IN AUSTRALIA, as in many other countries, the use of recreational drugs is illegal. Yet the Australia Football League, the body that administers Australian rules football nationally, knows and hides the names of several players who have been known to indulge in the usage of drugs.
The AFL’s drugs policy is a curious beast. It will only name players when they have been caught thrice. The league tests players both in and out of season and any infractions are noted.
In 2012, there were 26 positive tests. Had any of these players been operating under the code of the World Anti Doping Agency and tested positive on match day, that would have meant a ban of two years.
Continue reading How the AFL shields law-breakers
THE last time Australia lost six Tests in a row, it lost a captain with the fifth of those losses. That was Kim Hughes who wept openly at a press conference as he resigned.
He had led the team to three defeats in the Caribbean in 1984 and his team lost the first two Tests of the return series in Australia. The opposition was the mighty West Indies; Allan Border took over and suffered defeat in the third Test to complete the run of six losses. A draw broke that run of defeats, before Border led the team to victory in the final Test.
This time, after being brownwashed by India in a four-Test series and losing the first two Ashes Tests, Australia will not lose its captain. One must, however, question whether the players should shoulder all the blame for the hammerings they are taking.
Continue reading Australia’s Test losses: six, and counting
BACK in March, when Australia played India in a Test series, the Decision Review System, the use of technology to query on-field umpiring decisions, was not used because India had not agreed to it.
During the series there were often howls of protest in Australian circles.
Australia played four Tests and was roundly thrashed 4-0. Several decisions which were said to be critical to the result went against Australia. There was no way to cross-check these decisions and the lament always was “if only these Indians had agreed to use the DRS…”
In other words, four months back, DRS was A Good Thing.
Continue reading Whinging Poms or whinging Aussies?
THE Australian Broadcasting Corporation is a government-funded entity which operates on the lines of the BBC. It provides some of the better media content in the country, but this is not surprising since the standards of the rest are abysmally low. Murdoch-owned media constitute about 70 per cent of the country’s industry – that should say it all.
Given that it lives off the taxpayer, the ABC has many rules and regulations that govern its operations. It is meant to be accountable. But, then politicians are also meant to be accountable. And both often get away with blue murder.
The ABC’s arrogance is visible on occasion, though for the most part it hides behind the weasel words that are so much a part of public life today. The following incident will illustrate the level of contempt the corporation – living off the public teat, in case one has forgotten – shows.
Continue reading Conflicted guests compromise the ABC’s standards
SINCE when did cricketers – or any other sportsmen for that matter – become the moral compass of the people? Since when was it wrong to do anything that passed muster with the authorities in a sport in order to win?
The shrill chorus that has erupted over the action of England cricketer Stuart Broad, who did not walk after he was clearly caught at slip by the Australian captain Michael Clarke on day three of the first Ashes Test, is truly astonishing. Of course, the Australian media has a good reason to shout: this would be the ideal excuse for the defeat that is surely coming on day five.
All that happened was that the umpire, Aleem Dar, got slightly confused by the fact that the ball first hit the hands of Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and then went to Clarke. Haddin fumbled at it and missed it and Dar was unsighted by this. He gave it as not out. Each side has two chances to review decisions but by then Australia had no chances left; the second was wasted on a stupid review that Clarke called for.
Continue reading Much ado about nothing: sportsmen are not the moral compass of any nation
WHEN sport comes along, major sport that is, international contests, everything else is pushed to the background in Australia.
And you can’t get bigger than the Ashes, the contest for cricket supremacy between Australia and England. There is a lot of history which gives the contest its importance: for example, Australia is a former convict colony of Britain and that rankles a lot, even to this day.
This time around, it may not be the most even of contests, given that Australia is comparatively weak on paper and based on its most recent outings against other countries.
Continue reading When the Ashes come around, everything else loses its importance
SO Egypt’s mild flirtation with democracy a la West is over. And it is unlikely to ever return. It’s happened on a good day too – the US celebrates its independence day and Egypt celebrates military rule. What a coincidence!!!
The problem is that the West wants its own systems imposed on other countries – in order to benefit economically. The idea that one cannot bring in a Westminster system and superimpose it on a different model does not really register with people at the US state department.
Mohammed Mursi is from the Muslim Brotherhood. He may be less extreme in his thinking than others in the same movement. But, obviously, he has never been a candidate of choice for the folk in Washington.
Continue reading Back to the good old Mubarak days in Egypt
THE brilliant American comedian Dave Chappelle often refers to himself as a connoisseur of racism. A keen observer of the way in which people of colour are discriminated against in the US, Chappelle is quick to use his observations in his stand-up routines.
He would certainly find plenty of material in Australia. The rich vein of racism that flows through the country is for the most part unnoticed. It is considered normal, a part of everyday life. But from time to time, we are reassured that when it comes to racism, Australia is in the front ranks.
A day back, Australia’s first Muslim member of federal parliament, Ed Husic, was promoted to the front bench. He, naturally, took his oath of office on the book of his faith, the Quran. Only a rank idiot would expect him to swear on the Bible, or the Gita or the Torah, given that these texts have no significance to him.
Continue reading Australia: Muslims not welcome here