The Oval Test incident surrounded by media guesswork

Nine days after The Oval Test fiasco, the media continue to speculate on the reasons why umpire Darrell Hair accused Pakistan of ball tampering.

The latest theory brought forward by a leading British newspaper on Tuesday is that the ball used by Pakistan in England’s first innings in the fateful fourth Test displayed such obvious signs of tampering that Hair needed only slender evidence in the second innings to charge the tourists.

According to the report, Pakistani bowlers Mohammad Asif and Umar got a lot of reverse swing on the opening day of the Test, something that made them suspicious at least to Hair. Both Asif and Umar got four wickets each in the England first innings.

The report added that when the ball started to swing more than usual on the fourth day of the Test, Hair decided to penalise the Pakistanis without thinking that he be taking a hasty decision.

Hair has levelled charges of ball tampering against the entire Pakistani team as he was unable to spot any one or two culprits that normally happens in such cases.

However, the British media has been zooming in on Asif, who made his comeback at The Oval after missing the first three Tests against England because of an elbow injury, since the start of the crisis.

The newspaper report said that a ‘hawk-eyed’ reader, who had watched the TV pictures of The Oval Test closely, said in an e-mail that Asif had a square patch sewn on to his right thigh, something that he may be using to scuff the ball. But it went on to add that a closer inspection of the patch showed it to be a plaster covering up a sponsor’s logo, something that many players tend to do these days.

However, the report concludes by saying that suspicion is not hard evidence and suggests that the ball used in England’s first innings would not be called at Inzamam-ul-Haq’s hearing in London next month because his lawyers would want to know why the umpires did not report it at the time, a lack of disclosure sure to prejudice ICC’s case.

With Inzamam’s hearing still at least three weeks away, such theories are expected to come up until a more conclusive picture appears on what actually led umpire Darrell Hair to make perhaps the most controversial call in cricket’s history.

Source:The News

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Written by Team CricketViewer on August 31st, 2006 with no comments.
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