Saturday, 19 May 2007

West Indian Fightback, Monty's Magic and Malcolm X

It was wonderful to see the West Indies fight back today. I was expecting the usual collapse and at 187-5 it seemed business as usual. Excellent innings by Bravo, Chanderpaul and Ramdin along with a gritty knock by Ganga ensured that the follow-on was avoided. Monty who many did not even expect to be selected to play on a pitch thought to be seamer friendly weaved his magic, but West Indians will feel that he was ably assisted by umpire Asad Rauf who give out three batsmen LBW in contentious circumstances. Some umpires have only recently begun giving batsmen out when struck in front playing forward to spinners. I believe that cricket is a game between bat and ball, I hate to see batsmen playing with their pads and I think in the past spinners have been disadvantaged by batsmen lunging forward with their pads in the knowledge that they will not be given out. However, if there is going to be a change it has to be across the board and it has to be implemented consistently- by each umpire every time he is called upon to make a decision and by the entire panel of international umpires. Yesterday Rauf made a mockery of the game- he had denied the West Indies a plumb LBW decision against Collingwood on the first day but then decided to undertake his experiment in interpretation of the rules when the West Indies were batting. I don’t want to appear paranoid but one must wonder if he has something against the West Indies.

West Indies did a lot yesterday but the game is still far from saved. It would have been ideal if one of the top order had made a significant contribution and Ramdin had not gotten out a couple of overs before end of play. England will still feel they have a chance of winning while West Indies will need to keep fighting hard to save the match- they will have to bat till lunch and reduce the England lead to fewer than 100. One plus for the Windies is Harmison’s miserable bowling performance. The man who destroyed us in 2004 was made to look just as bad as our bowlers looked during England’s first innings! Hopefully his confidence will be severely affected for the remainder of the series!

On May 19th, 1925 one of the greatest men of the 20th Century was born- Malcolm X, also known as Malcolm Little, Detroit Red and El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. I read his autobiography when I was about 14 years and it has been a source of inspiration for me since then. Besides the fact that he had the courage to stand up and tell it like it is without any thought of the consequences for himself, what is outstanding about Malcolm is that firstly, unlike any of the other black leaders of his time, he made the link between the fight of blacks in America for their rights and the international fight of colonised people for freedom and secondly, he was man enough to stand up in public and say that what he believed when he was a member of the Nation of Islam cult was wrong. Not many people and furthermore those in the public eye have the guts or the humility to admit in public that they were wrong. His bravery in defying the status quo would ultimately lead to his murder but his message continues to inspire and enlighten millions.

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