Aussie media slam poor umpiring

Australian newspapers came down heavily on poor umpiring in the wake of three Test ban on Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh.

updated: January 09, 2008 15:08 IST
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As Indians were outraged over bad umpiring and subsequently Harbhajan Singh's ban, Australian newspapers came down heavily on poor umpiring and wrote on Bhajji's's ban and the issue of racism in sports.

The Australian media was reluctant to point the finger of blame at Harbhajan, though many papers did say that India needs to do a lot more, in order to help stamp out racism.

The controversy-ridden second cricket Test between India and Australia was a "rotten contest" from Day one and singularly failed to elevate the spirit of sportsmanship, the Australian media has said.

The media sarcastically said the Sydney encounter was a match that will have been relished only by "rabid nationalists" and others for whom victory and vengeance are the sole reasons for playing sport.

Renowned cricket writer Peter Roebuck wrote in his column for the Sydney Morning Herald, that India had been dudded! And that no one with the slightest enthusiasm for cricket would take the least satisfaction from this victory secured by Australia.

Sydney Morning Herald says: "Harbhajan said he was sorely provoked. The Australians said he had a history. Both doubtlessly are true. But did it warrant the throwing of the whole anti-racism book at Harbhajan? Did this walnut need a sledgehammer?"

The paper said the right example must be made, and of the right offender. The whole issue should have been sorted out on the field by the players, captains and umpires.

Melbourne Herald Sun: Steve Waugh writes, "A better resolution may have been for both players, captains, coaches to get together at the end of the day's play and work out a solution before they went past the point of no return. At the centre of most incidents between cricketing nations is the clash or lack of understanding of each other's cultures."

The Australian, meanwhile, was more scathing towards the Indians, but at a larger level. It said that India still hasn't addressed the problem of racism, and stands where Australia did for the most part of its white history.

The Australian writes: "India has not addressed racism in its sport or society in the same way and is still milling in the mounting yard where Australia stood for most of its white history. Most Indians will deny it exists, especially if it is a westerner making accusations. Strange that the only person labelled monkey in the Australian team is the only black person - Andrew Symonds."

The Sydney Test entertained spectators at the ground, provided some excellent batting but left a "sour taste" in the mouth, the Melbourne Age newspaper said.

Until another shocking decision was made by an umpire (Steve Bucknor) reliable in his time but past his prime, the fifth day of this "unattractive contest" was offering plenty of tension to put alongside the memorable hundreds contributed by capable batsmen on both the sides, it said.

"Had the umpiring been even remotely acceptable on the opening days, or had replays been used to give embattled umpires a chance, India might perchance have won the contest but that will forever remain in the land of conjuncture," it said.

The newspaper said Rahul Dravid's dismissal in the second innings at a crucial juncture compromised all subsequent events rendering meaningless the continuation of Australia's run of victories.

On another issue, the newspaper said despite the amiability of many players, Ponting's team is developing a reputation for being headstrong and precious. "Matthew Hayden's belittling of Anil Kumble's bowling at the MCG was case in point," it said.

The newspaper hoped that at least a vestige of sportsmanship is observed when the teams next meet in Perth.

"What happens in the middle has a nasty habit of spreading further afield," it said. (With PTI inputs)