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Thread: Cricket & The Net

  1. #1
    RTDAS pasag's Avatar
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    Cricket & The Net

    An article from today's paper I'm sure everyone here can relate to:

    Cyber sledging draws back the cultural curtain

    THE new, cyber world is flat and ye olde cricket world suddenly finds itself naked before the eyes of a billion flickering screens and bewildered by the shriek of real-time global feedback.

    Controversial decisions are replayed on YouTube. Opinions voiced on blogs, private and commercial. News stories are beamed from the SCG to Channel Nine and Chennai. The emphasis and angle of those stories is rarely the same.

    One thing has become apparent in the din of this feverish summer and it is that the modern game is played in front of an international audience whose opinions shout and shape with the immediacy and volume once reserved for the heartily lunged likes of Yabba on Sydney's hill.

    Should Yabba have shouted at Harbhajan Singh to leave our flies alone he may well have found himself featured at the top of the next hour's news bulletin everywhere from Kashmir to Kochi and the subject of blog-analysis in Mumbai and Baroda.

    "Fat Aussie Fool with Fly Fetish attacks her Bhaji! Effigy Burned in Punjap Protest!"

    Things have changed irrevocably.

    Quantum physicists believe the act of watching affects the observed reality. Cricket is not immune, but this summer it has become apparent that its observed reality is affected by the number and cultural backgrounds of the observer.

    The 1986 tied Test was not televised in Australia. Nobody followed the ball-by-balls on a website. YouTube did not post the footage of Greg Matthews trapping Maninder Singh in front of his stumps.

    Travelling Australian journalists, like this newspaper's Mike Coward, did not upload stories to web pages, instead they trundled down from the Madras press box and formed an impatient queue at the telex machine. The story was shoe-horned into the morning editions by compositors with a flaccid fag and a flashing blade.

    "Overjoyed of East Perth" had his opinions published the day after his thoughts landed on the letters editor's desk.

    Debates about whether Maninder nicked it on to his pads or not probably didn't make it past the bar of the cricketers' three star hotel.

    The 2007-08 Indian summer down under has been played with a billion subcontinental fans standing in a cyber slips cordon. Their opinions, their anger and their joy transmitted by the megabyte to websites at home and here.

    American economist Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat explores the world-changing implications that arose from the decision by first world computer companies to hot-wire India with broadband cable in an attempt to mine the cheap IT labour available there.

    Suddenly, Indians were doing your accounting, typing up your medical records, designing aeroplanes, drawing shopping malls, organising your banking, ringing to check your restaurant reservation and shouting their opinions down the line to your favourite website.

    It's nothing to get xenophobic about. Indeed, we might all hold hands and break into a chorus from Imagine, the one that dreams misty eyed about "no countries" and "nothing to kill or die for". Because of it cricket and cricketers have suddenly had to confront broader sensibilities. Who'd have thunk "bastard" could be so offensive? That sledging was considered to be so unsporting?

    Blindfolds have been removed.

    For years, English journalists had reacted in dismay every time they heard an Australian refer to Poms and Pakis. Didn't they know it was an affectionate abbreviation? Didn't Australians know how offensive the term **** was in London?

    The moment it appeared on the internet they did.

    The game cannot remain the same under such levels of scrutiny.

    Once it shifted chameleon-like from country to country. What happened on tour stayed on tour. If there was an affront to international sensibilities it was handled by telex and diplomatic cable.

    Sunil Gavaskar says that he knew subcontinental umpires were terrible because every visiting cricketer and journalist told him so. Imagine his surprise when he travelled and found that the umpires of Australia and England were similarly error-prone.

    He'd never read that.

    Now an Indian player can text the board, a teleconference can be arranged and an international campaign conducted via email and mobile phone while local officials monitor websites in Calcutta.

    In the wake of the Sydney Test one of the local newspapers published a poll suggesting that somewhere in the vicinity of 80 per cent thought the Australian boys didn't play cricket in the right spirit. It was a sobering figure. Had a country never short on face painters turned?

    Closer examination of this poll and many others revealed that an extraordinary number of respondents had names like Ashish and Anand. Chain emails had circulated encouraging Indians to respond. The polls were no less valid for the contribution, in fact they were probably more so.

    For the first time in cricket's long history the behaviour and events on the field weren't conducted behind a cultural curtain. For the first time the stands were split 50:50. When Australians booed the Indians cheered. When locals advocated one thing they advocated another. For the first time Australian cricket saw itself as others saw it. It was quite confronting. Who knows where the truth lies? It was not always in the middle.

    There are wider implications arising from the flattened state of the world. Australia's cricketers will soon be sold off in a cattle auction to privatised Twenty20 franchises in the Indian Premier League.

    Sony television has apparently paid an improbable $US1billion for the television rights and you can be sure it will be selling off part of this cost to the world's cable television stations.

    The IPL tournament will almost certainly be sent back here via cable and this is causing Cricket Australia a new level of angst. In the past the organisation has had a couple of internationally protected sponsors.

    It had others protected nationally which meant players could not be involved with competitors in Australia but might be able to play footsies offshore. CA has put a handbrake on players signing contracts with the IPL for fear that the new franchises may be sponsored by companies in opposition to those that pay to be aligned with the cricketers locally.

    It is an area player managers, the IPL and CA are wrestling over.

    The true elephant in the room, however, is the realisation that cricketers could be worth more to a private Twenty20 franchise trying to win a competition that is over inside two months than they are to boards who want to contract the player for Tests, one-day internationals and Twenty20s over a 12-month period.

    New Zealand's Shane Bond is the latest cricketer to turn his back on his country for the lure of money in the rebel Indian league.

    "Some people are always going to think you're a traitor, and I can live with that," Bond told Indian-based website Cricinfo this weekend.

    "There's a right way and a wrong way of going about improving your circumstances and I think I went about it the right way, so I don't understand why people would be calling me disloyal.

    "I find it strange that in any other job people accept that you try to improve your circumstances and get in a better position to provide for your family, but it's almost like you're not supposed to do that in sport."

    Friedman wrote that while once the greatest threat to the first world was extreme communism, the greatest threat now is the extreme capitalism as practised in places like India, South Korea and China. He wasn't suggesting the US dust off any more nuclear warheads, just that the old world wake up and prepare itself for the new, flatter, landscape.

    There's a lesson there for cricket and it's not a xenophobic one.
    Rest In Peace Craigos
    2003-2012

  2. #2
    Cricket Web Content Updater roseboy64's Avatar
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    Good read.
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  3. #3
    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Top article. CW seems like a contradiction of the article in a sense - opinions clash against each other until they both mellow out to a generally-accepted forum-wide norm (see the consensus reached on Murali's action and Mohammed Sami). In the real world, things only get tenser.

    The clash of cultures and exposure to cultural difference rings true, though.
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    Englishman BoyBrumby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongHopCassidy View Post
    Top article. CW seems like a contradiction of the article in a sense - opinions clash against each other until they both mellow out to a generally-accepted forum-wide norm (see the consensus reached on Murali's action and Mohammed Sami). In the real world, things only get tenser.

    The clash of cultures and exposure to cultural difference rings true, though.
    I do think CW can be a wee bit Stalinist with regards to its received opinions at times. Those of us who, in our weaker moments, maybe do sometimes wonder about the legality of Murali's action tend to hold our counsel, lest we be thought anti-scientific luddites or worse.

    Very interesting article tho. & I'd say that, even on CW, there tends to be divergences of opinion along national lines. Not absolutely, or anything like, but there are patterns.

    To use an example from the recent-ish past but where the dust has settled slightly, let's take Ovalgate. I think the vast majority on here had sympathy for Pakistan initially (myself included) with the high-handed way Hair imposed the 5-run penalty, but a lot of CWers (again self amongst them) stopped short of condoning their protest. Now I'm trying to put this as carefully as possible, but I would guess that amongst those who supported Pakistan's non-appearance after the tea break folk of sub-continental extraction were over-represented (although by no means all) & amongst those who didn't there was a majority of posters who have Anglo backgrounds.

    Now, if we assume most of us aren't bullet-headed racists and/or nationalists this must a a cultural thing, yes?
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  5. #5
    International Captain LongHopCassidy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby
    I do think CW can be a wee bit Stalinist with regards to its received opinions at times. Those of us who, in our weaker moments, maybe do sometimes wonder about the legality of Murali's action tend to hold our counsel, lest we be thought anti-scientific luddites or worse.
    Precious little semantic difference between 'mellow' and 'suppression' here, I'll grant you. In any case, post reported.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBrumby
    Very interesting article tho. & I'd say that, even on CW, there tends to be divergences of opinion along national lines. Not absolutely, or anything like, but there are patterns.

    To use an example from the recent-ish past but where the dust has settled slightly, let's take Ovalgate. I think the vast majority on here had sympathy for Pakistan initially (myself included) with the high-handed way Hair imposed the 5-run penalty, but a lot of CWers (again self amongst them) stopped short of condoning their protest. Now I'm trying to put this as carefully as possible, but I would guess that amongst those who supported Pakistan's non-appearance after the tea break folk of sub-continental extraction were over-represented (although by no means all) & amongst those who didn't there was a majority of posters who have Anglo backgrounds.

    Now, if we assume most of us aren't bullet-headed racists and/or nationalists this must a a cultural thing, yes?
    Of course, but that's on a culturally divisive issue arbitrated by a fella who'd pulled a stunt like this before (against Our Murali () no less). It's to be expected that people would rally for and against Hair on unspoken cultural lines considering the battle lines he'd hitherto drawn. Very much a case, I think, of people playing the man and not the action. The fact he'd pulled them up on a habit stereotypically given to Pakistani cricketers was only fuel to the fire in that regard. Given the exceptional circumstances, I don't think there's much there that wouldn't naturally divide people into cultural schools of debate, and would be surprised if it suggested any deeper trends of bias on the forums.

    On a technical basis (i.e. appraising player's quality), CWers are by and large unbiased and unracially motivated (save a few) for my money. If anything, it's methodology of analysis they'll cling to so desperately. In terms of purely analytical debate, there's a general consensus across the board met on most of the contentious issues (which albeit stifles a lot of opposition ).

    As it stands, I think it's the high standard of argument and reasoning expected of anyone seeking to drive a point home that seperates us from the Youtube-commenting-unwashed the article alludes to.
    Last edited by LongHopCassidy; 05-02-2008 at 08:34 AM.

  6. #6
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    Agree with almost everything, except:

    The game cannot remain the same under such levels of scrutiny.
    Why not? It can, and it has to.
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  7. #7
    Virat Kohli (c) Jono's Avatar
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    On major issues (Hair at the Oval, the Sydney farce etc.) which involve opposing cultures (without being too simplistic: anglos vs. subcontinent) there is obviously a divide. But that'll occur whether its on the internet, talk-back radio, discussions at a bar etc.

    Regarding the article, obviously technology has further exacerbated the extent to which cricket controversy can spread, particularly international ones. In a way I think its a good thing, as it involves more scrutiny in situations like the Oval and Sydney. Going further, the Symonds situation in India with the racist crowds. This information needs to be spread (so long as its not manipulated... which it always will be I guess).
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  8. #8
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
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    I don't really have problem with many of the controversies, at least not abstractly. Do I wish the ovalgate and monkeygate hadn't happened? Speficially, yes. But our game is still ruled by 19th century sentiments, and hopefully these scandals will force it up to the 21st century.



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