Monday, August 21, 2006

Spitting the dummy

These are my immediate responses to yesterday's fiasco: Pakistan spat the dummy bigtime and they lost a test match for it. There have been plenty of umpiring injustices in the past, and teams have protested in many different ways. But this method, of sitting in the dressing room, like a bunch of prima donnas, takes the cake. Whatever critique is levelled at Hair, Pakistan have spectacularly undermined the game, (I'm sad to say they have a long record in this matter). Pakistan will go into its usual mode of self-righteous anger, but make no mistake, they thought they could throw a tantrum, hold their breath, and everyone would come running with lollies. They should have read the laws of cricket first.


Blogger kenelmdigby said...

For sure, the timing of events remains unclear - were the Pakistanis actually intending to play the second time the umpires came out, as they have later claimed? what exactly was the warning that Hair allegedly gave them in advance of deciding on the forfeit?

But no matter what the answer to these questions, two factors are glaring for me. Firstly, no evidence of tampering has been provided by anyone, and the umpires gave none to support their claim - surely an obligation. Secondly, the slightest sensitivity of umpires or match referee to context and history, surely required for high-level decision-making on matters of interpretation and controversy (ie on issues where judgements are inferences without any direct observational evidence), would have dictated a slower and more interactive approach at every stage - on first suspicion, on making and announcing a decision on the field, and in subsequent off-field negotations.

So this is a horrible day. It's a very ugly coincidence that it's happened on the same day as two innocent men of Middle Eastern appearance were thrown off a plane on the say-so of random passengers.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...


No doubt about it, I'm not surprised that an incident like this involves Hair. Inzi got two things wrong in dealing with him: he should have continued the discussion about tampering right there and then on the ground, and if need be, called out the match referee to intervene. Agreeing to the decision on the ground and then staging a no-show was bad tactics. Furthemore, and here again, you are right, I don't think Hair gave them a warning but I'm less inclined to be sympathetic to Inzi - as a test captain, he should have known the laws on forfeiture.

I had planned to blog again on this later in the day but your comment has prompted me to do it right away.
Here is a list of all the things that went wrong:

1. Poor communication between Hair and Inzi to begin with on the ground. No evidence provided by the umpires to the captain.

2. Poor communication between Woolmer and the umpires and referees. Couldn't a protest have been registered at this time?

3. Bizarre protest by the Pakistanis - refusals to play are forfeitures and have been understood as such for a very long time. Why didn't Woolmer tell Inzi to get on with it?

4. If the Pakistanis claim that all they wanted to do was register a token protest, why did they wait 50 minutes till after tea to come out?

All in all, an utter and total fiasco, and I'm not surprised Pakistan and Hair are at the center of it.

1:36 PM  

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