This is was posted on the blog http://www.cricketbuzz.org
The controversy surrounding the Sydney Test match between India and Australia once again brought “Sledging” into limelight. Sledging has become a part of world cricket and almost every team is doing that. Players resort to sledging in order to distract their opponents’ focus on the game. Sometimes, sledging and banters sound funny and interesting. But at other times, they just turn ugly.
This is was posted on the blog http://www.cricketbuzz.org
NEWS OF THE WORLD
Dubai International Capital’s bid for Liverpool is still on.
Manchester United and Arsenal are keeping close tabs on Everton and England defender Joleon Lescott.
Manchester City are closing in on a move for CSKA Moscow striker Wagner Love.
Micah Richards is to be made a ‘take it or leave it’ £50,000 a week offer by Manchester City.
Middlesbrough are to step up their interest in Plymouth goalkeeper Luke McCormick.
Dean Ashton is heading for a major contract showdown with West Ham.
Afonso Alves plans to join Middlesbrough this week.
Rafa Benitez plans to make a move for Argentine playmaker Pablo Aimar once Momo Sissoko completes his move to Juventus.
Rangers want Marcus Bent on loan for the rest of the season.
Wes Brown will end speculation over his future by signing a new deal at Manchester United.
Bolton goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi is a target for Bayern Munich.
Reading want West Brom winger Chris Brunt and will pay £4million to get their man.
Fulham want to lure Paul Scharner away from Wigan.
Olivier Kapo has vowed to stay at Birmingham despite interest from Portsmouth, Wigan and Sunderland.
Everton lead the hunt for USA midfielder Michael Bradley.
Neil Warnock hopes to take Nottingham Forest striker Nathan Tyson to Crystal Palace for £1.5million.
DAILY STAR SUNDAY
Micah Richards wants a record-breaking £75,000-a-week to stay at Manchester City.
Jonathan Woodgate has chosen Spurs ahead of Newcastle and will join the London club next week.
Leroy Lita has pleaded with Reading to drop their £7million price and let him join Blackburn.
Birmingham are set to sign ex-Rangers striker Peter Lovenkrands.
Bolton are launching a cheeky double raid on Reading for strikers Leroy Lita and Dave Kitson.
Manchester City have tabled an £8million bid for Argentine striker Diego Milito.
Aston Villa have offered £5million for Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha.
Neil Lennon wants to quit Nottingham Forest before the end of the month.
Spurs boss Juande Ramos will step up his interest in Valencia midfielder David Albelda next week.
Middlesbrough face a work permit battle for striker Afonso Alves.
Leeds are pressing on with their bid to land Jason Puncheon from Barnet.
Espanyol are ready to rescue Georgios Samaras from his Manchester City hell.
Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is wanted by Italian side Palermo on a six-month loan.
Spurs are locked in a battle with Atletico Madrid to land Portuguese midfielder Tiago.
Cardiff insist Joe Ledley and Paul Parry are not leaving the club.
Spurs have beaten Newcastle in the race to sign Jonathan Woodgate.
Manchester City hope to solve their goalscoring crisis by landing Wagner Love from CSKA Moscow.
Billy Davies is the latest name on the Republic Of Ireland managerial shortlist.
Micky Adams is leading the race to become the new Southampton manager.
Portsmouth are expecting a £7million raid from Juventus for Benjani.
Kevin Keegan is ready to bring in Real Madrid spy Jeff Vetere as his international scout at Newcastle.
Eidur Gudjohnsen has drawn a blank in his bid to move back to England.
Sven-Goran Eriksson is weighing up a move for Hearts star Andrew Driver.
Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping to beat Arsene Wenger to land young Gillingham striker Luke Freeman.
Macedonia star Velice Sumulikoski is wanted by Blackburn.
Burnley are poised to complete a double transfer coup by landing Argentine left-winger Marcello Carrusca and veteran striker Andy Cole.
Newcastle want Reading striker Leroy Lita.
Nottingham Forest have made an £850,000 offer for Dundee United star Barry Robson.
Birmingham want FC Lorient’s powerful centre-half Michael Ciani.
Wrexham are ready to swoop for Notts County defender Guy Branston.
Blackburn midfielder Mamadi Keita is returning home to sign for Hamburg.
Jonathan Woodgate is to turn down Kevin Keegan and join Tottenham.
Portsmouth expect to complete the loan signing of Milan Baros on Monday.
Birmingham are close to a £2million deal for former Rangers striker Peter Lovenkrands.
Arsenal have agreed a £5million deal for Caen prodigy Yoan Gouffran.
Desperate Spurs will pull out all the stops to sign Alan Hutton from Rangers next week.
Celtic have signed highly-rated Middlesbrough striker Ben Hutchinson on a Bosman deal.
Shaun Pollock, South Africa’s leading Test and ODI wicket taker, announced his retirement from international cricket on Friday. The recently completed Test match against the West Indies was his final Test and the forth coming ODI series will be his last ODI’s.
Pollock surprised his team mates during the warm up for day 2 of the series deciding third Test against the West Indies by revealing to them his decision to retire. Although he was South Africa’s opening bowler for the last 12 years he had recently found himself out of the Test team as the selectors decided to take the attack in a different direction, focusing on bowlers with pace and aggression, rather then Polly’s immaculate line and length. Indeed since being named man of the series in Test series against India and Pakistan in December 2006 and January 2007 Polly has not featured in a single Test match until this last one.
This lack of playing time may have had a significant say in Polly’s decision to pack it in, but it has still come as a surprise that he has retired from all international cricket as he is still South Africa’s, and the worlds, best ODI bowler. Although, the person that he is, he would never admit it, perhaps the treatment by the selectors, saying he is still an important part of their plans yet never playing him, continuously carrying out the drinks, got to be to much for the star all rounder. He was first dropped during the tour of Pakistan, where the selectors and team management stated they no longer felt he was as capable on sub continental wickets but that he would be back for the home series against New Zealand and the West Indies. Yet he found himself once again not included for the first 4 Tests, the two against New Zealand, and the first two against the West Indies. With the next two series being in the Sub continent, against Bangladesh and India, and knowing the selectors view of his bowling on those wickets, perhaps he decided that whatever was said in public he stood little chance of playing in the later series against England and Australia if he wasn’t going to feature in the initial tours. Incidentally, whatever the selectors may say, Pollock has the best record by any South African in the Sub continent and one of the best records of any pace bowler in international cricket.
Shaun Pollock has had many highlights and milestones in his career, he is South Africa’s leading Test wicket taker, with421 wickets at 23,11 with best figures of 7/87 and match figures of 10/147, both against Australia, has 2 Test hundreds, against Sri Lanka and the West Indies, and is unlucky not to have a third as he scored one against India and a match that lost its Test status after India fielded a banned player, his batting average of 32,31 with 16 fifties and the 2 hundreds, coupled with his bowling, makes him one of the leading Test all rounders of all time, his superb ODI bowling figures of 387 wickets at 24,54 in 298 games, at an unbelievable economy rate of 3,69, maintained over such a long period, has him down as the worlds best ODI bowler, and a batting average of 26,33 with 14 fifties and 1 hundred (scored for an Africa team against Asia, his highest score for South Africa is 90) puts him up with the best ODI all rounders of all time.
In truth, while his bowling has been his day job, so to say, he has never really been allowed to showcase his batting to its full potential. Often finding himself butting down at 8 or 9, he was never given the freedom and time to fully realize his batting talent, a fact that makes his batting record all the more impressive. With his pace slowing down as the years wore on Polly could easily have moulded himself as a batting all rounder, batting at number 5 or 6 in both forms of the game, and bowling first change. This would have prolonged his career and allowed his batting to flourish, something that the lower order never afforded him.
While there is an element of being pushed in Polly’s decision, he will of course have been delighted that his final Test match was a series winning match, a match that he was able to contribute to, taking 4 wickets in the first innings (he did not get to bat in the match) and making his farewell on his home ground in Durban. Although he won’t be putting any pressure on himself, all South Africans, and many cricket lovers around the world, will be hoping that Polly has an exceptional ODI series and manages to pick up the 13 wickets in his last 5 matches that he would take him to 400 ODI wickets. And that he gets a chance to bat up the order!
A group of young fast bowlers are waiting in the wings to take the mantle left by the legendary Shaun Pollock, a group including the all ready known Dale Steyn, the up and coming Morne Morkel, the revitalized Monde Zondeki, and the new comers Friedel de Wet, Lonwabo Tsotsobe and Sinethemba Mjekulu. The potential and the promise is there for a successful transition, however there will never be another Shaun Pollock, and cricket is less without him.
India flexed its muscle is the cricket world and had umpire Steve Buckner removed from officiating in the 3rd Test, after several poor decisions cost them the match, or at least a chance at saving it, and also had Harbhajan’s 3 match ban suspended, pending an appeal.
When the whole situation exploded, following Australia’s 16 Test victory in a row, there was actual very little doubt that India would not get there way, no matter what the noises coming out of the ICC and the cricketing world suggested. Playing India is the financial jackpot for any other cricket nation. The finances involved in a series featuring India amount to around about an entire seasons worth of playing the other Test nations. With those kind of figures involved there was no way that the people that run cricket, the money men, where going to allow the tour to be cut short. If they wanted their money they had to bow to Indian pressure and give them what they wanted. And so it happened.
While this kind of financial politics may tarnish the game somewhat it is within the rights of the Indian cricket board to push their influence to its limits. That’s just the way the world works. Other cricket boards have been doing it for years and now India are in a strong position, financially and those power wise, and they should be able to fight perceived injustices against their players.
While there is no doubt that Australia are the best team in the world, and have been for sometime, their is also little doubt that they have been helped along the way in maintaining their record by some very poor umpiring against touring teams for many, many, years. The advent of neutral umpires did little to curb that spiral. Australia claim to have been luckier in this regard and that these things even themselves out. In many cases they do. When playing Australia they don’t. There is a big difference when it comes to an Australian batsman being given not out on 0 after clearly getting an edge, then going on to score a big hundred and then finding himself victim of a dodgy LBW decision, compared to a touring batsman missing the ball by a long way and being given out at a crucial time in the match. The Aussie thinking would be that they they both got bad decisions. For everyone else, one decision cost them the match, the other lost them the match. There’s no justice there.
Australia feel they are above the law. This state of arrogance is brought out when a group of players are successful sportsman but maybe not good people. It was the same with Mourinho’s champion Chelsea team a few years ago. They feel that the laws apply to everyone except them. More specifically they see the errors in everyone else and not within themselves. Ricky Ponting and his team need to be humbled. The Aussies are the kings of sledging, or mental disintegration, as they call it. They get 70 000 people crammed into a stadium, fill them with booze, allow them to hurl abuse at touring teams, while at the same time piling on the abuse themselves, appealing a few times every over as if trying to wear down the umpire. And clearly it works. This, coupled with actual talent, has been the Aussie blue print for success. Which is sad because it detracts from their good players. People don’t hate talent, Tendulkar, Lara, Pollock, Inzi and Muttiah are respected and celebrated around the world (except maybe Australia), yet the talented players in Australia, Ponting, Warne, McGrath, Hayden and others are hated in many parts. It’s the arrogance that breeds contempt.
If Harbhajan did aim ant racist abuse at Symonds, a claim he denies, then he should be banned. There is no excuse for racism anywhere, not just in sport. However what about the Australian sledging? Which often goes past the line into fairly disgusting personal issues? Should they not be banned too? When Graeme Smith made his debut for South Africa, 21 years old at the time, he was subjected to various degrees of abuse at the hands of the Australians. He gave an interview to a magazine shortly after about his experience and was the subject of an Aussie backlash for daring to report what was said and what happened out on the pitch. Yet it seems that its okay for the Australians to report a player for doing what they themselves do.
While Adam Gilchrist has always been a model of the honest batsman, walking when he’s edged it, even if the fielding side don’t appeal, and taking the fielders world for a dubious catch, the rest of the Aussies are not in that mold. Blatant edges are followed by an Aussie batsman laughing at the appeal and swearing he didn’t touch it. They will appeal for appealing sake, yet suggest that Sri Lanka or Pakistan doing the same is not in the spirit of the game.
The Aussies play by a different rule book, and they must be humbled, and it is for this reason why they rest of the world must get behind India, and hope they can accomplish this. If not, then we should get behind South Africa, Pakistan, England, New Zealand, the West Indies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and anyone else who takes on the mighty Aussie ego, and bring them back down to earth.
South Africa look set to recall veteran all rounder, and record wicket taker, Shaun Pollock, for the series deciding Test against the West Indies. The crucial Test, with the teams locked at 1-1 going into the final game, is the Sahara Stadium Kingsmead, in Durban, Pollocks home ground. While many expected Pollock to be recalled at the expense of Dale Steyn, who bowled through injury in the final innings of South Africa’s 7 wicket win last week, it now seems that Pollock will replace spinner Paul Harris. Kingsmead has seldom offered anything for spin bowlers, and with the recent rainy weather, should have a bit off the deck for seam bowlers. Should Steyn not be fit to play his place will go to Monde Zondeki, the Cobra’s fast bowler who has claimed over 50 wickets in 8 matches this season. Herchelle Gibbs will return to the team, opening with Smith, after being dropped for last weeks match, with Neil Mckenzie, Gibbs replacement, tearing a muscle and ruled out for up to 6 weeks. The West Indies will be without captain Chris Gayle, through injury, and will be led by all rounder Dwayne Bravo.
Former South African batsman, and now commentator, Darryl Cullinan has been banned from commentating on any matches for the foreseeable future. Cullinan, who has worked for Super Sport since his retirement from the game has found himself in hot water as a result of taking up a coaching post in the rebel Indian Cricket League. The reason being given is that the ban imposed by CSA (Cricket South Africa) for any cricketers taking part in the rebel league, includes journalists. How Cullinans job as a journalist fits into the spectrum of CSA baffles me. The TV commentary will prove to be bland without Cullinans forth right and insightful views. It will be interesting to see how the Ausies deal with Tony Greg after his role in the ICL.
Following the political and social disruptions in Pakistan, there are now plans for the ICC Champions Trophy, scheduled for Pakistan in September, to be switched to South Africa. This follows security fears laid out by players, most recently Andrew Symonds of Australia, who are due to tour Pakistan soon. South Africa, who held a very successful T20 Championships a few months ago are on stand by and have the necessary infrastructure and plans to hold a successful tournament at short notice.