1. Get emotional & stupid - check
2. Confuse patriotism with logic and sport. Call this game a "national honor" - check
3. State issues and concerns as ambiguously as possible - check
4. Use an extremely incompetent media to add more ambiguity - check
5. Use Navjot Singh Sidhu to represent India in foriegn television and completely destroy credibility - check
6. Burn effigies to ensure that that India is perceived as a more barbaric civilization than Australia - check
7. Show general lack of awareness about nuances of the game - check
Video Replays: Seriously, Indian media should start watching the sport more closely and actually hear what the experts have to say. Listen to the opponents argument clearly. Then begin your defence. Mark Nicholas has been doing a good job of experimenting and educating the audience. During the lunch breaks and Tea breaks he is showing viewers how umpires get to view no-balls and snicks. He is showing live demonstrations that are far more instructive and educational than naming a donkey "Mark Benson" in Patna. In 2002 Indian tour of England there was a controversy regarding Sachin Tendulkar's catch. Mark Nicholas, then in Sky Sports commentary team, did an extensive experiment. I believe they have repeated that experiment several times after that. They showed this during lunch show. They had Mark Nicholas (or an old English spinner) spread his hands on the ground. Palms facing upwards and the back of the hands touching the ground. The ball was placed on the fielders palms. The bottom of the hand was raised a little so that the tip of the hand made a 30-45 degree angle with the ground. The hands were between the ball and the ground and the ball was not touching the ground.
Then they placed the camera directly above the hand. You could see that this was a legitimate catch. Then they slowly moved the camera away from the fielder. As the distance between the camera and the fielder increased the ball began to appear to touch the ground. At some distance, which was lesser than the distance at which TV cameras are usually placed, the ball clearly appeared to be touching the ground. It appeared as if the fielder had grounded the catch. The fielder had not moved his hand and the ball was still on top of his palms. It was still a legitimate catch but the video showed otherwise. The camera resolves 3-D images into 2-D images. It approximates a dimension. It does not resolve the depth ratio very well. As depth becomes a factor in the video - the dubiousness of the catch increases. This is a well established argument (though not yet a fact) - Video is unreliable. Every team, by now, knows that if the catch is taken reasonably close to the ground, it will not pass the scrutiny of video umpire. In that it will only result in 3rd umpire giving clear 'outs' as 'not outs' (this does not mean that all 'not out' decisions necessarily meant 'out'). India is not the first team to experience this.
Look at Prem Panicker, much like the millions of smug self-righteous indignated Indians around him, put a photograph of Ricky Ponting. This photograph is a freeze-frame taken from a video. The picture is only worth a 1000 stupid words. There is a saying in Thamizh; "Seeing is not believing. Hearing is not believing. Thorough Investigation is the way to go." How true is this here. This picture although on the surface extremely convincing, means nothing. Ask yourself this. Do you see the Advt board behind Ponting? What is the distance between Ponting and that board? Can you estimate that reliably with this picture. All the depth/breadth information is compacted into 1 plane. 3D becomes 1D. Let us say Prem Panicker makes a patently ridiculous claim based on the picture. Hypothetically, let us assume, he says that Ricky Ponting's head is only 3 cm away from the Advt Hoarding behind him. If this photo was the only evidence we had, we cannot effectively argue back. We has no way of proving beyond doubt that his claim is wrong. It is only because we saw the game and we know that he was in silly point, can we safely say that the board was far behind. This photograph is not taken to scale. Even amateur photographs when zoomed in to heavy close-ups reveal a different picture. This photograph shows that Ponting's head is 1 cm away from the ground. Obviously, in reality, his head was much higher than the ground. Now can anyone claim that only his head-ground distance was distorted in scale (or) everything else was distorted in scale but his hand-clutching-the-ball-touching-the-ground was perfectly reproduced to scale. Much the same way this photograph distorts the dimension the separates Ricky Ponting and the Advt hoarding behind him -it also distorts the distance between the ball and the ground. Video only gives us the second dimension that is missing in the photo. It resolves the distance between Ponting and the board. But it does not resolve the depth.
My claim - if you think video is reliable. If Prem or the Indian commentators or Indian media thinks so - tell us why. People will believe you if you make sense. Make a logical argument. Is anybody doing that? The ball maybe touching the ground. But only maybe. It also may not be touching the ground. We cannot use the video to make any claim with any sort of reasonable certainity. We certainly cannot say it did touch the ground. I hope for education sake, Channel 9 buys that video from Sky Sports and show it 100 times a day like that Karnanidhi arrest episode. This will shut up people who are over-convinced about Ganguly's catch and Ponting's grounding of the ball. This may also wake up people who believe that video evidence is fair and reliable. This unreliability is the reason why Sunil Gavaskar, an Indian, heading the ICC committee, has not approved for technology ruling on low catches. They have left it to the on-field captains. This brings us to the second part.
Pact, No Pact, Ponting Shows 'Out' signal: Apparently Indians are indignated that Mark Benson sought Ponting's permission to give his decision. I was seeing this live much like everybody else. One frame shows Ponting showing the 'out' signal to somebody on the right of the frame. One frame shows Benson nodding to someone to the left of the frame and showing 'out'. There are 3-4 fielders, bowler, Bucknor and Ganguly between Benson and Ponting. Nobody knows conclusively who is talking to who. Nobody knows conclusively the timing of the events. The commentators are not sure. They are merely discussing "Did Benson ask Ponting?". As much as I searched youtube (above and beyond the fact that I was watching every minute of the telecast) - I did not see these 2 actions performed in a single frame. Not one frame. There is no conclusive evidence to establish that Benson sought Ponting's opinion. One naughty commentator speculates and millions of Indians begin to ride on a rumor that is only a definite maybe. Is anybody thinking critically? Is there at least one person who can set aside emotion and wonder if there is indeed enough evidence.
Ponting could have shown the 'Out' signal to someone after Benson had given his 'out' signal. Benson could have been nodding at Ganguly, Bucknor, Lee - for that matter anybody and given his 'out'. Ponting could have been signalling to Lee, fielder, Ganguly. But somehow Indians have a special eye that has detected that Benson was indeed referring to Ponting and vice versa. He might have been signalling to Benson - but do we know it for sure from a silly concatenation of videos? How? What is this mad rush to assume things?
Let us assume for the sake of million emotional folks that Benson did indeed ask Ponting and Ponting did signal 'out' to Benson. Let us assume that this was the case - That brings the topic to this incestual 'pact'. The Age, SMH and many sources report that visting captains make a 'pact' with Home captain -called 'Captain's Agreement' on how they will behave during doubtful low-catches catches. This 'pact' - allegedly - states that if the Square leg umpire has no line of sight - the fielder's word will be taken to determine if the catch is legit or not. Video replay will be used as a last option because of the reasons stated above - Video replays are unreliable and 99% of legit catches result in 'not out' decisions. This was the reason behind the pact.
Now, how many Indians know about this pact? Which writer has referred to it so far? Kumble refers to it in his interview and it appears in 2 articles. Ponting refers to it in all his interviews. If it is true and Kumble agreed to the pact then Clarke or Ponting are within their right to show the 'out' signal. Even otherwise they can show the 'out' signal to appeal for a catch but its not necessary for Benson to acknowledge it or consider it. So even in the worst case if Benson did ask Pontings word for it, he is entitled to. Because Kumble agreed to it. Is there anyone talking about this? In 97 when India visited RSA, Cyril Mitchley made a 'Jonty Rhodes is a true Christian' argument to tell us all that Jonty's claim on Sachin's catch in the final was indeed true. How ridiculous was that? Now compare that situation to this - where there is a pact. The question is not 'Should benson ask Clarke?' - he can (if there is a pact). Kumble agreed to it. The question is "Can Clarke be trusted?"
The Logical Inconsistency: The next popular claim that the Indians are making is this. Michael Clarke stood his ground when he edged a catch to the slips and so his words regarding Ganguly's catch cannot be believed. What the Einsteins are saying here is that if he has displayed Behavior A in the past, he will only show behavior A in the future. Once a liar always a liar. Agreed. But let us be consistent on this. On the other hand, if Ricky Ponting has shown Behavior B in the past (he did not claim a catch) then the Einsteins believe that he will not necessarily show Behavior B in the future. Because their eyes were blinded by unreliable video - they believe a different rule applies to Ponting. Nobody can explain why different logic applies to Clarke and Ponting. Either people must be convinced that a player's current behavior has no causal relationship with his past behavior (I believe in this) and not use Clarke standing his ground as an argument (he could be very well lying but Kumble decided to get into bed with a liar) (or) People should assume that past behavior is an indicator of all future behavior and take Ponting's word as the ultimate truth (indian media believes only half of this). Its the jumping and dancing in the middle that is logically stupid. Ishanth Sharma stood his ground a good minute before he was given out. Does that make him the world's biggest liar?
India did not lose because Bhajji was charged as Racist: The real problem I have with Indian media is that although they may have valid points to bring up against Australians, the media is destroying India's credibility by confusing allegations and arguments. Harbhajan calling Symonds a monkey has no bearing on the defeat. It is irrelevant to the defeat. India lost the game because Ponting and Symonds were given not out when they were and Dravid was given out when he was not. (Remember - Sachin was plum LBW when he was in the 20s - he was let off and he made 154). It is a fact that if the decisions had gone the other way around (hypothetically if Symonds and Ponting were given 'out' when 'not out' and Dravid was let off when was out) Indians would have taken it and gone without complaints. It is not as if Indians would have not appealed or recalled the batsman. Indians did appeal for LBW when Ponting took an inside edge on to the pads. My problem is - what is the exact accusation against Australians? What have they done which the Indians would not have done or did not do - that directly contributed to India's defeat. In my mind the Aussies behaved exactly like the Indians.
My problem is everytime somebody asks 'what did the australians do' - the Indian bandwagon diverts the topic to bhajji's racism issue. That is not why we lost the game. Sledging is not why we lost the game. Bad umpiring is why we lost the game. What did the Australians have to do with that?
Thank god for Suresh Menon. He put the words I was searching for
If India's media are to be believed, the Indian players are angels, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an unpatriotic Gandhi-hater and should be condemned to watching Navjot Sidhu expressing his views on a dozen television channels.
Australian media is doing an exceptionally bad job. That does not mean that if they eat shit Indian media can eat shit too. Unfortunately, the Indian media is no better. In fact the Indian media is beating them at being biased and illogical. Prem Panicker in the column referred in the previous post uneccesarily uses words like 'condescending' to some 'white' author and refers to Sachin wanting to be 'not out'. The 'condescending' comment clearly is a sign of 'get the gora aadmi' jingoism. If anybody disagrees with Prem - whatever little they agree on is out of condescencion. What nonsense? 187 runs were addded because Sachin gave strike to tail-enders. Could Sachin have scored 187 runs by hitting out? All this silly posturing, filminess and a George Bush-like "are you with us or are you with them" is nauseating. There is no bigger shame to India than allowing Navjoth Sidhu to don the role of patriotic Indian and represent India in any forum.
I am terribly bummed with Bucknor and India's loss. Genuinely sad. If there is a legitimate greivance against the Aussies - I am willing to hear that. If Kumble is allowed to expand on the "spirit of the game" comment - maybe we will get to hear a legitimate grievance. But nobody seems to be interested in that. What was the pact about - What was violated? Was there a pact? These are more interesting questions in this entire monkey business.