A plague o’ both your houses

The decision by the Indian board to suspend its side’s tour of Australia, however temporarily, is a sign of the times. Regardless of whether or not Harbhajan Singh called Andrew Symonds “a monkey” during the second Test at Sydney – and the International Cricket Council’s match referee Mike Procter says he is “satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt” that he did – the BCCI’s brinkmanship says everything about India’s place at the head of cricket’s top table.

No other team in the world could grandstand like this because no other team possesses India’s political and financial clout. This is not the post-imperial lament of a white man struggling to accept cricket’s great power shift away from England and Australia and towards the subcontinent. It is just the way things are. See how you like the world game without us, goes the Indian implication. As moves go, it’s big, and it might even be clever. But it’s not exactly edifying.

Harbhajan Singh appears to have been banned on nothing more than heresay and Ricky Ponting’s word (and it’s funny that an Australian team should be complaining about receiving insults). I am sure Ponting’s complaint against Singh had nothing to do with the fact that the Indian spinner has his number… However, India have not exactly come out of this incident with flying colours.


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