ICL: Indian Cricket League

It is time to take umpire Darrell Hair to court


The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had let it be known before The Oval Test that he was going to take up the umpiring issue with the ICC after the fourth Test. He did not mention anyone by name but nobody had any problems guessing who he in mind.

One can think of no other umpire in recent cricketing history whose decisions have had such a huge impact on the game and always, without fail, against Pakistan. In the face of that his continued appointment to officiate in Tests featuring Pakistan is a mystery.

Quite simply, it has provided for an unfair sporting contest in which the dice has been too heavily loaded in favour of one side against the other. No genuine sportsman should enjoy that sort of a contest.

On Sunday afternoon, Hair excelled himself, even by his own unfathomable standards. He decided to rule that Pakistan had tempered with the ball, fined Pakistan five runs and allowed Kevin Pieterson to select another ball.

Who tempered with the ball? No one was caught doing it so the decision was based on an assumption. The grounds for such an assumption are not clear. However, the implications of Hair’s action are quite clear.

He has in effect ruled that Pakistan were cheating but without pinpointing who was responsible or when the act was committed, or what it was that made him conclude that the ball has been tampered with, or in other words, the act of cheating had been committed.

Who is involved here is Pakistan’s image and self-respect and Hair’s ruling casts a shadow on the reputation of that nation. That should be actionable. It is quite clear that one cannot hope for much in in the form of redress from the ICC; if the ICC had not been pursuing extra cricketing agendas, they would not have appointed Hair in the first place after Pakistan had clearly spelt it out that they did not have confidence in this man.

With this action of Hair’s, it is seriously time to examine the possibility of taking this man to a court of law. He would have to show that his action was based on recognised judicial principles and that was not in evidence. Enough is enough. The Darrell Hair problem now has to be addressed and it does not look as if there is much hope that ICC will do so.

In the light of all this, it beggars belief why the PCB decided to oppose the idea of further use of technology on the basis that it would diminish the umpire’s authority.

The umpire’s authority has not been used in fair or just manner the “mistake” have not evened out and Asian teams, Pakistan especially, have consistently been at the receiving end.

If cricket is Pakistan’s biggest export and biggest national image builder, the exercise of authority by umpires like Darrel Hair has hit Pakistan’s national interest. If that does not prompt the PCB to act, nothing will.

Reuters adds: The incident cast a shadow over a game which Pakistan are desperate to win after England made sure of clinching the series with victories in the second and third Tests.

A spokesman for the International Cricket Council (ICC) said he was not aware of the five-run penalty for ball tampering ever being applied during a Test before, although several individual players have been sanctioned for changing the state of the ball.

The home team, skittled for 173 in their first innings before Pakistan had amassed 504, had resumed on 78 for one. They lost Andrew Strauss for 54 in the morning after the England captain had put on 107 with Alastair Cook for the second wicket. Strauss played a string of fine cuts before he played at leg spinner Danish Kaneria and was given out lbw to a ball which appeared to have hit his pad outside off stump.

Fellow left-hander Cook led a charmed life — he was given not out off the fourth ball of the day from Kaneria after a huge appeal for a catch off pad and bat, bowled by a no ball and then dropped on 47 — before he was dismissed for 83 when Umar Gul sent down a perfect yorker. He and Pietersen put on 103 together, taking the score to 218 for three. Pietersen then lit up the day with 96 runs flayed off 114 deliveries.

The ball tampering incident appeared to send him into overdrive. He slog-swept Kaneria for six and then smashed Mohammad Hafeez’s first ball back over the bowler’s head. Needing a boundary to get to three figures, however, he slashed at a short, wide ball from Shahid Nazir and Kamran Akmal took a fine one-handed catch.

The ball was 56 overs old at the time of the controversy. Gul had bowled the previous over. The laws of the game state that teams can be penalised five runs if a member of the fielding side is found to have changed the state of the ball unfairly. Playing regulations say the batsmen at the crease may then choose a replacement ball.

Ball tampering allegations have blighted England-Pakistan series before. In 1992 the English press raised questions over the ability of Pakistan pace bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis to swing the old ball. Reverse swing, which allows the ball to swing in the opposite direction expected, has since become an accepted part of the game.

Players found guilty of ball tampering can be fined up to 50 percent of their match fees and also face a match ban.

Source:The News

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