… and everyone has glass houses.
Scene: Bangladesh lost to India. It was their game to lose. They responded with a flying start in the second innings, all wickets intact. Rain happened. Game resumed and Bangladesh lost its rhythm. There was an unfortunate runout. But really, Bangladesh could have still won easily. India was not playing good cricket and they are not going to win the T20I Cricket World Cup this year.
But in two overs, Bangladesh lost 4 wickets to a spade of really rash shots.
I wanted India to win, but this was a Bangladeshi loss more than an Indian win.
What happened next on Twitter was strange.
You see, had Bangladesh won, Pakistan would have had a chance to make it to the World Cup semi-finals. So it was a sad loss for them as well.
But Pakistani fans did not take this well.
#CricketTwitter was awash with claims and accusations of cheating and BCCI’s Power Tactics, and poor unbiased umpiring (in favor of India).
It was not all that surprising, except Australian and English journalists and broadcasters also got in on the act. Worth noting that Australia and England are also fighting for survival in the other group of the tournament.
So, I would just chalk all of this to nerves, and sincere disappointment.
But the vilification of individual cricketers and umpires is strange. It went against the oft championed “spirit of the game” that at least England likes to talk about. (Sadly that’s all England can do at the moment, given that it is a leaderless island looking for relevance in World Order, Economics and Sports.)
But strangest of all, was this apparent chagrin towards Team India for wanting to restart the game as soon as possible after the rains subsided. You see, when the rains started, Bangladesh were ahead by two runs and would have won the game by means of the Duckworth/Lewis method, ahead the match been abandoned.
It is not uncommon for the trailing team to want to get back on the field and to try and retake the lead. I have seen it happen repeatedly in the 25 odd-years I have followed international cricket.
But for some reason, when the umpires did resume the match, it was “too soon!” … “too dangerous!” … “too unfair” … “to biased for one nation.”
To hell with wanting to finish the game on the field. Who wants to win/lose with courage and honor, when you can be content in the fecklessness of a cowardly victory?
Funnily enough, #CricketTwitter was missing a key voice: that of the Bangladeshi Fan.
#CricketTwitter feels less like a place where fans of the game come together to celebrate wins and good solid sport, but instead a place where everyone cribs and moans about India’s cultural and economic dominance of the game.
It is tiring. And it is worth remembering that glass houses exist everywhere and this sort of stone throwing is not good for the sport.
Speaking as an Indian, we expect it from Pakistan given our past and continued rivalry. Frankly, it is a rivalry I respect and enjoy. I loved the games in Asia Cup earlier this year. These tend to be good games replete with skill and passion.
But when this stone throwing comes from white cricketing nations of England and Australia, it really does seem desperate.
Folks (in Aus/Eng), just a friendly reminder: it’s just a game. It might have “laws” instead of “rules”, and there might a “spirit” that only you gits can possess, but just calm down… it’s just a sport. And India is going to continue to fund it for the foreseeable future. You are welcome.
By the way, if #CricketTwitter is going to continue to accuse Indian Cricket of unfair play, and money/power politics, it would be nice for India to use all that unfair power and win a World Cup for a change, it has been 11 years since the last one.
#microblogging, while watching cricket replays