the wrong 'un

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A Fish Rots From The Head

I've now had a couple of days to reflect on Friday's revelations from the ICC, and, with the benefit of hindsight, I can admit that the thoughts that I posted at the time, and my conclusions, were perhaps a little bit hasty.

I was far too soft on the ICC.

The whole farrago was a fucking disgrace from start to finish. Malcolm Speed and Percy Sonn managed to spend two days liaising with lawyers from three different international firms, as to whether or not they had the responsibility to put in the public domain an email from Darrell Hair, that had already been retracted. The supposed neccesity for the public being made aware of this retracted email, was that the Pakistan Cricket Board of Control (which does not actually exist) may have needed to be supplied with the email as part of the defence to the disrepute charge that Inzamam faces, and that it would then probably leak out.

Please bear in mind, that the combined brains of the ICC had not been able to confirm a date for this disciplinary hearing, despite the fact that all the participant are either employed by the ICC, or under obligation to them under the rules.

Despite the seeming unwillingness of the ICC to convene this hearing expeditiously, Messrs Speed and Sonn found the need to fly in to London from Dubai and South Africa, merely for the purpose of blazoning this retracted private email across the front pages of the world's newspapers.

Call me cynical, but this stinks to high heaven.

1. The Timing.

The ECB have been fretful since the Test forfeit that the Pakistanis would not fulfil their (money-spinning) one day fixtures. The press conference was duly followed by a statement from the Pakistan team that they would be playing the games (unless, presumably, they got an umpiring decision they disagreed with). As the disrepute hearing is likely to be at least a month away, can anyone suggest any other reason why Hair had to be humiliated quite so soon?

(If I were Billy Doctrove, I would be bracing myself for revelations emanating from Dubai this week that I had visited two restaurants in London without leaving a tip, and had been seen giving Rachel Hayhoe Flint an admiring glance from the other end of a Kennington bar.)

2. The Import.

Pakistan say - "We Are Vindicated".

This noxious headline appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday morning. The twisted logic that underlies this statement seems to be that because Pakistan took the petulant decision to refuse to play, and because they maintain that an umpire that finds them guilty of wrongdoing must be racist, and because their actions may have forced said umpire to quit his employment at substantial pecuniary loss, his request for compensation (almost immediately retracted) means in fact that they could not possibly have been guilty of ball tampering, nor of bringing the game into disrepute by refusing to continue to play. Or in other words, two plus fifteen equals three thousand eight hundred and eleven. Perhaps if Hair had only asked for A$170,000, they would have pleaded guilty to 'Scoffing Half the Other Teams Tea', and copped a plea on 'Abusing a Bail for Stance Marking'.

If you want any further illustration of the moral bankruptcy of the ICC, step forward General Cricket Manager David Richardson -

"He [Hair] does what he thinks is right regardless of the consequences."

Yes, he does mean that as an insult.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Stiched Up Like A Kipper

Q. You are the ICC. You are faced with an unprecedented forfeiture of a Test match by a constituent country. Do you -

a) Instigate immediate action against the defaulting team, suspending them from all competition until the disciplinary process is concluded?

b) Arrange for a disciplinary hearing to take place at a later date, allowing the accused to play on until the hearing is concluded?

c) Feed the umpire to the vultures?

If you answered (a), you are spot-on, and a very welcome visitor to this blog. If (b), you are a little too wishy-washy, but essentially fair-minded. If you answered (c), you are the ICC, and you are a complete arsehole.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Strop Stops Play

So, it took until the fourth day of the fourth Test for the standard England/Pakistan rumpus to emerge.

Whatever the Umpires saw to make their decision about the tampered ball (and as yet we have not been told what that is) they clearly did not exceed their powers by changing the ball and awarding the penalty runs. And even if the Pakistan team felt they had a grievance, they clearly infringed the relevant Law by refusing to take the field after the tea interval. So, if the Umpires took the decision to award the game to England, as it appeared to the TV viewer (and again, at this time we have not heard the exact chronology of events), they were again acting correctly according to the Laws and playing regulations.

At the risk of incurring the wrath of the estimable Mr Ward, I should explain why it is important that rules are adhered to, and must be seen to be being adhered to. When decisions in sport are left to referees and umpires to decide according to Common Sense - the regular plaintive cry of the exasperated commentator or talk-show phoner in - the actual decisions taken will vary dramatically depending on whose sense, common or otherwise, is being used. Therefore, the recent trend in many sports and pastimes has been to attempt to set down in the regulations as many eventualities as can possibly been forseen, to make it easier on the officials by reducing grey areas.

So if the Umpires did indeed award the match to England, and did follow the procedure as set down, it would in my opinion be a great folly to overturn that decision. It would undermine all Umpires in the future, by showing them that their decisions are subject to potential veto by and aggrieved team, it would encourage teams to dispute more decisions (if possible), and it would tear a gaping hole in the Laws of the Game, a hole that would not easily be repaired.

Friday, August 11, 2006


Police were today searching for a Pakistani male whose movements earlier this week were described as "unusual".

Update: Idiocy amended. Also, strange that I could not find a single usable picture of Inzy's demise to, er, borrow.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What's in a name?

If Kaneria decides to emulate Yousuf Youhana in adopting Islam, can I suggest he renames himself Danish Kartoon Jihad?