

Even if it is true that Bhajji is guilty (which does not seem to have been unambiguously proved) I feel that the three match ban is unreasonably harsh. Harbhajan is alleged to have retaliated against Aussie taunts by calling Symonds a ‘monkey’. It would be a laughing matter except that the Aussies didn’t think so. The remark was interpreted as a racist slur, a complaint was made and the sentence subsequently passed by the match referee.

I believe that sledging is a part of the game and players should be allowed to say whatever they wish as long as they don’t get physical. And that includes racially motivated remarks. Test cricket is a contest for grown ups, not a stage for mollycoddling the thin-skinned. Cricketers who cannot deal with verbal attacks on the field should consider other careers.

However, even those who do not agree with me that sledging should go unpunished will perhaps concur that a bit of balance is in order. The trouble is that racism is such a politically sensitive issue that we tend to lose perspective when discussing it. In my opinion, the current scenario, where a pernicious comment to another player about his family, personal life or non-racial physical characteristics receives no more than a routine reprimand whereas the simple act of calling another cricketer a ‘monkey’ in the heat of the moment is punished with a three test-match ban, is a good example of this lack of perspective.

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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan, in an excellent article on Cricinfo, says that Dravid’s painstaking innings and the subsequent Indian batting collapse is just the latest evidence for an old truth: the wait-and-watch approach does not work against Australia.

Sixteen years ago Sanjay Manjrekar came to Australia as India’s best batsman. He had enjoyed a wonderful series in Pakistan and possessed the technique to counter any kind of bowling. He ended the five Tests without a single half-century and was never the same force since.

Four years back he revisited that trip. “I spent quite a lot of time at the crease, and never once felt uncomfortable,” he wrote in Wisden Asia Cricket. “My weakness was that I didn’t have the game to score off good balls. So I’d spend two hours scoring 30 before a good ball would get me. If I had managed to hit a few more fours, I could perhaps have got 60 in that time. The wait-and-watch approach is never going to be profitable in Australia. To succeed as a batsman, you should be able to create scoring opportunities, because there is little point in waiting for loose balls which never come.”

 

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