|Ground:||Kennington Oval, Kennington|
|Scorecard:||England v Pakistan|
|Player:||Inzamam-ul-Haq, DB Hair|
|Event:||Pakistan in British Isles 2006|
DateLine: 22nd August 2006
(Article: The opinions expressed in the following new stories are those of the author only.)
Umpires acting in such cavalier fashion brings shame on the game
"Everyone who follows the game, and has its interests at heart, needs a full explanation now, not least from the umpires and match referee"
Monday August 21, 2006
So the final Test, already in disarray yesterday, has been decided by the intransigence of the two umpires, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove. Both teams were keen to see the game to its conclusion today, in front of at least 12,000 people who had bought tickets in advance and all those who now come along on spec. Instead they will have to stay at home and contemplate whether it is worth again bothering to attend a sport that is prepared to treat its audience in such cavalier fashion. The refund of 40% of the cost to those who turned up yesterday and a full refund for today's cancellation will do little to change that. Yesterday was a shameful one.
That an international match of such profile can be terminated simply because two officials have had their integrity questioned - for that is what we are talking about here - is a disgrace to the game. If Hair and Doctrove feel a slight, then that can be no more than that felt by the Pakistan team, who have spent years living down the accusations of ball-tampering that were thrown at them in the early part of the last decade and the match-fixing scandals that followed later. But the game is more important than the feelings of the officials.
A refusal to play by either team would have seen the end of things: by definition they are irreplaceable. But a brace of umpires can be substituted, surely, if both teams agree, top ones too if necessary rather than the third and fourth officials on duty throughout this game. Honour could have been satisfied. If ICC had a hand in persuading Hair and Doctrove not to continue - the same ICC which insists that for the good of the game its members continue to play in Zimbabwe - then as a body it is culpable of bringing into disrepute the very thing it believes it is trying to protect.
The reaching of such a sorry state of affairs is the fault neither of England nor Pakistan. The visitors had made known their displeasure at the awarding of five penalty runs to England and the changing of the match ball, with it implicit that there had been some treatment of it contrary to cricket's laws of fair play. That Pakistan should feel so aggrieved by this action that they staged a protest after the tea interval was understandable for it seemed that no explanation had been given and, although it is not a pre-requisite for action, no warning either. The drama acted out, in which the umpires took the field twice without the Pakistan team, on the second occasion with the two undefeated England batsmen fulfilling the technicalities that demanded their presence, was all carried out with an almost total disdain for the paying public who were kept in the dark for much of the afternoon.
It is at this point that the umpires, presumably having warned the Pakistan team of their intentions, informed the match referee Mike Procter of their decision to award the game to England as the visitors were unwilling to carry on. This however is contrary to the official statement that eventually emanated from the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, David Collier. He is adamant that both sides wished to carry on but that an agreement could not be reached with the umpires. A game that had been building to a fitting climax to the series has ended in farce because a brace of officials dug their heels in.
Pakistan have long since had an antipathy towards Hair, one of the most senior members of the ICC's elite panel of umpires, who they feel tends to be involved in too many controversial incidents for comfort when officiating in their games. With such a background it is easy to understand why they should feel aggrieved at the treatment handed out yesterday, which they will have viewed as an extension of that which has dogged them through the latter part of the series. They will query the circumstances of the ball change. Did the umpires spot a specific incident? Or was illegality surmised having observed something in the balls condition that might have been caused by other than natural means? And when first did they notice this? Just five overs before the ball was changed the England batsman Alastair Cook had been dismissed and, as they are required to do at frequent but irregular intervals, the ball would have been inspected then. Implicitly there was nothing untoward to warrant their attention at that stage.
Everyone who follows the game, and has its interests at heart, needs a full explanation now, not least from the umpires and match referee who cannot be allowed to hide behind ICC regulations. Pakistan will feel they have been made scapegoats far too often, that a dog has been given a bad name and cannot shake it off. The umpires will argue that they have acted with the utmost integrity, without prompting, on the evidence before them. Someone is being duplicitous and it would be good to know who.
No-nonsense Hair reopens divide with incensed Pakistan
The Australian umpire's difficult relationship with Inzamam's side slumped even further yesterday.
Lawrence Booth at The Oval
Monday August 21, 2006
It has almost become a cricket cliche, like leather on willow and the smell of freshly mown grass but Darrell Hair is no stranger to controversy. It has often been argued, particularly by the Asian nations, that Hair's diplomatic skills are even less subtle than his bullocking physique but yesterday's farrago was brutishly no-nonsense, even by his standards.
Hair has rarely strayed far from his straight-talking Australian persona. Born in 1952 he played grade cricket in Sydney as a fast bowler before making his first-class umpiring debut in 1988. Four years later he stood in his first Test between Australia and India at Adelaide but it was not until Sri Lanka visited in late 1995 that his international renown went through the roof - for all the wrong reasons.
On the first day of the second Test in front of a packed Boxing Day crowd of 55,000 at Melbourne Hair no-balled the off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan seven times for throwing, in the process setting back Australian-Asian relations by several years. He later described Muralitharan's action as "diabolical" in his autobiography and was left off the inaugural panel of ICC elite umpires in 2002 despite his immense experience. Many felt he had brought the decision upon himself.
Hair was reprieved a year later when the panel was expanded. But his reinstatement provided more opportunities to officiate in matches involving sides who did not feel comfortable in his presence.
His relationship with the Pakistan team is a case in point. Whereas previous series between England and Pakistan had been marred by rows involving perceived bias by home umpires, Hair became a focal point for Pakistan grievances for his part in the dismissal of captain Inzamam-ul-Haq in the second Test at Faisalabad last November.
Standing at square-leg Hair referred a run-out to the third umpire that should never have been referred. Inzamam had played a defensive shot to the bowler Steve Harmison who hurled the ball back towards the batsman and into the stumps.
Inzamam, in his crease at the time, jumped out of the way and was in the air when the wicket was broken. Because he was taking evasive action the decision should have been not out. In the same game Hair was incensed by Shahid Afridi's illegal pirouette on a good length when everyone bar the TV cameramen was focusing on an exploded drinks gas canister. Afridi was banned for three matches after apologising for what he described as a "moment of madness".
On the fourth day of the match he warned the Pakistan opener Salman Butt for running down the middle of the pitch and sent him back to the striker's end after taking a single off Shaun Udal. Next ball Udal trapped Butt leg-before - it might have been sliding down the leg-side - and relations deteriorated even further.
There was even talk at one point of Hair leaving the tour prematurely and it is believed Pakistan complained at the end of the series. So there was not exactly wild jubilation among Inzamam's men when the ICC announced that Hair would be officiating in the third and fourth Tests.
Sure enough trouble brewed almost as soon as he took the field. On the first morning of the third Test at Headingley Hair upset the tourists by failing to give Kevin Pietersen out caught behind on two after he had inside-edged Shahid Nazir through to the keeper. Pietersen went on to make 135 to help pave the way for England's series-clinching win and speculation spread that the Pakistan camp were preparing another complaint.
Yesterday Hair watched the Pakistanis with an intense keenness as they relayed the ball to the bowler and it was he who initiated the inspection of the ball that led to the five-run penalty for alleged tampering. Pakistan protested their innocence but the outrage at being accused of cheating was made all the worse by the identity of their accuser. And while the Dominican umpire Billy Doctrove went along with that decision and the one not to re-emerge from the dressing room last night, there was every chance that it was Hair who instigated the move.
The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Shahryar Khan, refused to confirm whether his team had a problem with Hair, saying: "I wouldn't like to personalise the issue." But if any existed before, there is now no doubt that the ICC should keep Hair and Pakistan apart.
Hair is standing in his 76th Test here, which makes him the fourth most experienced umpire in history behind Steve Bucknor, David Shepherd and Rudi Koertzen. As a crowd of 23,000 booed and slow hand-clapped yesterday while Hair stayed put in his Oval bunker it was fairly clear that this Test would also be his most notorious.
What a horrible mess
August 21, 2006
Of all the myriad moments that turned yesterday into one of the most depressing days in cricket's long and often fractious history, none matched the moment that the Pakistan team re-emerged from their dressing-room, and took the long walk down through the crowd in a bid to restart the game. The noise that accompanied them had to be heard to be believed - a chorus of deafening boos that was chilling to anyone who has the game's best interests at heart.
It was chilling because it was so unnecessary. Of all the Pakistan series to have taken place in England since the start of the 1980s, this had been by a country mile the most harmonious. No controversies, no crowd trouble, no umpiring bust-ups, no clashes of monstrous egos. With the wonderfully laconic Inzamam-ul-Haq at the helm, and his English coach Bob Woolmer on hand to bridge any cultural gaps, Pakistan and England have been finding themselves more closely bonded than perhaps they ever imagined possible.
What an improbable and wonderful time for these two teams to be pulling off such a diplomatic coup. It cannot have escaped anyone's notice, least of all in the past couple of weeks, that these are no ordinary times in which we are living. The global stand-off between East and West has rarely been more pronounced, and yet here - in the heart of London, a city forever wary of paralysis by extremists - a team from the misunderstood world of Islam has been performing wonderfully well in front of sell-out crowds and appreciative TV audiences.
So to hear the boos at The Oval yesterday was a frightful jolt back to reality. It was a reminder of the ignorance that has tainted so much of the dialogue between East and West, because the crowds were being fed limited information, and their preconceived notions were doing the rest. They had been frustrated by a half-hour delay, in which time they had been privy to no stadium announcements whatsoever, and when they saw the Pakistanis appear on the pavilion balcony, the logical conclusion was to pin the blame for the hold-up squarely between their eyes.
How grossly unfair, but how typical. As the day's events unfolded and the gravity of the stand-off became apparent, that initial hostility was tempered and replaced by something that might even have resembled sympathy. But for me, that booing still rings in my ears. It was the unnecessary tip of a whole iceberg of unnecessity. The Pakistanis had been accused of cheating, and not one of the 26 cameras that Sky has permanently trained on the action has yet produced any evidence to back up this lofty claim. How curious.
And how passe. The entire issue of ball tampering is a relic of the early-1990s, when Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were so brilliant that the only feasible explanation was that they had mastered the dark arts. Since then ball-tampering has somehow retained a stigma that transcends the crime, which is ridiculous when you think of everything else that is accepted as part and parcel of the modern game.
Sledging? Bring it on, I say, so long as it is not prejudicial. Walking? Get with the times. Time-wasting? A slap on the wrists and 20% of your match fee please. All of these are deemed to be lesser moral crimes than ball-tampering, but only one of them requires even an iota of cricket-related skill for it to be effective. How on earth does that work?
There are many things that cricket professes to be that it is not. The notion of it being the gentleman's game has been a lie ever since WG Grace first replaced his bails upon being bowled. And in more recent times, the matchfixing scandal was an emphatic stake through the heart of anyone who's ever uttered "It's not cricket!" with any sincerity.
But I'll tell you what cricket really is. It's a bridge between cultures that might otherwise have drifted apart with scarcely a backwards glance. OK, so it's rooted in its colonial heritage, which is right at the crux of the issue that is eating the game this morning, but how grateful is the world right now for even the slightest insight into the psyche of the other? England's recent tour to Pakistan was a public relations triumph, with scores of Pakistanis cheering on the tourists in the Test series, and a gleeful packed house watching the one-off one-day game in the troubled city of Karachi.
So many misconceptions were exploded on that trip. In fact, there is a case for suggesting that the quietly devout Inzamam is the best ambassador that Islam could ever hope for. Gentle, polite, obliging - he's quite unlike the British media's stereotype. And yet this morning at least one of Inzamam's team stands accused of being a cheat.
What a horrible mess. Darrell Hair must have known what he was getting into this afternoon. He must have. This is a man who has allowed controversy to stalk his every waking hour, from the no-ballings of Muttiah Muralitharan and Shoaib Akhtar to the run-out decision he gave against Inzamam at Faisalabad this winter.
And this evening, in the face of ever more furious attacks on his integrity, he refused to back down, and instead ensured that a match that was destined, almost certainly, for Pakistan has ended in farce.
Ignorance has got us into this unholy mess, and it's going to take one hell of a lot of explaining to get us out again. Already the Cricinfo servers are creaking under the weight of furious feedbackers, and none of the messages have been remotely complementary.
Here is one such depressing missive. "There is no doubt of the racism and hatred that the British have towards the Muslims and especially Pakistan ." It's just not true - look at the evidence of this series for starters. Actually, after today, it's best not to.
Click here to send in your feedback on the incident.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of Cricinfo
Pakistan in the crossHair
From Rameez Raja
at The Oval
The star of the show definitely was umpire Darrel Hair, but as a villain of the piece. His arbitrary and insensitive style of judgement here at the Oval sparked an absolutely needless controversy that put the match in serious jeopardy and brought infamy to the game.
Even when the cricket boards of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had protested on his appointment, the ICC's rigid stance on appointing him for sub-continental matches had to backfire one day.
There have been problems galore with Hair around before. Hair is always keen to forget that cricketers make the play possible and thus are far more important than anyone else on the ground. He polices the game and has never tried to make friends with the sub-continental players to have a good atmosphere.
And players from the sub-continent universally feel that he is biased, even to the extent of being a racist.
So with all this negative background, and serious protests by the boards, it was really flabbergasting to see the ICC installing him once again in a Pakistan game. And grossly aggrieved, the Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and the team were in their right to protest. The pride of an entire people has been tarnished by his ludicrous and highly insensitive decision. And I'm sure the Pakistan captain would not have changed his stance and entered the field again had he not been bulldozed by the diplomatic pressure.
The implications of this incident are far-reaching as nobody had a clue as to who was in charge of the game. The umpires and referees are employed and posted by the ICC, the global cricket body and they are responsible for the conduct of the game. And it was therefore quizzical to see ECB and PCB getting involved into sorting out this mess.
The incident surprised us all as well as the Pakistani captain. The ball was replaced because the umpires, led by Hair, believed that it was tampered with. Without any warning to the captain (even though the law does not specify that this should be done), penalised Pakistan for ball-tampering and awarded five penalty runs to the opposition at 2.30 GMT. Not only that, but as per the law, the batsmen were allowed to choose the replaced ball.
I am commentating here for the Sky television, and we have here a most high profile team of commentators and around 26 cameras that catch every moment of the action all the time throughout the day. Not one did catch a Pakistani fielder or a bowler tampering with the cherry.
It was therefore a subjective decision, not backed by any evidence, as neither was it witnessed by anyone nor caught on the camera.
The rumour had it that Duncan Fletcher, the England coach, had gone to the two umpires a day before the game and privately suggested to them that they keep a vigil on Pakistani bowlers once it starts to reverse swing. His exhortation obviously had Hair as a keen listener, who was happy yet again at being given an opportunity to go after a South Asian side.
Pakistan's bold stance has certainly exposed Hair. Will it be the end of the road for him? If it is, it would not be a day too soon. But it is indeed sad that it has taken such a huge incident to remove a distasteful bully from the scene.
Having said that, it is quite likely that the ICC would not go against its own personnel, even though they may be bad at the job, and back the umpire's decision of a 'forfeited game'.
If the umpires case was to be upheld by the ICC, then Inzamam could also lose his job for the first two one-dayers (I don't see one-day series hampered or derailed by this episode). This as the captain is supposed to guard the spirit of the game, which according to the umpires has been maligned by Pakistanís alleged ball-tampering.
Knowing Hair's rigidity and ICC's equally inflexible stance on backing its employees, It was expected that game would be called off. The incident has overshadowed Pakistan's great comeback in this Test match. Some may say that Pakistan has certainly denied itself an opportunity of winning at the Oval, but what is a win at the cost of your honour?
Agencies add: Pakistan refused to come out to the ground for the last session of the fourth day in protest of what they said was an unfair allegation of ball tampering for which they had been penalised five runs.
Pakistan were docked five runs for altering the condition of the match ball unfairly at the end of the 56th over which had been bowled by Umar Gul.
Veteran Australian umpire Darrell Hair, standing with West Indian official Billy Doctrove, then signalled to the scorers that five penalty runs were to be added to Englandís total, taking it up to 235.
Then, after an early tea had been taken because of bad light, the umpires walked back out onto the field only for no Pakistan fieldsmen to follow behind them before walking back in.
Television pictures then showed Pakistan players in their dressing room with the door shut behind them.
The umpires returned followed by England not out batsmen Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell only for the Pakistan team to remain in their dressing room.
The batsmen and umpires walked back in, with Pakistan - already a losing 2-0 down in the series - in danger of forfeiting the match.
Both umpires removed the bails, returned to the pavilion and the covers came on.
This was the first time such a five-run penalty for ball-tampering had been imposed in Test cricket, an International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman said.
Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, the former England all-rounder, said at tea after seeing match referee Mike Procter: "I went to see him but I was told Procter wanted to discuss the incident with Hair first."
Television pictures showed the ball was scuffed around the seam but there did not appear to have been any obvious sign of tampering by a member of the Pakistan fielding side.
If found guilty of ball-tampering players can be fined 50 percent of their match fee and be banned from international cricket.
Pakistan's 1992 tour of England was blighted by allegations of ball-tampering with pace great Waqar Younis, now Pakistan's bowling coach, coming under intense scrutiny.
And in 2000 Waqar himself received a one-match ban for ball tampering following a one-day international against South Africa in Sri Lanka while Azhar Mahmood was fined for "abetting" the infringment in the same match.
High-profile players from many countries have been banned for similar offences with India batting great Sachin Tendulkar receiving a one-game ban in November 2001 after a Test match against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.
Tendulkar's fellow India batsman Rahul Dravid was fined 50 precent of his match fee, after being found guilty of ball tampering during India's 24-run victory over Zimbabwe at Brisbane. Dravid was caught by the TV cameras rubbing a cough lozenge on the ball.
Then England captain Mike Atherton also caused controversy back in 1994 when he was spotted rubbing dirt from his pocket into the ball during a Test match against South Africa at Lord's.
However, the prompt intervention of then England chairman of selectors Raymond Illingworth, who fined Atherton, spared the opening batsman official punishment for the incident.
Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, ruled out of the current series with England because of an ankle injury, received a reprimand in November 2002 for the same offence after a Test match against Zimbabwe in Harare.
And the following year, in May, Shoaib was given a two-match ban for ball tampering after a one-day international against New Zealand in Dambulla.
President calls up PCB chief Meanwhile, a private TV channel reported that President General Pervez Musharraf called up PCB chairman Shaharyar M Khan on telephone and assured him of his full support. He said the decision of the team was justified in registering its protest over tampering allegations.
I was not informed of the ball change: Inzamam Pakistan captain Inzamamul Haq was quoted by a TV channel as saying that the umpire did not consult him before deciding to the change the ball. According to the law, if the umpire decides to change the ball, he has to inform the captain on the field and notify the batsman and the bowler that the ball is to be changed. Inzamam also said that by the time the umpire thought the ball was tampered, he did not even ask him how did the mark appear on the ball.
How the events unfolded Pakistan risked forfeiting the Test after making a tea-time protest over being docked five runs for allegedly altering the state of the ball.
It was Gul's 14th over with England 230 for 3 when the umpires inspected the match ball. Play was eventually called off for the day at 6.13pm local time (1713GMT) with England 298 for four in their second innings, a deficit of 33, with the future of the match still uncertain as the crisis meeting underway to decide the future of the match.
But just as it had seemed the match was about to restart, the Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said a fresh delay had been caused by the refusal of umpire Darrell Hair to continue standing in the match. Pakistan were docked five runs at the end of the fourth day's 56th over which had been bowled by paceman Umar Gul.
Darrel Hair changed the ball after what he believed was tampering. At the end of the 56th over, bowled by Danish Kaneria, Darrell Hair went over to Billy Doctrove and was seen pointing at the quarter seam. The fourth umpire, Trevor Jesty, then brought out a box of balls and the England batsmen, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood, were allowed to choose the next one to be used.
Meanwhile, as the meeting got underway at 7.30pm local time (8.30GMT), a band of journalists were told that they must get out of the building it was taking place. The meeting will determine, among other things, whether the match goes ahead today. It is believed that Mike Procter, the two umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, Bob Woolmer and an England representative James Avery were present. Itís not known whether Duncan Fletcher was attending.
The players, meanwhile, left the ground with a police escort. As at 7.30pm, there was a strong police presence at the Oval, though it is purely precautionary - there are two policemen inside the pavilion and a line of them outside. As one policeman said there was no information given to the crowds all day long and the bars were still open, and that combination makes for an inflammatory situation in his experience. And indeed the crowds were getting restless. "If I had bought a ticket for the day," he added, "I wouldn't be impressed."
What the law says: Law 42.3 states: "The event of any fielder changing the condition of the ball unfairly ... the umpires shall award five penalty runs to the batting side. It is unfair for anyone to rub the ball on the ground for any reason, interfere with any of the seams on the surface of the ball, use any implement, or take any other action whatsoever which is likely to alter the condition of the ball."
Playing regulation 42.1.2 (b) for this series also says: "In the event that a ball has been interfered with and requires replacement the batsman at the wicket shall choose the replacement ball from a selection of six other balls of various degrees of usage (including a new ball) and of the same brand as in use prior to the contravention."
Law on forfeiting the match:
Law 21.3 states: "That, in the opinion of the umpires, a team refuses to play, the umpires shall award the match to the other side."
Bookies in hot water: The bookies started betting on the resumption or cancellation of the match once the match plunged into controversy. Prior to the cancellation, Pakistan were hot favourites as against a draw. However, for a brief period, the bets were being made on whether the match was to be played for Monday or not.
(Article: compiled by the PCB. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individuals only.
Copyright © 2006 the individual writers.)