Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
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Straight & The Narrow

The 'Ugly Australian' reared his head again— at the SCG. To India and the world, it just wasn't cricket.

Straight & The Narrow Straight & The Narrow

In the roo-eat-roo world of Aussie cricket, sporting gestures are at a premium. At the end of what had been a riveting Test match, a customary handshake was on. But the celebrating Australian team gave little thought to the unbeaten Indian captain. He should have known better than to wait. The moment just about summed up how the Sydney Test had progressed. Anil Kumble's Indian XI had proved worthy opponents till the umpires and the baggy green heads weighed in on one side. Indeed, the Oz mask had come off a long time before the last Indian wicket was claimed.

Australia is the best cricket team in the world, winning Tests and one-dayers almost at will, but in what was an astonishingly poor show of sportsmanship, they had cricket lovers around the world—including on the home ground—cringing in their seats. Over four days at the Sydney Cricket Ground, they also proved that a champion team can be a rogue team, singlehandedly shifting the focus of the cricket world away from the sport to its own ugly image. Needless to say, it was a bad call in these days of TV hegemony. Every wrong decision, every 'grassed' catch, every nick that wasn't was there for all to see. The bad press came in doses, and by then a united, angry India had been made to flex its muscle in world cricket.

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