If Cronje and his cronies do not desist from boorish behaviour
they will have to be consigned to the loony bin...
Strange are the things nature induces one to do when advantage
in a game seems to be slipping away; foolish are the few who let
these circumstances affect their mental equilibrium; splendid
are the many who applaud the audacity of the opposition.
How often have we not seen a bowler applaud the stroke of a batsman,
sometimes even struck by the sheer power and timing employed in
doing so. How often have we not seen batsmen shaking their head
in disbelief when bowled by a beauty. Have we ever seen a batsmen
giving a bowler a mouthful after his dismissal? Poor guy, he trudges
back slowly to the pavilion. There are stray instances, of course,
of the batsmen sometimes unhappy with the decision.
A bowler giving a mouthful to a batsman who has just hoisted him
for a six is indeed unsporting behaviour, utterly deplorable,
and certainly not becoming of a thorough professional. Allan Donald
was befuddled as Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar began tearing
him apart clinically in India's quest for a win in the final of
the Standard Bank Triangular series. His two overs cost him 18
runs and when in the third over he was hit for a six, Donald went
He unleashed a verbal yorker full of hatred and fury — the
camera does not lie. His expressions gave a clear indication of
his utter frustration. Here was the fearsome 'white lightning'
being sent in a flash to all parts at Kingsmead. Dravid's calm
at this stage must be lauded. He did not let Donald's puerile,
unprofessional gibberish unnerve him. Keeping his cool he went
about playing a scintillating knock. Not once, but twice did Donald
try to rattle Dravid. Why couldn't the buffoon just applaud Dravid's
flamboyant batting and go about his business of
bowling rather than trying to come on top through unfair means.
Indeed, the South Africans, who once had earned the respect of
many Indians must surely be losing out on that score. The smiles
were knocked off the faces of the hosts. On the final day at Durban,
the Indians showed the South African cricketers and their partisan
media that they aren't paper tigers. If anything, the Proteas,
who appear so professional otherwise looked like lambs being led
to the slaughter.
In the Mohinder Amarnath benefit tie at the Wankhede Stadium last
December, captain Hansie Cronje exhibited an ugly side when he
roughly shoved aside an Indian official, assigned to look after
the visitors during the disruption in proceedings after Azhar's
dismissal. He followed it up 'elbowing' Javagal Srinath in the
first Test in Durban.
During India's last tour of South Africa in 1992, after they were
allowed back into the international fold, thanks to India's overwhelming
support and vote of confidence, Keppler Wessels, the then skipper,
was involved in a fracas with Kapil Dev. After Kapil had run-out
Peter Kirsten, who was backing too far up, in the second One-dayer
at Port Elizabeth, Wessels, obviously piqued, ran off his crease
for a non-existent single with Jonty on strike. As he returned,
he purposefully slammed his bat into Kapil's shin.
Pieced together, these incidents give a true picture of the South
Africans, banned from international sport for their apartheid
policy. Unsporting behaviour should not be tolerated. Errant cricketers
must be pulled up. Aggro is required in competitive
sport. But it should be released through the right channel in
a sporting manner.
What's more galling than Donal'd outburst is match referee Barry
Jarman's soft attitude. The match referee is empowered by the
ICC to take whatever action deemed fit. Clive Lloyd awarded the
World Cup semi-final tie to Sri Lanka after the crowd ran riot
in Calcutta. It was a brave decision and a well respected one.
Maybe Dilip Vengsarkar is right when he says that the ICC has
a separate set of rules for the Indians. It's time the Indian
Board took a hard line on such incidents rather than play footsie
with the ICC.