An unprecendented thing happened at Oval when the umpire Darrell Hair changed the ball in a Pakistan-England match on charges of ball tampering and without any answers or replies. And Inzamam Ul Haq, Pakistani Captain, simply didnt come back on ground after tea protesting against the decision. There was some drama but in the end the match was awarded to England.
There are some observations I have:
1. Some of the England and Australian umpires are downright racist!! And it has more than obvious in the matches against Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India. That the fulcrum of entire cricketing world has moved to South Asia doesnt help their ego management any bit! More than 50% of the revenues in the world cricket are due to sponsorship from the companies in India!!
2. Notwithstanding English and Australian umpires, Pakistani umpires are no better! We have all seen the treatment that they have repeatedly metted out to the Indian players – Gavaskar included over the decades! There was a reason why India stopped playing in Sharjah and part of the reason was this prejudice!
3. If Inzamam really had to walk out – it should have been when the decision was taken not in the next break! And he should have summoned managers of both sides on the ground and thrashed Hair’s head of hair out completely!
Inzamam has, in any case, got help from unexpected quarters. While the former Pakistani players including Asif Iqbal – that guy who used to mastermind the Sharjah circuses and relish the negative decisions (and sometimes downright partisan) against Gavaskar etc in that series as a captain, have obvious gone backing him up; even folks like Nasser Hussain the former England captain has come solidly behind him!!
Bob Woolmer’s reaction was the most interesting and something that helped him explain the decision – as the team’s coach – to his conscience. He asked the players to swear by their Koran and say that they hadnt tampered with the ball. They did. And he was ok with their protest of walking out on the test!
In all aspects this was as crazy a situation that can possibly come! Koran after all finally decided the fate of the match!
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