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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The ball tampering controversy - my view

End of a Test or beginning of a controversy?
[Copyright: Getty Images, Source: http://www.cricket.com]

Over the past few days, the cricketing world has been rocked by a ball-tampering fiasco where umpire Darrel Hair accused the Pakistan team of tampering with the ball. This incident occurred on the 4th day of the 4th test at the Oval Cricket Ground. He awarded 5 penalty runs to England and had the ball changed. After the tea interval, the England batsmen walked out to the middle along with the umpires but the Pakistan players were nowhere to be seen. Hair soon declared that Pakistan had forfeited the game. You can go through the details here ...

My take on this whole episode is this:

(1). Darrel Hair has repeatedly courted controversies and his record with Asian countries has particularly been bad. He was the first to openly no-ball Muralitharan for chucking and that opened a can of worms regarding chucking and recently ICC had to amend its laws for chucking. ICC seriously needs to look into this "anti-Asian" attitude of Hair.

(2). When the incident happened, the person who should have taken charge of the situation was the match refree Mike Proctor - but he did none of that.

(3). Inzamam did the right thing by carrying on play till tea instead of taking a decision in haste and walking out as Ranatunga famously did in Australia. Over tea, Pakistan protested against Hair's decision and I think, they were right in protesting against the decision. There was no substantial proof of ball tampering even though there were 26 Sky TV cameras in operation !

(4). Hair's decision could have been provoked by Duncan Fletcher - he had gone to meet the match refree in the morning to voice his suspicion. The match refree could have informed Hair about it and the result was there to see.

(5). I think Hair's decision reflects more of a policeman attitude rather than of a judge, a view publicly pointed out by Rashid Latif, Imran Khan, Ranatunga etc.

(6). From the looks of it, it seems that Inzy may be banned for 4 Tests and 8 ODIs - if that is the case, then the Pakistan team should show solidarity towards their captain and simply not play the ODIs in England.

(7). Its time ICC looks into the repeated complaints from the Asian block and give them proper respect that they deserve.

-- Thyaga


At 4:57 AM, Blogger Sreejith Kumar said...

Tampering with the ball is like an art for Pakistan. They are so natural with it, and Shahid Afridi has even accepted it. I didn't see the incidents to make a comment on this issue, but Muralitharan is a chucker, undoubtedly.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Thyaga said...

Hello Sreejith,
Thanks for visiting my Blog - i appreciate that.

I am not denying that Pakistan never have chucked - but under the present circumstances, I think Hair overdid his reaction. There wasn't enough proof, the captain was not warned and IMHO, the captain was right to feel pissed off that his country was being labelled as cheaters.

I would rather listen to World Cup winning captains - Kapil, Arjuna and Imran, even though they represent the Asian belt. Steve Waugh, of course, will side with Hair - umpires don't try to get on the wrong side with the Aussies - there are so many incidents and so many examples - Waugh himself, Slater, Hughes, McGrath, Warne etc.

As for Shahid Afridi's comment, i am not so sure about it - but knowing him, he must have done something really silly !

Let us see how this drama unfolds ...

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