The game should go on


by Fe'reeha
23rd August, 2006 at 2:28 am    

The events following Darrell Hair, the Australian Umpire’s decision to penalise the Pakistani team for ball tampering have put the game of cricket on international political map.

It was the day cricket spun out of control. In an unprecedented decision, Pakistan were deemed to have forfeited the fourth Test against England at the Oval after being accused of cheating by match officials.

In scenes never before seen on a cricket pitch, Pakistan’s players staged a protest by failing to emerge from their dressing room at the end of the tea interval, two-and-a-quarter hours after the umpires had deemed them guilty of illegally tampering with a cricket ball.

After a peace deal was negotiated, events descended further into farce when the umpires, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, themselves refused to return to the field. This led to play for the day being abandoned.

So powerful is the impact of cricket, in particular the news of a Muslim team playing in a Western country, that even the President of Pakistan has joined this unprecedented saga in the world of sports. In a phone call made to the national team’s management, Pervez Musharraf discussed the decision of the umpire with the captain and the manager.

Former Pakistan skipper Rameez Raja also believes current captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was right to keep his team off the field in the chaos-hit fourth Test against England at The Oval. “It was an ugly situation which painted Pakistan as cheats and Inzamam will not take that,” said Rameez.

I am full aware of the emotional value of cricket in Pakistan. I can also empathise with the Pakistani team’s hurt feelings at being labelled cheats, tricky considering a few scandalous events in the past (for instance Imran Khan’s admittance to ball tampering in the 80′s and the ban on Shahid Afridi during England’s tour of Pakistan in 2005-06 for scuffing the pitch).

Yet I still cannot understand the reason behind the foolish display of lack of sportsmanship. Pakistan spoils their cricket stars like over-protective mothers. However, when emotions run so high, there is time to infuse some sense, in particular when they can endanger political sensibility.

I am against the decision to return late to the ground. I believe that the Australian umpire’s attitude was objectionable and his behaviour would have infuriated anyone in the team’s place.

However, it was sad to see Pakistani cricket players acting like a bunch of school boys upset with a strict teacher. Even more worrying is the fact that the whole country seems to be supporting it, not to mention the cushion given by the political and sports analysts who are calling this episode an unjust act in the “present scenario” of anti-Muslim feeling.

It is exactly this kind of victim mentality which can lead to very negative results. Are we reaching a point where we would even call a game conflict a result of Islamophobia?

Umpires, historically have always been controversial figures. It is almost impossible to keep bias away when one is judge to an emotional and touching scenario. It was for this reason alone that veteran like Imran Khan worked hard in the eighties to introduce neutral umpires in the game of the cricket. The prejudice of the Western teams against the strong teams from the South Asia like Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka is not a Muslim V non-Muslim phenomenon, it is a brown versus white colonial phenomenon. In particular, the antagonism between Pakistani and English cricket teams is not something new.

There could have been a number of more prudent ways to file a complaint against the umpire or to show unhappiness. The team could have come back in the ground with much more determination to play well and beat the other team despite the umpire’s controversial decision. There was no reason why a formal complaint could not be filed after the game was finished?

Or the team could have come back with black bands on their arms. They could have run in the ground to express their anger, or maybe they could have just given the silent treatment. Any reaction but the sour display of refusing to follow the rules which made them look like badly behaved children.

Pakistani team’s actions of the day resulted in disappointing millions of their supporters. Their anger was at Australian umpire, why then were the British fans penalised by their actions? By dragging anti Pakistan and anti Islam feeling into a simple game of cricket, we are also degrading the dire extent of problems faced by people threatened by anti terror laws or affected by stop and search.

Teams do not lose matches due to Islamophobia. They lose only for two reasons….bad game or bad luck. Seems like that fateful day in Oval, the Pakistani team faced both.


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Filed in: Pakistan,Race politics,Sports






20 Comments below   |  

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  1. tasneem khalil

    360° – 23/8 2006…

    The strange silence of Günter Grass.

    International AIDS conference, 2006.

    Pakistani cricketers acting like a bunch of schoolboys upset with a strict teacher.

    Coca-Cola and chunky marketing.

    Nazi dining experience: …


  2. tasneem khalil » 360° - 23/8 2006

    [...] Pakistani cricketers acting like a bunch of schoolboys. [...]




  1. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 23rd August, 2006 at 8:47 am  

    Any reaction but the sour display of refusing to follow the rules which made them look like badly behaved children.

    Your alternatives are interesting but sometimes one has to put ones foot down when one feels that something is very amiss. I supported Ranatunga’s decision to pull his team many years ago, and despite their return to the field it was a symbolic gesture that was needed to convey their message.
    Might black armbands etc have been a stronger message?
    Perhaps but in this case if the game if felt to be flawed and your integrity is questioned (by a rather questionable man) I would simply refuse to play. If Darrel Hair can stick to his guns* why can’t the accused?

  2. Inders — on 23rd August, 2006 at 10:13 am  

    Any other sport, they (pakistan team) wouldn’t have dared do what they did. Can you imagine the entire england team walking off if and when one of their players saw a dubious red card ? If they did, then they’d know what to expect.

    All complaints should be after the match. If I was a Pakistan fan I’d be angry at the team for not concentrating on the matter at hand and beating the team in front of them, instead of beating their chests.

  3. Roger — on 23rd August, 2006 at 11:24 am  

    The odd thing is that Pakistan had a good chance of winning the game, whether or not they had five runs deducted and- as England were scoring more than four runs an over- a replacement ball might have been in Pakistan’s interests. It was natural for Anzaman and the team to lost their tempers, whether they had tampered with the ball or not, but they need only say: “You’re wrong. We’ll appeal after the game.” and set to work to finish the match.
    What does bother me is that when Pakistan had seen sense, when both teams and the crowd and people watching on TV throughout the world wanted the game to resume the unpires refused. Again, they could have said “We’re only playing this out of curiodity to see what would happen if Pakistan hadn’t forfeited the game.” but, no, they didn’t do that even. The reason umpires in cricket are given absolute discretion is so that they can overrule manifest absurdities and injustices in the greater interests off the game, not so they can perpetuate them themselves.

  4. Neil — on 23rd August, 2006 at 11:44 am  

    Its not as clear cut as people here are making out and the experts who are siding with Pakistan DO have a point.

    The thing is Darryl Hair made the ball change WITHOUT conferring with the fielding captain, which he is meant to do. The pictures clearly show him ignorring Inzammam, then when he was asked abou this when he went to the Pakistan changing room he still didn’t give a proper answer.

    Darryl Hair still hasn’t identified any one player who he saw ball-tampering. He has made the allegation based on circumstantial evidence of looking at a 56 Over ball and deciding that it had been tampered with.
    He has thus made an allegation of ball tampering, WITHOUT identifying anyone or any positive proof. NONE of the 26 Sky cameras at the ground have picked up anything so Hair must have seen something no-one else did.

    If it had been another umpire the Pakistanis would have probably let it go, but Hair has a history of controversy with Asian teams (India in 1992, Lanka in 1996..and ever since). Pakistan have gone through the ‘correct channels’ to complain about him many times but all to no avail so this reaction on Sunday was like the straw that broke the camels back.

    The Pakistanis did decide to come out and play but this time Darryl Hair was completely inflexible and decided that if the law was followed to the letter then the match must be forfeited. He could have let play resume but CHOSE not to. Hence he is just as responsible for the match finishing as the Pakistanis.

  5. Kismet Hardy — on 23rd August, 2006 at 12:38 pm  

    I get confused which team is which or who the umpire is because they all wear white. I think if they added a touch of colour to their uniforms, not only would it be easy to distinguish one team from another, it would give the game, and more importantly its players, a much-needed boost. We all know the colours blue, red and yellow make one feel bright and cheerful.

    I really insist this is the answer.

  6. Yousuf Haider — on 23rd August, 2006 at 1:01 pm  

    Its always easy to criticse and its a fashion to crticise pakistan wotsoever.
    before i go on this topic let me clear that, KHAN’s ball tampering was not ILLEGAL, it was OK to scruff the ball at that time and it wasnt laid down in rule books. it was an ART. above rest Khan won the case in the British court therefore labelin him cheat is not correct.
    to me writer don knw nofin about cricket and unaware wot happen there at field.
    It would have better he/she asked some one who was present there.
    Let me tel you wot inzi said wen he came in for tea.
    Hair DID NOT consulted Inzi before changng the ball and its was INZI who came to Hair and ask y he changing the ball and Hair told him ball has SCRUFFED according to law he can change the ball, then he asked peiterson to choose the ball and given penalty runs. that moment inzi asked him again wots this and he turned away and didn anser, Inzi den came into dressing room and asked boys if some one really tampered the ball or not, all said no we didn.
    that moment he decided to protest.
    what inzi did was justified and very right it was not matter of one player or of no ball or caught behind opr lbw. here a nations was insulted and accused as cheats. and no one bother to prove.
    putting suggestions after 3 days he should have done this that is very easy.
    it was time to take a stand and inzi did it rightly and its very rong to say the pak team as badly behaved.
    well done inzi PAKISTAN is with you.
    Hair is not allowed to land on sri lankan soil, he is always baised towards asians.
    recent series an example of it, how many times he CHEATED. but our board officilas and writers didn said a word against him, yea afterall hes is WHITE.

  7. raz — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:18 pm  

    Another crap article by Fe’reeah. Pakistan were fully justified in their actions. This is not a matter of LBW or caught behind, this is an umpire with a proven history of bias against Asian teams making a totally unsubstantiated accusation of cheating. Fuck winning the match, this cocksucker Hair needs taking down. Hats off to Inzi and the boys.

  8. amjad malik — on 23rd August, 2006 at 2:56 pm  

    its a ploy to deviate attention from super performance Pakistan showed after adjusting a loss of two tests. Umpire must be fired from future matches and Inzimam has shown brave effort but protest must have been after match or at the time of fine of runs awarded against the team. Winning match must have been played till the end for the interest of the game showing sportsman spirit.Its done now and Inzi needs all the support he can be given as Pakistani team has been a victim of being a Pakistani and was made subject to a one sided decision.

    AMJAD MALIK, MA, LLM
    SOLICITOR-ADVOCATE SUPREME COURT (ENGLAND)

    AMJAD MALIK SOLICITORS
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    Personal: amjadlaw@hotmail.com

  9. doctor do-little — on 23rd August, 2006 at 3:19 pm  

    I’ve been following the spectacular self-destructive spiral of cricket with keen interest. I had tickets for the last day at the Oval, and it was shaping up to be a great one.

    One question: How on earth can Inzy be charged with bringing the game into disrepute by refusing to play? Refusing to play is not against the rules; there’s even a specific rule of forfeiture for just such an eventuality. So everything went by the book (if not by good judgement).

    And just to add my two cents on the issue itself: Darryl Hair showed appalling judgement and should be sacked. He can’t hide behind the weaselly ‘letter of the law’. He was not just following orders. His job is to make judgements that can be defended in reference to the laws. That’s not the same thing as ‘following’ the laws. Umpires never ‘follow’ laws; they make decisions. We must not forget that umpiring is a matter of making decisions supported by laws, not laws dictating decisions.

    That’s why Darryl Hair is responsible for the killing of the test match and why he should be punished. He made two bad decisions. The first was to convict the Pakistan team of ball tampering with no apparent evidence. The second was to go out the second time after tea, knowing the Pakistan team were protesting, and therefore knowing that if he went out he would have to end the game. He should have waited for the impasse to be sorted out. Of course, that’s just common sense. But without common sense an umpire is no use.

    This would never have happened with Dickie Bird.

  10. Jagdeep — on 23rd August, 2006 at 3:27 pm  

    LoL @ Amjad Malik

  11. Kulvinder — on 23rd August, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

    Id have cared more if test matches were still on terrestrial tv :(

    btw ive never understood the chucking rule in cricket, why is it banned? having ‘biomechanical assessments’ of a bowler’s action to determine if hes ‘legal’ is insane.

  12. g — on 23rd August, 2006 at 6:27 pm  

    darrell hair has previous on this, its weird how he always targets asian cricketers. the only people supporting him are a bunch of colonialists who are against the asian bloc of cricketers anyway. india is wrenching control of cricket from england and australia because they have more cricket fans and bigger sponsorship deals. this in turn is terrifying the ‘traditional’ cricket playing countries such as england. its why so many complained when bangladesh became a test playing nation because it added to the ‘eastern’ tally of test playing countries

  13. Sunny — on 24th August, 2006 at 11:18 pm  

    ha ha! Raz stop crying, sheesh.

  14. Sahil — on 25th August, 2006 at 4:14 pm  

    OMG, HAHAHA, look at this:

    http://sport.guardian.co.uk/englandpakistan2006/story/0,,1858562,00.html

  15. Bert Preast — on 25th August, 2006 at 4:35 pm  

    Never put your blackmail in writing, kids. :D

  16. Vikrant — on 25th August, 2006 at 5:37 pm  

    Hahah raz is sore coz Pakistan just got busted! Muhahahahaha….

    @amjad: Dont you think you are being a bit thick, by posting your personal details (including your numbers and postcode) on a pubplic forum!

  17. Amrit — on 25th August, 2006 at 9:24 pm  

    I think there are some good points in this article, but I’m noticing it’s the latest in a trend across PP articles, and I have to ask: are you all getting merry as you publish your articles? In several of them, it starts off fairly well-written and fluid, but then as I read on, words start changing places with each other, spelling and grammar go a bit dodgy and the punctuation also starts straying wherever it wants. So, are you getting more and more pished as you write? ‘Cause I have asked some friends who have noticed the same thing, and they think so!

  18. raz — on 25th August, 2006 at 9:46 pm  

    Vikrant you dumbass, India has been fucked by Hair in the past, as have Sri Lanka. Too bad you are too blinded by your hatred of Pakistan to realise this.

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