Money Talks

Melbourne: Cricket Australia (CA) bore a scathing attack from its furious players and local media for bowing to the BCCI’s “money power” and letting Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh off the hook with minimal punishment.
“It shows how much power India has. The Aussie guys aren’t going to make it up. The players are frustrated because this shows how much influence India has, because of the wealth they generate. Money talks,” an unnamed Australian player was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.

‘Cricket’s Day of Shame’ cried a headline in the paper and the report said the players were dismayed to hear “Harbhajan had avoided any meaningful punishment”.

The report also said that CA caved in to India’s muscle flexing as it was anxious to save the tri-series because it feared to be sued for a figure understood to be about $60 million if India quit the tour.
Hey, stop cribbing, that's what superpowers do. Yes, we are the superpower of cricket :
"World cricket authorities have caved in to the game's financial superpower, India, and Cricket Australia has incurred the wrath of its own test players by pressuring them to drop a racial slur charge against Harbhajan Singh," the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

"The Board of Control for Cricket in India had even chartered a plane to take its players home tomorrow if the Indian player's three-test suspension -- for calling Australia's Andrew Symonds a monkey during the Sydney test -- had not been overturned at yesterday's appeal in the Federal Court in Adelaide."

Former Somerset captain Peter Roebuck, writing in the same newspaper, said the Indian cricket board should be condemned for their abuse of power.

"If this is the way the Indian board intends to conduct its affairs hereafter, then God help cricket," Roebuck wrote.

"Brinkmanship or not, threatening to take their bat and ball home in the event of a resented verdict being allowed to stand was an abomination. It sets a dreadful precedent. What price justice now?" Peter Lalor, writing in the national broadsheet The Australian, said the decision was further proof of India's ability to wield their financial power to win events off the field.
And what about Roebuck's comment? His call for Ponting to be sacked and his 'pack of wild dogs' charge were widely reported. But this 'God help cricket' charge languishes in some hidden hole.

There has been a rebuttal by the Indian team:
The Indian cricket team today denied reports that they had chartered a plane to fly its players home on Thursday if bowler Harbhajan Singh was not cleared of racially taunting Australian player Andrew Symonds.

Arriving at Melbourne Airport this afternoon with the team in preparation for Friday's Twenty20 match with Australia at the MCG, the team's media spokesman Dr M.V. Sridhar said the team had not made any such plans.

''I don't know where that came from.There was no thinking like that at all. After what happened yesterday, we're going forward so that the game goes on,'' the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Sridhar, as saying.
A lie of course:
Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket in India on Monday reiterated its stand on the Harbhajan Singh ban issue and threatened to call of the remainder of the tour of Australia unless the alleged racial abuse charge against the Indian off-spinner was withdrawn in the two-day appeals hearing starting on Tuesday.

“Our stand remains the same as was the case earlier. We want the racial slur (against Harbhajan Singh) to be lifted. Otherwise the BCCI will recall the team from Australia,” said its Vice-President Lalit Modi on Monday.
My break with cricket is almost complete. Money power, the media circus, accusations of match fixing that keep surfacing, transformation of half-baked cricketers into national heroes overnight - who wants all of that? And of course, the Greg Chappell saga that started the downhill slide for me. I still follow results and the ever new controversies tepidly but indifferently move on to something else. And to think that not very long ago, I considered anyone who didn't watch and follow cricket a bit strange and exotic and a bit difficult to connect with.
Update: Human error led to Bhajji not being banned:
ICC appeals commissioner, New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen, blamed administrative error for the spinner escaping a possible ban.

Hansen said the ICC informed him of one prior offence of the spinner but discovered after handing down his verdict that Harbhajan had been penalised on four previous occasions.

"At the end of the day Mr Singh can feel himself fortunate that he has reaped the benefit of these database and human errors," he wrote in his judgment.

Speed said: "It is very unfortunate that human error led to Justice Hansen not having the full history of Harbhajan's previous Code of Conduct breaches and the ICC accepts responsibility for this mistake."
Human error. Yeah, tell it to the fricking birds.

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