The last few days have been sad for international cricket. The events that unfolded, Starting with the South African pull out from the tournament in Sri Lanka followed by the uncertainty over the cricket to be played in the island nation ending with the madness that happened in London, at the Oval. It has been a tough week for the Game.
The two hours of madness in The Oval has left the cricketing community and even the media, stunned. What happened there is yet to sink in and for sure there is more to it than what has met the eye so far.
Umpire Hair and The Pakistan team, both, have been involved in a fair amount of controversies in the past. If Darrel Hair has been the most controversial umpire since the 1990s, The Pakistan Cricket team have too had their share of ball tampering stories associated with them. (Remember, Imran Khan and the bottle top?).
As I said, we are yet to know what actually happened in the middle. In the days to come, we shall have experts and their opinions. The players involved will speak up and the media will decipher their quotes. Layer by layer, it will come out.
But there are a few things that are clear and are not jumped upon conclusions.
Umpires like Hair play their own game. We all know, he is not much of a fan of Asian teams (and vice versa). Does it take too much to keep him away from standing in test matches involving the teams he, kind of, loves to hate?
Racist or not, Hair loves controversies. Especially the ones he gets involved in.
Inzamam did what any conscious captain should have. I have often felt, he is just the right man for Pakistan. The PCB has showed tremendous faith in him and one can see why. The captain was well within his rights to protest and what he did was the most obvious thing to do. For a cricketer, that is the only way to protest there and then. But maybe he got a little carried away. Frankly, I don’t blame the Pakistan captain.
There is no denying this fact that things could have been handled better. If not by Inzamam then at least by the ICC. It is surprising, there was no third party involved to settle the dispute that went on for two hours. It was only Hair, Inzamam and the cricket rules book. And who else could this third party be, if not The ICC?
This is bad for cricket. Crowds are booing more often, doesn’t the ICC see that? Twenty20 is coming up and most of the cricket boards have a hard time filling in seats for test match cricket. And then this happens.
It is indeed ironical, that the cricket ground where England played it’s first ever Test more than 120 years ago, had to witness this circus.
Don’t send cricket to Malaysia or exhibit it in the Americas. ICC has work to do in places like England, the home of the game.
For all we know, the ICC could be the weakest sports body on this planet. Only under ICC can the viewers of the game get to wait for a good two hours in a state of bewilderment, confusion and chaos. And when it happens in football crazy England, you know which way the cricket game is heading to.