The Press Tent: The “Horne Section” Edition
We wanted to write about something else this week. Abdul Qadir was lamenting the fact that players weren’t hanged for spot fixing. MS Dhoni had THREE mobile phones stolen in a hotel break in. Javed Miandad was on TV having conversations with his pet parrot. Dave Warner was asking the Dalai Lama how to improve his peace of mind.
Yet all of these legitimately perfect Press Tent stories are going to be ignored as we spend yet more time on the hilarious month-long hissy fit that is India vs Australia’s Test series.
First VVS Laxman decided to wade into the mocking injuries debate that flared up in Ranchi by making reference to the late Phillip Hughes.
“I’ve never experienced that because when you are injured, you always care for the opposition player as well. Especially after what happened to Phil Hughes, everyone is concerned when someone gets injured,” Laxman said on the Star Sports coverage.
Now. there is no doubting that mentioning the departed Hughes was ill-advised, but there is clearly no malice involved in that statement. He was making the point that laughing at a fellow professional sportsman being injured is a shit move.
And it is, not that there is any real evidence that Glenn Maxwell meant any malice when he jokingly grabbed his shoulder in reference to the injury to Virat Kohli’s shoulder that kept him from the field in Ranchi. But this series isn’t one for calm reflection, is it?
It was later claimed that Steve Smith had also grabbed his shoulder, but photographic evidence (yes, really) showed that it was someone else’s hand on his shoulder. Star Sports made a mistake when they suggested that Smith was mocking Kohli, and apologised on air. But that was after Laxman has made his comments.
Windup-merchant-in-chief, Ben Horne, saw no reason to take a dispassionate look at events in the Daily Telegraph.
“VVS Laxman has launched a disgraceful attack on Australian captain Steve Smith in which he makes an uncalled for reference to the late Phillip Hughes,” Horne wailed. “Laxman failed to check his facts when launching an ill-informed attack on Smith’s leadership, unfortunately bringing up the Hughes family name into a non-issue.”
Horne having a go at someone for making a massive deal out of a non-issue is one of our more enjoying moments here inside the Press Tent, especially when he then published an article a few days later comparing Kohli to Donald Trump.
“The Indian captain is a law unto himself with no one – not even the ICC or his own board – holding him accountable for his continual perpetuation of fake news,” Horne proclaimed. “Kohli was also responsible for fanning the flames by attacking Smith on-field for daring to mock him and proceeding to celebrate David Warner’s wicket late on day four by ferociously parading past the Australian dressing room clasping his shoulder.”
There is NO WAY that Horne would make a fuss about of a non-issue, that much is clear.
“Just like President Trump, Kohli decided to blame the media as a means of trying to hide the egg smeared right across his face,” he continued.
Having criticised Kohli for “fanning the flames” Horne had managed to make everyone who isn’t an Australian really angry. In fact a few of his countrymen were also raising their eyebrows in private at his latest effort. As the Times of India wrote a piece about Horne’s piece we reached the point of “Bullshit-Inception”.
Such is the regularity with which the Daily Telegraph’s cricket correspondent has made it into the Press Tent in recent weeks we have considered renaming the column the “Horne Section” in his honour.
Things are pretty tense between these two teams. Not in a Cuban Missile Crisis kind of tense, more like two drunk girls arguing over looked at who’s boyfriend in the wrong way kind of tense. What was needed was Australian administrators to help calm the situation down.
James Suthertland, the Cricket Australia CEO, was on local radio in Adelaide and was asked if he thought Kohli would say sorry. “Look, I am not sure he knows how to spell the word”, Sutherland said, casually opening a can of gasoline and pouring it on the fire that Ben Horne had started.
The Hindustan Times was far from happy with Sutherland for a comment that was clearly meant as a joke, but just as with Laxman’s comments it was a daft thing to say.
“Sutherland’s comment that is ill-timed and unexpected from a seasoned cricket administrator. Unlike the BCCI officials, Sutherland has let indiscretion get the better of him,” wrote Soumitra Bose. “Now, Sutherland has shown another side of himself. If Kohli doesn’t know how to spell ‘sorry’, then double-faced Sutherland perhaps doesn’t know how to spell ‘shame’.”
Former Australian captain, Michael Clarke, came to the defence of Kohli, saying that the Australian media were trying to tarnish his image.
“Comparing Virat Kohli with Donald Trump – what a load of s*** is that. What Virat did, even Smith would have. Bear in mind, I love Kohli and the Australian public love him. It’s just two or three reporters who are trying to tarnish him but Virat shouldn’t be bothered,” Clarke said on Aaj Tak-India Today.
“I don’t think even Steve Smith would bother about what the Australian media is saying. In fact both the captains would be telling their teams to concentrate on how to win in Dharamsala,” Clarke continued.
For the sake of cricket all of this monumental horse crap should definitely stop. For the sake of Cricket365’s snarky nonsense we hope it never, ever ends. Can they schedule a fifth Test?
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