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January 2008

It woz Roy wot started it

Justice Hansen's report on the Harbhajan Singh appeal case arrived from the ICC in the form of a 22-page document yesterday evening. The Australian has converted it to one very long HTML page - but beware, it contains:

  • Frequent Coarse Language (in English and Punjabi),
  • Violence (Harbhajan Singh slapping Brett Lee's buttock),
  • Sexual References (see Frequent Coarse Language and Violence),
  • Horror (the ICC's disciplinary records database),
  • Adult Themes (discussion of the appropriate standard of proof with reference to "The Queen on the application of Dr Harish Doshi v the Southend-On-Sea Primary Care Trust"), and
  • Not-At-All-Adult-Themes (see Frequent Coarse Language, Violence, and Horror).

Welcome to Collusion Central

Harbhajan Singh's successful appeal against his Level 3 transgression, and its replacement with a Level 2 charge, seems on the surface of things to be the right decision, though I think the penalty imposed (50 per cent of his "match fee" - whatever that is) is light. The use of obscene language in an abusive context, regardless of the language in which it is spoken, is abhorrent.

We will know later today more about Justice Hansen's reasons for the findings when he releases his full written statement. Meanwhile, the reports that are coming out concerning back-room deals before the appeal hearing are very disturbing.

Is Team India attempting to pervert the course of justice?

The hearing of Harbhajan Singh's appeal against his ICC Code of Conduct breach has begun in camera in Adelaide today. Appeals Commissioner, Justice John Hansen, briefed the media yesterday on the procedures to be undertaken.

With due legal process taking its course under the watchful eye of a New Zealand High Court judge, why then:

  1. Is the BCCI demanding that Harbhajan Singh be found not guilty?
  2. Has the Indian team refused to travel from Adelaide to Melbourne today as scheduled until the outcome of Harbhajan's appeal is handed down tomorrow?
  3. Have Indian team sources claimed that the squad will return home if Harbhajan's "racism" charge is not dropped?

Are they attempting to influence the outcome of the appeal through public threats? Are they going to refuse to accept any decision they don't like? Having had the appeal hearing delayed until the conclusion of the Test series, are they trying to do "whatever it takes" to keep Harbhajan Singh available for selection for the Indian eleven?

"Attempting to pervert the course of justice" - does this rather ugly cap fit the BCCI head?

Suharto 1921-2008

"It is true that I liked him and valued his friendship"

- Paul Keating on Suharto, "Engagement" (2000)

Is there anything nice to say about a man who was responsible for the deaths of more than a million people, crushed at least three national independence movements, and embezzled billions of dollars? And to whom a succession of Australian Prime Ministers acquiesced most shamefully? (As, famously, did Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger.)

Stock obituary from Associated Press just out. Read this 1998 press release from Transparency International about the Suharto family wealth published shortly after his resignation.

A couple of weeks ago, Al Jazeera English hosted a discussion of Suharto's legacy. Video (in two parts) on Youtube below. And check out, in particular, Suharto's former economic adviser as he defends his former boss.

Bicentenary of the Glorious Revolution of January 26

It's January 26 today, and to all my Indian friends I wish a happy Republic Day. It is also Australia Day here. Maybe we, too, in Australia will one day have a Republic Day to celebrate...

It is 220 years since Captain Arthur Phillip took his fleet of eleven Royal Navy ships into a harbour, set anchor and claimed the land in the name of King George III, despite the fact that there had been no attempt to consult with, or compensate, the existing owners of the land, the Cadigal people of the Eora nation.

Faqih, you got him third ball!

It was during the one-day tri-series of 1981-82. Australia versus Pakistan, from memory I think it was the Adelaide Oval game. Javed Miandad, a few weeks after his legendary contretemps with Dennis Lillee, was in hot water for apparently being overhead shouting the F-word to Greg Chappell as the Australian captain was leaving the field after being dismissed.

In the days well before codes of conduct and match referees, Javed explained that he was actually greeting the successful wicket-taker, off-spinning all-rounder Ijaz Faqih.

Javed's words to Ijaz in Urdu translate into English as, "Faqih, you got him third ball!"

Monkeys, bastards and Hoggs

Brad Hogg has been charged with "making an offensive remark" to Anil Kumble and MS Dhoni during India's second innings of the Sydney Test on Sunday. The ICC announced the charge, laid by Indian manager Chetan Chauhan, on Tuesday. Match referee Mike Procter will hear the charge next Monday. Hogg has been charged with a Level 3 offence under paragraph 3.3 of the ICC Code of Conduct - the same category of offence for which Harbhajan Singh has been found guilty, and is currently appealing.

Paragtaph 3.3 reads as follows:

"3.3 Using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, gender, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin."

You know you're having a bad tour when...

...the team bus sideswipes a parked car as it was leaving the hotel. It happened to the Indian team as they left Sydney for Canberra, 48 hours behind schedule, this morning.

Macquarie National News has video. You don't actually see the prang, just the sound of a bang and the crowd going "ooh" as the bus pulled out of the kerb outside the Radisson Hotel, Sydney.