Category Archives: Matthew Hayden

Shahid Afridi’s Bizarre Ball Tampering Apology

According to Cricinfo, Shahid Afridi offered this bizarre non-apology apology after he was caught ball-tampering:

“I shouldn’t have done it. It just happened. I was trying to help my bowlers and win a match, one match,” he told Geo TV, a Pakistan-based news channel. “There is no team in the world that doesn’t tamper with the ball. My methods were wrong. I am embarrassed, I shouldn’t have done it. I just wanted to win us a game but this was the wrong way to do it.”

Count the number of ways Afridi approaches his remorse: first, he righly admits he shouldn’t have done it. OK. But then, second, he says, it just happened (meaning, it was not pre-meditated), though chewing anything requires a fair amount of planning (hand-mouth coordination and all that). Then, and third, everyone does it (meaning, it’s something he should have done?).

As The New York Times reported this week (after Toyota flat out apologized for their faulty gas pedals), a good apology seems to have fallen out of fashion:

Examples of bad apologies abound. “ ‘I want to apologize’ is not an apology,” Ms. Weeks said. “It’s no more an apology than ‘I want to lose weight’ is a loss of weight.”

How about “I’m sorry if you were offended,” or “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings”? These imply that the injured party is just too sensitive. “I’ve been agonizing about this. I’ve been losing sleep. I feel so bad.” These suggest that the wronged party should take care of the apologizer. And then there’s, going on attack — “Are you going to hold this against me forever?” — if the apology isn’t immediately accepted.

For another example, see Matthew Hayden’s faux apology after he mocked Ishant Sharma’s accent.

Is Retirement Obsolete?

Given how well Anil Kumble, Matthew Hayden, Sanath Jayasuriya, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and so on did in the 2009 IPL, should we put aside the ritual of retirement altogether?

Obviously at some point, it’s necessary, since a 50-year-old Kumble may not be as good as a 30-something one (though I recall the 1996 World Cup featuring one 47-year-old from Holland, I think). But, still, Jayasuriya’s pressing 40 and I’d hate to see the Sri Lankan team without him, and even though the Australian team claims to have moved on, wouldn’t it be so much more menacing with Matthew Hayden at its head? (And wouldn’t the English team look so much better with Mark Ramprakash in it?) Continue reading

Australian Cricket Writings

It’s a genre of its own, steadily expanding: first, there was Adam Gilchrist, and all the revelations of an un-sportsmanlike Tendulkar. Then, there was Ricky Ponting, offering another account of the Sydney crisis. And now, the main man himself, Andrew Symonds, picks up the plume and begins to write himself. Where does this all leave us?

First: Gilchrist, I think, is an idiot. Continue reading

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Mohali Madness

Oh. My. God. I know I’ll regret this post when I read it later in more sober times, but OMG. If you’re not watching India play Australia right this second, you’re missing out a prime example of Test cricket’s drama and verve.

First, the Australians come out “all guns blazing,” as Ravi Shastri would say. Even in the best of times, Matthew Hayden seems angry and too confident for me, but he seemed downright furious at the Indians, and not because of any apparent verbal spat. It’s almost as if the Australians — used to winning over and over again — could not fathom that an opponent would have them wait to get their chance to bat. Each successive hit to the boundary looked like Hayden meting out extra punishment to some errant schoolboys who hadn’t learned their place on the playground. 

But, as I said in the lower post, this Australia is not the one it used to be. Continue reading

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England’s Highs and Lows

Over at Debatable Land, Alex Massie offers a compelling theory of what a good batting team needs to be good. In cricket, he says, it’s not just about averages (Tendulkar’s 55, or Dravid’s 57, or whatever), but about highs and lows. So, when a batsman strikes good form, he needs to really make it count and dominate a series and, one hopes, even a summer. Foreign teams throw up a number of such figures: Mohammad Yousuf for Pakistan, circa 2006-7; Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden (to name only a few) for Australia; Kevin Pietersen for England last year. These guys are always good, but during their good days, their averages went through the roof, allowing their teammates to group around them.

The problem with England, however, is that no one is currently really firing, and it doesn’t look like anyone will. Continue reading

Macho, Macho Men: Australians Reveal Their Masculine Side

The sun never set on the British Empire, but the same cannot be said of the cricketing world, its chief colonial legacy (apart from, you know, the rule of law and all that). Already a fairly small coterie of 10 or 11 countries (depending on Zimbabwe’s mood), it doesn’t help that several members suffer from regular terror attacks and general instability, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even mother country, England.

It’s a sad state of affairs — so much for cricket’s civilizing mission — because international cricketers must regularly choose on the one hand between their safety and political ideas (especially with regards to Robert Mugabe) and playing the sport that they’re paid for on the other.

But while I don’t want to burden cricket with any more political baggage than it already has, Andrew Symonds has forced my hand. Although many on the Australian team have expressed reluctance to tour Pakistan in its current state, Symonds has been the most outspoken, joking last year about the number of bombs that form a part of daily life in that country. Even if the tour itinerary is shortened; even if security is beefed up; Symonds says he doesn’t want to go. Full Stop.

Obviously, I don’t wish harm on anybody, least of all cricketers, but Symonds — and the Australian team in general — cannot walk out of this corner without at least admitting to hypocrisy and, at the most, cowardice (Yeah! I’m calling ’em yella’, you hear!). Continue reading

It’s Racial Vilification, Mate: Hayden’s Racist Turn

There are two parts to this post: the first, unsubtle and emotional, the second nuanced and, uh, emotional. Let’s to it:

1. Matthew Hayden is an absolute idiot. No, I don’t care that he called Harbhajan an “obnoxious weed,” partially because I think he’s justified. Indian players are worshipped and adored, and too many of them — Yuvraj, I think, in particular — act as if their reputations will absolve anything (see Dileep Premachandran’s horrifying post about India’s crazed younger cricket players and their “attitood”). So, Harbhajan may not be that cheery a guy. Whatever.

No, my problem is this: Continue reading