Read the words on the billboard behind Hayden. Add a H in front and one would think indeed with all the off-the-field cricket drama, it is a “hard life”. This may have become somewhat of a regular affair. But for chutzpah, it lacks little. Once again swords are drawn as the first Test between India and Australia gets underway. But is the pen, rather tongue, mightier than the sword?
First it was the Harbhajan Singh- Matthew Hayden spat. Now it is the Virender Sehwag-Ricky Ponting revival saga. Somewhere in between Ponting found time to tell how cricket is played in India and what Sourav Ganguly’s retirement means for the Indian team.
While Bhajji is clearly not in the mood to make friends, at least not with the Australians, Hayden virtually shares the same sentiment conversely. While Hayden is interested in seeing what Harbhajan would bowl at him this time round, Harbhajan is, hopefully for Indian fans, thinking more of his deliveries than his dialogues to sort out the Australians like he did in the glorious chapter of the 2001 series.
Sehwag has not missed a beat either. Speaking to a television network, Sehwag felt it was the right move not to enter into pacts that involving trusting the fielding captain. After what happened down under, the Indians would have been wary in any case and this would have only prompted Sehwag to speak what was on his mind.
Ponting though is not seeing the lighter side of it. Branding it an insult, Ponting has slammed the Indian team for their negative memories and pessimistic approach towards the Australians. He has gone further to add that Ganguly’s impending retirement will put more pressure on the other Indian seniors which would work well in Australia’s favour. It goes without saying that there will be no sympathy from the Australias; and neither will it be asked for or expected of. Ponting himself is under considerable pressure notwithstanding the second innings against the Board President’s XI and the point will not be lost on the Indians, if they can keep their eyes on the game on the field and not the one being played in front of the press and public.
Perhaps it would be pretty safe to view the Australian skipper’s words as a bit of a bravado when he referred to the Indians as playing old fashioned cricket. After all the Australia may be world champions; but the team has members that have barely tasted five day grinds on Indian soil; something the Indian team would do well to exploit.
It’s time to lay the pen to rest. The swords are being sharpened and to battle it is then, that we must go.
To read more on the Australians making waves or Indians digging for new grounds, revisit the back pages of Crickblog…September and October have them covered!