Tuesday, January 8, 2008

AUSSIE GAMES: BLAME IT ON MAO

Enough, much more than enough has been written and spoken on the Sydney cricket test. The outrage of the whole of India at the behavior and reaction of the Australian team, particularly the “dobber” response of the skipper, Ricky Ponting, has been shown so many times that it is likely to remain etched in Indian minds for a long time.

Despite all the shock and noise, the crisis that had seemingly threatened to engulf the cricket world has quickly blown over. Money, money, money, always sunny, in the rich man’s world; thus went the lyrics of this great number by that terrific Swedish group ABBA. Termination of the tour by India, as demanded by many who had been deeply angered and hurt, would have meant losses of millions of dollars to all the parties who make hay while the game shines. For them it has to be always sunny…it’s a rich man’s world!

Indian skipper Anil Kumble could not have been more forthright after the match when he said that only one team played the game in the spirit of the game. That was a bigger blow to the Aussies than the many adjectives used later by all those who can spell cricket. Surprise, surprise, Ponting also had no doubts in his mind that he and his team had played the game in the spirit too!

Both Kumble and Ponting are right. The problem is only in the understanding of what the word ‘game’ means to them. For Kumble and the Indians, cricket is the game they are in Australia to play. For Ponting and his pack, ‘game’ means a lot more. For them cricket is a game, of course, but they are also ‘game’ for cheating and sledging of the worst kind! Their opponents are to them little more than ‘game’ in the wild, to be trapped and cooked, no matter how. Remember a great Aussie spinner for whom women were also game, never ‘two many’? Forgotten the famous Bengal Tiger hunter who had got his brother to bowl an under-arm delivery to win a match? The examples are endless.

What is it that has made the Aussies what they are?

Dr David Andrew Roberts, an Australian who teaches convict history at the University of New England, has this to say for his fellow countrymen: “We are proud to be descendants of people who were kicked out of England by corrupt judges and aristocrats…To be descended from a convict now gives on a sense of being authentically Australian.”

What is he saying? The ancestors of present day Australians were not criminals who committed heinous crimes for which they were banished for ever from England and sent so far away that they had absolutely no chance of getting back! They were angels; it is the corrupt English judges and aristocrats who were to blame! Then he speaks of the pride of being the descendants of convicts. The genes are still throbbingly strong!

Which is the missing or defective gene which the Aussies seem to have inherited from their illustrious ancestors? A number of studies have been carried out in various parts of the world about the effects of MAO A levels on human behavior. In a study of a family of Dutch criminals, it was found that they all had a defect in the gene that controls MAO A. In France, the National Centre for Scientific Research did an experiment with mice. They turned off the gene which controlled MAO A encoding. “The animals exhibited fearless, impulsive behavior”. Also, the neurotransmitter serotonin levels of the mice were nine times above normal.

The Aussies are not to blame for their pathetic behavior. See what happens even to mice with the switching off of only one gene! Ponting and his "dobbers" need to be forgiven for they do not know what they have done.

Blame their abrasive, abnormal aggression and propensity to cheat on MAO!

This is what the Indians should remember when they step into the field in Perth for the next Test match. It will not normalize the Aussies at all; it will certainly help the Indians better understand what drives the poor Aussies to behave the way they do. This understanding may well help them to develop better strategies to beat the Aussies and win the match!