August 20, 2006

Pakistan protest sparks farce: "The fourth test between England and Pakistan descended into total farce on Sunday as first Pakistan, then the umpires, refused to return to the field after tea on the fourth day following a ball-tampering storm."

posted by nthdegx to other at 02:34 PM - 14 comments

This was hilarious, embarrassing and brilliant all at once. For our non-cricket followers, the same ball is used for at least 480 deliveries, so its condition and wear is very important to both bowler and batsmen. You might want to read the wikipedia entery on cricket ball conditions. "Because a single ball is used for an extended period of play, its surface wears down and becomes rough. The bowlers will polish it whenever they can - usually by rubbing it on their trousers, producing the characteristic red stain that can often be seen there. However, they will usually only polish one side of the ball, in order to create 'swing' as it travels through the air. They may apply natural substances (i.e. saliva or sweat) to the ball as they polish it, but any other material is illegal. The ball is not replaced if it is hit into the crowd - the crowd must return it (unlike in baseball). If the ball is damaged, lost, or illegally modified, it will be replaced by a used ball in similar condition to the replaced ball." An important point here is that the replacement ball is picked by the batting side and so they will, naturally, pick the one that seems least likely to offer movement, through spin or swing, to the bowling side. As for Pakistan's explanation that they were just going to stay off for a few minutes, that's kind of blown up by the fact that tea finished at 16:40, and the umpires and England batsmen were out waiting at that point. They stood around on the perimeter for 15 minutes, then walked to the centre, waited for a couple of minutes and then walked off again just before 17:00. Pakistan emerged from their dressing room at 17:24, some 44 minutes after the end of tea. Hardly "a few minutes." I can understand that the Pakistanis feel hard done by and that they certainly don't like Darrell Hair, but their response was over the top, even though ball tampering is a very serious accusation; the officials did not do anything outside of their power, nor anything outside of the rules of the game. Pakistan could have played on, probably won the test and then complained about the officiating and the ball tampering from a pretty secure position of "we won, but we're still not happy, because..." As it is, the whole thing has turned into sulk-fest and no one has any idfea what will happen tomorrow.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:54 PM on August 20, 2006

So what's the deal with Darrell Hair and the Pakistanis? I missed the actual event, but watched the highlights and a little bit of coverage on the news, and everyone is talking about "past incidents" between the two, but no-one will actually offer any specifics. Are they trying to insinuate Hair is a racist or something? As for the actual incident, I think it all depends on whether the umpires actually saw the ball being tampered with, or whether they just suspected it. If it's the latter, then that is outrageous. The ball was 56 overs old and had been smashed everywhere by Pietersen. If they actually saw something, then fair enough. However, I'll have a hard time believing it until I see it. Cricket is probably one of the most high-tech sports being televised anywhere in the world. Sky have cameras everywhere. Literally. If something happened, then I have no doubt it's on film.

posted by afx237vi at 04:08 PM on August 20, 2006

And I always thought a cricket was a bug, damn stupid yank anyway.

posted by tdheiland at 05:35 PM on August 20, 2006

There's no word from the umpires as the why they wanted to look at the ball, only that they asked to examine it and determined that it had been scuffed, artificially. I don't know if they saw someone doing it, but the are within the rule of the game to ask to examine the ball, without consulting the teams. As for Hair, he has previusly called Sri Lankan bowler Muttiah Muralitharan for chucking and a Pakistani, (Shahid Afridi, I think), for working the pitch with his spikes in a test between Pakistan and England. There is a feeling among some teams that he is unfair to sub-continent sides, but that's opinion of course. I've just heard on the radio that the Test has been awarded to England and that there will be no play tomorrow. England therefore win the series, 3-0.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:44 PM on August 20, 2006

I'm not an expert on cricket, althoughI did spend three years in England so I am not ignorant about it either. The Pakistanis have no reason to play on anyones sympathy. If you are mad and want to make a statement, hold up the game a few minutes, but when you hold up a game 44 minutes and the umpires give the game to England you have no room to complain. That is just crazy.

posted by Psycho at 05:53 PM on August 20, 2006

I was listening to TMS as this farce evolved. It began with confusion at the procedure, then fascination at how it would develop, a degree of sympathy for Pakistan being accused, convicted and punished on the field, then bewilderment as the team and the umpires had their respective strops. The ICC obviously didn't consider the potential impact of umpires' following the new law to the letter, especially with a team like Pakistan that has a let-us-say interesting history when it comes to ball tampering. The umpires could probably have done better to talk it out with the players. The Pakistan team could have done a lot better by not behaving like children. And as ever -- remember the last Ashes test? -- the communication with the crowd was atrocious. What a horrible way to end a series. The sequence of events after tea is that of Law 21.3. The umpires came out, and Pakistan didn't. So they went up to the Pakistan dressing room and informed the captain that it constituted a refusal to play. Then they went out with the batsmen, waited, and awarded the match to England. In short, the umpires followed the rules to the letter.

posted by etagloh at 06:21 PM on August 20, 2006

If they would wait to have "tea"untill after the contest, this would never had come about.

posted by brownindian at 07:26 PM on August 20, 2006

You know everything's gone to shit when even cricket is uncivilized.

posted by dusted at 08:20 PM on August 20, 2006

So what's the deal with Darrell Hair and the Pakistanis Nothing, really. Hair seems to rub a lot of players up the wrong way, not just those from the sub-continent. He has previous, and in my opinion, the ICC should never have put him in charge of Test matches. You know everything's gone to shit when even cricket is uncivilized Dude, cricket invented sports cheating, including the cardinal sin of match fixing. It goes way back to the 18th century and continues to this day. Cricket must have got the 'civilised' tag from British imperialist PR.

posted by owlhouse at 09:51 PM on August 20, 2006

I'm completely uniformed about cricket history, but it's not hard to figure out where it got the civilized reputation: "tea time" and uniforms like these: "Civilized" doesn't have to be an insult, especially when compared with something like this:

posted by dusted at 10:47 PM on August 20, 2006

I went to a government school, but if you played in one of the school cricket XIs, you were allowed to wear cricket whites instead of regular school uniform on sports days. Did wearing those whites make a bunch of hormonally challenged 14 year old boys in any way civilised? No, I can tell you it did not. But playing lower grade cricket on weekends, we did get to indulge in some quite elaborate afternoon teas. Some clubs had a ladies auxiliary that seemed to spend all Saturday morning baking and brewing. The tables in the dressing room groaned under the weight of scones, cakes and biscuits. Quick singles were rarely taken in the tea to stumps session, which may have been their cunning plan all along.

posted by owlhouse at 12:17 AM on August 21, 2006

It sounds like the umpires' decision was final, and when they decided to end the match, that's the decision unless everyone concerned decides to unend the match. It doesn't sound like there's a completely set way to do such a thing. Pakistan might have had the right (and, after watching the fairly detailed FSW report, it seems they may have had the reason) to protest, but they must have understood that Hair had the power to call a forfeit or a conclusion to the game. Regardless, this just sounds like a terrible mess. Certainly it's not over, and I'd bet a rewrite of the rulebook to further clarify what to do in such matters is in order.

posted by chicobangs at 03:13 AM on August 21, 2006

afx237vi: The fact that Hair only ever seems to find fault with players from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka does lead some people to wonder about his motivations, yes. As does the fact that he often seems to be the only umpire seeing a problem (in this case, despite 26 TV cameras at the ground, no-one can find any actual footage of anything that looks like ball tampering).

posted by rodgerd at 06:47 PM on August 21, 2006

The fact that Hair only ever seems to find fault with players from India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka does lead some people to wonder about his motivations, yes What I meant to say in my comment was that Hair is basically an idiot first, and possibly a racist second. Either should exclude him from Test umpiring, but there is considerable good evidence for the first proposition without further examining his motives.

posted by owlhouse at 02:14 AM on August 22, 2006

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