As this is a blog and it is my way of communicating my feelings, I have something I feel I need to get off my chest.
As the England V India series went on, I couldn’t help but notice the bad feeling and hysterical bitterness coming across on Twitter, other blogs and discussion boards such as the comments section on the Daily Telegraph website.
I have read things such Jonathan Agnew has insulted India, Mike Atherton insulted Dhoni during the post match interview after the 3rd test, England are cheats, England doctored the pitches, England used the Duke ball, Michael Vaughan said this, Nasser Hussain said that, Andrew Strauss banged on the Indian dressing room door, Andy Flower this and that as he had the sheer audacity to say no to Sachin, England this and England that, etc, etc.
It has been pathetic. If people get offended because someone dares says India have been rubbish in this series, then tough, get over it. As India have been garbage.
It had nothing to do with Agnew’s column, the weather, the Duke ball, jelly beans, it was purely down to cricketing form, fitness, ability and home advantage.
Yes, England may well get well beat in India in 14 months, these things happen when teams are on the road. But I really do hope our fans and media don’t whinge and whine and abuse in the way certain elements have over the last 6 weeks while India have struggled here.
I didn’t realise that new legislation had come in which says you shall not criticise Sachin, or refuse to let him net against your back up spinner. Yes, apparently it was against the spirit of cricket for Andy Flower to stop Monty Panesar giving Sachin a net and a good look at the bloke who would probably replace Graeme Swann should he have got injured, that’s what I was told on Twitter anyway.
It is a sad day when a journalist as inoffensive as Jonathan Agnew gets abused and slaughtered for daring to constructively criticise Sachin and saying that VVS Laxman should take his hands out of his pockets.
You really shouldn’t pay any bit of attention to ‘fans’ like that! Many of us are understanding in defeat (a little less towards our own team).
This is from an Indian fan. I came to this site from your Telegraph comments. I agree there are many rude unsporting Indians but there are also many rude unsporting English fans. But it is wrong to focus on only what such people say.
Sample this from some English fans I have heard:-
VVS should be called Very Very Shit
India only became No 1 by playing on doctored home pitches
Let’s thump them so hard they ask to bring back the British Raj
Tendulkar intimidated Bowden so he gave him not out at Lord’s
Did VVS apply Vaseline (Vaughn didn’t say this for England batsmen during Ashes when Australia and Ponting were unhappy)
Then a writer like Berry does not just say Tendulkar was bad in this series, he says his limitations are exposed and he is not a competitor like Richards and Dravid. Based on 1 series? He also blames Tendulkar for India’s bowling. What are Fletcher and Simons for?
I haven’t read any Indian paper or writer criticising England or their players unfairly. If they were unfair too they could say England sledged, they intimidated umpires by kicking the ground, etc. Even Bell, Strauss, Flower were not called names for asking to be called back. Some silly Indian TV channel may talk trash, but the print writers are responsible and fair.
So many Indian fans need to learn more sportsmanship. But all are not bad. Also some English fans and media are not fair and sporting either.
Dean, I have always found you one of the more reasonable bloggers around on the blogosphere. Yet, here I have to tell you that what you have written about is just one side of the story.
India has been pathetic, and criticism will be there. From Indians. From English. From neutral. From absolutely everyone! But when that criticism borders on insult, it is just not done! Again, be it Indians, English or anyone on earth and moon!
When Mr. Scyld Berry compares Tendulkar and Dravid, and concludes that Dravid is more of a fighter (or something of that sort), it is not just an insult to Tendulkar, bu in my opinion, it is an insult to Dravid as well. Comparisons between players are fun to do, if you do it fairly.
How much Indian cricket does Scyld Berry actually follow? Because from what I see in his writings, all I can make out is that his conclusions are based on 4 Tests and 2 practice matches in England this summer.
Coming to the Twitter controversies… I’ll first touch upon the Flintoff one, where he said that he doesn’t care that India won the World Cup, because we just lost 4-0 in Tests to England.
Yes, India lost. 4-0. But the World Cup was an average Indian cricket follower’s way of pacifying himself/herself and convincing himself/herself that this team is not as bad as the scorelines might suggest. To rub it in by saying that World Cup wins do not matter in this way was very Australian-like by Flintoff. I don’t need to remind you, Dean, that Australians were one of the most-hated champions of their time. I hope England does not become that way during their reign at the top, which I think has a potential to be a lengthy one!
The other point to note here is that I am sure Flintoff wouldn’t have said that World Cup wins do not matter had the discussion been regarding England’s success in World Twenty20 Championshis 2010.
Coming to the Vaughan-VVS-vaseline controversy… well, I think that it was blown into a huge issue, and the fault here mainly lies with the Indian media and commentators. I am not saying that Vaughan was not cheeky. But the point is, like that earlier comment mentions, he didn’t say that when Pietersen was ruled not out and Ponting ended up arguing his match fees out with Aleem Dar!
To wrap up, I just want to express that some sections of the English media (and I include former cricketers in this broad term) have been very irresponsible in the way they have reported in this series. India lost by humiliating margins in all 4 Tests, and nothing takes the credit of the win away from a very strong England squad. But etiquette demands that you respect your opponents at all times, in victory and in defeat!
You especially respect you opponent when you know that their time might come soon too. If India does beat England in India during our winter in 2012, I can assure you that I won’t involve myself in any mud-slinging with the English fans on Twitter or any other forum. But if some other Indian ‘fans’ do that to seek retribution and the English complain, I won’t be able to hold myself back from saying “It’s only fair!”
Cricket Betting Blog
First, let me say thank you all for your comments. Rishabh and Shridhar I enjoy your blogs and respect both your writings and hope this doesn’t change our relationships.
I except that there is a hell of a lot of one eyed ex cricketers, fans and writers on all sides, Indian, English, Aussie, etc.
My main point has been that there seems to have been a lot of bitterness, swiping, moaning and abusing coming through Twitter, certain other blogs (not either of yours), and various other media elements.
I am only commenting on what I’ve seen, the remarks I have read and some abuse which has been aimed at me.
@ Anon. The VVS stands for….. line is just English humour, it may not be nice, but it is humour and anyone with a brain knows VVS is a top class player. It’s not something to get your knickers in a twist about.
Vaughan claimed the Vaseline line was a joke, I’m not 100% certain it was and either way he was on dangerous ground and maybe shouldn’t have said/wrote it. How it could be interpreted in reprint is a good enough reason for not saying it in the first place, before you even get to the facts of the matter.
Don’t know about the Sachin/Bowden incident, it couldn’t have been that obvious as it’s the first I’ve heard of it. The other remarks are just stupid and ignorant, and I’m sure the sort of stuff that is regularly reciprocated by the so called fans I referred too from all around the world. Not uniquely English, but I accept we have plenty enough of those idiots.
There does though seem to be a precious ‘thou must not question Sachin’ element. I don’t personally agree with Berry’s piece, but have you read some of the pathetic responses to it?
Did Berry really judge Sachin’s career on one series? I sometimes get the impression you are not to write about Sachin if you are not going to complement him.
Whether Berry was right or wrong, it didn’t justify some of the rubbish that was written in response.
I’m not disputing his article, I’m disputing that he has the right to write something about Sachin which might not be to everyone’s liking, which appears to be a crime in some peoples eyes. (cont)
Cricket Betting Blog
I could also refer back to the abuse Darren Gough got a few months back for suggesting England would beat India any day, any time. Why was he abused for this – and I’m no D Gough fan (check the blog).
We can all say, he said this and he said that. It’s pathetic though. I haven’t indulged in India bashing, there is no reason to do so.
England will probably get hammered in India in 14 months and I will not be offended by people writing that England are crap if they have been crap, indeed I’ll probably be leading the criticism of England.
So I ask why have so many people been offended in this instance?
@ Shridhar, thanks for your complementary remarks.
If my remarks are one sided, they are only that way in response to one sided views, which I believe your reply to be also – which isn’t a complaint, as you have every right to respond in a similar vain.
The reality of it is that there has probably been too many one sided views from both sides that have escalated and caused this bad feeling.
Onto my reply, again I ask, was Scyld Berry really judging Sachin’s whole career on this series? I’m not convinced he was.
As I said I don’t agree with his view, but was it really that insulting?
Onto Twitter, of course the World Cup was important as was the T20 one. Flintoff was stupid to write that.
A question I would like to ask Flintoff is, why did he write what he did? What drove him to write to what he did? It was clearly wrong and he shouldn’t have wrote it and I doubt he believes it either. But something drove him to react in that unprofessional manner, as it did me to react with this article.
I’m sure we can all draw our own conclusions as to what that was.
Onto Vaughan, I agree with your views and have referred to it in previous reply.
I haven’t been too aware of major disrespect by English media, I’m sure certain elements got carried away, as I’m sure certain elements around the world have done and will do again in the future. Not uniquely an English problem.
I also haven’t indulged in mud slinging prior to this article and I wouldn’t really call this piece mud slinging anyway. I don’t intend to complain if it comes England’s way in 14 months, I also don’t condone it. But at the same time I don’t mind good natured banter.
The main reason I wrote what I did was because of Twitter and forum abuse. So I don’t agree with your interpretation that it will be “only fair” retribution in 14 months.
That would suggest that twitter abuse from Indian fans that I have read lately is in some way a justified response, but exactly what is it in response too? So I can’t agree with that view.
I’m not going to indulge in a ‘who started it’ debate, which is probably what it comes down to really. I am prepared to accept that both sides are probably as bad as each other and that it got out of hand.
Dean, when I wrote that what you have written about is just one side of the story, I did not really mean that they were one-sided comments. I know it sounds contradictory, but what I meant was something that you have yourself touched upon in your reply comment.
In your first comment, you wrote about a lot of one eyed ex cricketers, and then later in the second comment, you acknowledged that certain elements in the media got carried away. As you and I both know very well, its neither a unique English problem nor a unique Indian problem. It’s a problem that exists everywhere.
The reason that I said yours was just one side of the story was that your article referred to just the nasty and baseless comments and tweets that came from India. I am not blaming you or anything, but Twitter has not been the best of experiences this summer for any sane and reasonable cricket fan from India and England.
I still stand by my statement that Scyld Berry was judging Tendulkar on one series. If he would have followed Indian cricket properly, he would have known that the last time that Sachin Tendulkar played a Test match before Lord’s, he scored a century at Cape Town and his battle with Dale Steyn there was one for the ages. Some English fans would like to think that Dale Steyn is not the best pacer around currently and James Anderson pips him in that list, but even they would have to agree that whoever is No. 1, the other is certainly No. 2 without much difference between them!
I don’t have any problem with anyone expressing certain opinions, popular or unpopular, about any cricketer. But when it gets insulting and disrespectful, then I consider it an abuse of the power that they possess in the media.
I like to ignore such disrespectful views, and don’t even bother glancing at what comments they receive. I bring them up for discussion only with reasonable people who will respond to it in a balanced manner, and that is why I am discussing that article with you right now!
Like I said, I don’t have a problem with people expressing opinions, and any criticism of Sachin Tendulkar is the opinion of the critic. That’s absolutely fine! But when respected journalists who have the power of a large readership use baseless arguments to deride any sportsman, it is unfair to the sportsman as well as to his/her readers.
I have myself criticised Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni, Sehwag, Strauss, Pietersen, Broad, Anderson, Ponting, Steyn and almost every other cricketer. Had Sir Don Bradman played his cricket in this era, then who knows I might even have criticised him some time! I am an armchair critic after all, am I not! But you would not find me use baseless arguments to deride any sportsman and come to a conclusion that insults his abilities! This is why it riles me up when people who have the power to reach out to a larger audience do such a thing.
I know you are not a Darren Gough fan, and I remember you once commented on my blog too about the same. I remember Darren Gough said that England can beat India every day of the week. And even though it was an arrogant statement to make at that time, England did beat India literally everyday of the week this summer! So hard as it was for me as an Indian cricket fan, I have just tried to swallow this bitter pill of whitewash and look ahead to the future of Indian cricket. Gough was right this time, but his prophecies will not always come true!
About the mud-slinging bit… please don’t even think that I called your article a mud-slinging piece. Absolutely not! Mud-slinging is what was happening in the comments section of Scyld Berry’s articles and various other such articles. Like you, I enjoy good-natured banter, but not mud-slinging!
And the last bit… the reason why I said that mud-slinging, if it happens again in the winter of 2012, will be fair is going by the sentiments that we have seen over this summer. By fair, I meant that it won’t be surprising to see it happen again! I do not intend to say that I will silently be supportive of it if it happens again!
I know it is futile to enter into a “who started it” debate… it is a vicious circle. So I think that it will only be fair to end this comment by accepting that the last line you wrote is just about the best way of describing this situation – “I am prepared to accept that both sides are probably as bad as each other and that it got out of hand.”
Cricket Betting Blog
Shridhar, I can honestly say I wasn’t accusing you of saying I was mud slinging, it was meant in a general term to what has gone on in recent weeks. And I know you are always constructive and balanced in your views and not hysterical which was a word I used to describe certain other elements.
I agree with your view that Twitter isn’t the best way to judge opinions and can be a bad experience, as it is full of idiots. I already know this and should choose to ignore it.
Berry’s article wasn’t great, I’ve already as good as said that and I take your point about him being in a position of influence to peddle rubbish and influence people, but the view you’ve expressed didn’t form the basis of the responses to the article, that I read.
When you word it as you have, I can now see where you are coming from.
But some of the other responses were unbelievable, going on about the Duke ball, bad sportsmanship, etc, that’s what riled me.
Berry was clearly trying to be provocative, but I don’t believe that Jonathan Agnew was and I think the abuse he got was totally unjustified.
I stand by my belief that there is a section of people out there who will react to anything constructively negative about Sachin in an abusive and brainless manner.
I’m well aware that you are not one of those people.
A lot of people seem to react because the (or any other) article is about Sachin, rather than the actual content of the article (the part you reacted too). That’s why I was defending Berry’s right to write the article to the anonymous contributor.
I obviously misread your point about my piece being one sided, I thought you were saying I was only viewing it from an English point of view, I apologise.
For the record I think Dale Steyn is better, he performs in all conditions. Anderson’s home and away records are chalk and cheese (apart from last years Ashes).
Also, Glenn McGrath does a similar thing to what Gough did ahead of every Ashes series, I see the funny side of it and for years it was hard to disagree with him.
I’ll leave it at the point where we agree that both sets of ‘fans’ are probably as bad as each other.