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Hiya buddy, it seems

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Then, the fun began. First, it was Sachin Tendulkar who apparently didn’t “see” the event but condemned whatever he heard happened. Then, Sunil Gavaskar, who was indignant about the Aussies allegedly having said, “Hiya buddy” to Pawar. Mr Pawar himself stated that “Tendulkar must be right, but I don’t want to make it an issue” (the first part is quintessential Maharashtrian politics – incidentally, besides heading the BCCI, Pawar is also the Union Minister for Agriculture.). Later, he would add that it was a small, stupid thing and that he didn’t want to make it an issue. But how can the Indian media, having tasted blood, lay off? Voice after outraged voice is being “quoted”, castigating rude Aussie behaviour.

Ponting himself hasn’t helped matters by commenting on a possible apology from his team’s side, "If we all feel that it's relevant then I'll certainly do that." He has apparently been making similar noises ever since, but no concrete admission of guilt yet.

Research agencies in India have stated that many Indians look for role models today in the world of cricket. So, while Ponting behaves like a brash class monitor, and his team like spoilt brats, while Shoaib apparently slaps Woolmer, and while the ICC and BCCI indulge in a puerile slinging match (that includes Malcolm Speed questioning India’s proportion of population and veritable cricketers), let us not wring our hands and shake our heads.

We could also worry about the moronities of Friday night, two nights before the Champions Trophy final. Let us wonder what the IQ levels of the organizers of the ICC Awards were, given that they chose to hold the most prestigious cricket awards show, not in a hotel, but…hold your breath, in a tent outdoors. The black-tie and suit affair was held in the heat of pre-winter Mumbai without air conditioning. And Ponting was absolutely right to question the absence of Lara and his team, while they roughed it out. More than Indian hospitality, this was glorious Indian intelligence on show for the world (and proof for Speed that a greater population serves to provide obstacles to its own self). Who knows, maybe Ponting had had enough of Indian organizational skills?

All this is not a defence of the Australian team’s uncouth behaviour, but it could help to have some perspective on things. In the heat (or high) of the moment, the Aussies slipped up. It is highly unlikely they meant any disrespect per se, and such an event is not likely to be repeated again, so it is time to move on.

Australia is too caught up with the Ashes now, and really, what is the fuss about? Does anyone seriously think that England is going to compete with the team they’ve put together?

West Indies vs Pakistan and India vs South Africa are likely to be far more interesting.

 



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