August 20 will go down as one of the darkest days of Test Cricket. It was day 4 of fourth and final Test between Pakistan and England. 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, in accordance with the Laws.
Law 42.3 states that in “the event of any fielder changing the condition of the ball unfairly … the umpires shall award five penalty runs to the batting side.” The Law explains that 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.”
The only exceptions to this rule are polishing the ball, removing mud from it and drying a wet ball on a towel. 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.”
To confirm that this had been the umpires’ decision to change the ball five runs were added to England’s total, which umpire Hair signalled by patting his right hand to his left shoulder. Soon afterwards, Bob Woolmer was seen marching towards the match referee’s office before returning to the dressing room where he talked to Waqar Younis.
Reported by Cricinfo, Inzamam-ul-Haq appeared visibly incensed during the ball change and though it isn’t clear what was said, Umar Gul was withdrawn from the attack thereafter. The incident caught the commentary team by surprise as well and Rameez Raja, the Pakistan expert on the team, sounded clearly upset. Others, including Nasser Hussain and Michael Atherton stressed the hope that the umpires had actually spotted someone in the act of tampering with the ball rather than presuming that marks on the ball indicated that it must have been tampered with. There is no TV footage of anything untoward being done to ball.
The whole fiasco raised a burning question, does Darrel Hair had any evidence of ball tampering? If yes, then why he had not pointed the culprit out? and if no, then his accusation was meant for the whole pakistani team. This is something to be taken seriously. Although Inzamam and his men came back to field after diplomatic efforts by Pakistani and English cricket board officials, I personally believe that they should not continue the series until and unless Darrell Hair publicly appologize for his obviously racist attitude.
The commentators were over-cautious of what’s coming out from them, on air, as noted by Sudhamshu:
Every comment that came out of any commentator’s mouth was thought over a hundred times, because of the recent bomb threat in the UK airport. As a few people of Pakistani origin were supposed to be behind that, everyone wanted to make sure that the match was being played in the right “spirit” and no love was lost between the teams. They knew that with the under-current feelings of racism would be sprouted by media sooner or later.
Note: Title of this post is credited to Teeth Maestro’s post at KMB
Update: Darrell Hair (just like his racist buddy Dean Jones) sent back home and the Test is called off. (CricInfo)More on:Bob Woolmer, Danish Kaneria, Darrell Hair, england, Inzamam, Oval, Pakistan, Pakistan in England 2006, Umar Gul
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Monday, August 21st, 2006 and is filed under General.
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