|Ground:||Kennington Oval, Kennington|
|Scorecard:||England v Pakistan|
|Player:||Inzamam-ul-Haq, DB Hair|
|Event:||Pakistan in British Isles 2006|
DateLine: 22nd August 2006
(Article: The opinions expressed in the following new stories are those of the author only.)
Hair-raising row turns Oval Test on its head
By Kamran Abbasi
LONDON, Aug 20: Pakistan made cricket history by not emerging after the tea interval at The Oval on Sunday. The team and the management were incensed by the decision of the umpires, led by Darrel Hair, to penalise Pakistan for ball tampering in the middle of the afternoon session of the fourth and final Test.
A day of fascinating cricket, with England fighting back thanks to some aggressive batting and two dropped catches from Pakistan, transformed into a day of intense drama, unprecedented controversy and high farce, which ended with the remarkable situation of first the Pakistan team and then the umpires refusing to continue the match.
The ball was changed at the end of the 56th over under Law 42.3 which states: "the event of any fielder changing the condition of the ball unfairly ... the umpires shall award five penalty runs to the batting side."
The controversy turned into a full-blown diplomatic incident with shuttle negotiations between dressing rooms, cricket boards and respective board chairmen. Shaharyar M. Khan, the PCB Chairman, was ideally placed to play a major part in the dramatic proceedings which brought back memories of the Shakoor Rana and Mike Gatting incident in Faisalabad in 1987.
No announcement was made to a full-house of over 20,000 spectators who waited almost two hours before they were told that play had been abandoned for the day. Whether or not play would resume on Monday was to be decided at a meeting between team officials and the match referee.
It is hard to believe that Pakistan would have been as mightily offended if the umpire involved had not been Hair, the Australian who has a track record of poor decisions and sparking controversy in matches involving Asian teams. Despite objections, the ICC seems unable to resist provocation by ensuring that Hair follows Pakistan around the globe. Last winter, he was involved in more controversy during England’s tour of Pakistan.
Hair's poor decision-making was also a contributory factor in Pakistan's defeat in the pivotal Test at Headingley last week. The PCB was already in the process of preparing a further complaint against Hair's umpiring in this series. "The boys were extremely upset at the slur of ball tampering," said Shaharyar Khan, "and wanted to register a protest at the unilateral decision of the umpires by not coming out immediately after tea."
"The boys then got themselves ready to come out but Mr Hair and Mr Doctrove came to our balcony and warned them to come out immediately and to tell them if they didn't come out immediately they would forfeit the match. The players went into the dressing room to discuss what to do and decided to play but when they came out of the dressing room the umpires had left the ground."
"The whole team was aggrieved and Inzamam felt most aggrieved by the ball tampering penalty."
"Inzamam didn't come off the pitch immediately after the incident occurred because the report of the umpires had not been given to the referee. Once he'd seen the report he felt a grave accusation had been made against the team and the country."
"The umpires concluded that the ball was deliberately scuffed. We are 100 per cent sure that was not the case."
"We are resentful that the captain was not informed properly. The umpires were within their rights but there was no consultation with the captain and there seems to have been no evidence given. The captain and the boys feel gravely insulted."
"One or two of the management staff have looked at the ball and they are convinced that this is the kind of ball you would expect after 56 overs."
"There is no evidence whatsoever of deliberate scuffing and I hope the ball will be shown so that people can make up their own minds."
"We were ready to play but I think Mr Hair and Mr Doctrove were not ready to come out. We are ready to play with any umpire and we want to get on with the game."
"I feel very, very saddened that it should have come to this. The whole idea is to persuade the umpires to go out again."
"I think once you accuse a team of deliberately tampering it is a major issue and it should have been handled with due sensitivity and due consultation. Inzamam was not allowed to see the ball until he demanded he was allowed to see the ball."
There was no play after tea and the delay was punctuated by two appearances from the umpires.
The first was immediately after tea when nobody came out to join them, not even the England batsmen. The umpires walked off. Five minutes later the umpires returned followed by England's batsmen, who loitered at the stumps for two minutes and then went off again. Hair and Billy Doctrove concluded that according to the letter of the laws of cricket Pakistan had conceded the match.
At 25 minutes past five, the covers began to be removed, Inzamam led Pakistan out to a combination of boos and cheers, the team warmed up on the outfield and then wandered back up to the dressing room bemused since neither the umpires nor the batsmen reappeared.
Hair's decision was prompted by a complaint from Kevin Pietersen, according to the Pakistan management. It is hard to understand how you could confirm tampering of a ball that was over 56 old and had been belted to the boundary and beyond on plentiful occasions.
Ironically, the ball that Pietersen chose as a replacement contributed to his dismissal as it kept low and took the under-edge of his bat forcing Kamran Akmal to take a fine low catch. The replacement ball, however, offered little assistance to Pakistan's bowlers and helped England regain parity in the match.
Match referee Mike Procter said: "Following issues raised by the onfield umpires, which need to be resolved, meetings will be held between the match referee and both teams after play to determine whether any further play will be scheduled in this match."
Monday, August 21, 2006
Umpire Hair's biased decision mars Oval Test
LONDON: The fourth and final Test between Pakistan and England at The Oval took an unsavory and controversial twist midway through the afternoon session on the fourth day, as the umpires changed the ball after becoming unhappy with how its condition had altered. At the end of the 56th over, bowled by Danish Kaneria, Australian umpire Darrell Hair went over to Billy Doctrove and was seen pointing at the quarter seam. The fourth umpire, Trevor Jesty, then brought out a box of balls and the England batsmen, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood, were allowed to choose the next one to be used, in accordance with the Laws of Cricket.
Hair inexplicably changed the ball on 'suspicions' of ball tampering without evidence. This led to a symbolic protest by the Pakistan team, followed by a decision by Hair to remove the bails and walk off the ground, implying that he had awarded the match to England. Hair has been accused in the past of racism and bias by Pakistan. After the symbolic protest the Pakistani team walked out to play, but the umpires refused to continue.
There was no TV footage of anything untoward being done to ball. The commentators sounded clearly upset, saying the umpires should not have changed the ball without 'ball-tampering proof' from "over 20 TV cameras".
The Test was abandoned and awarded to England after Pakistan forfeited the match when they stayed in their dressing room following a row over ball-tampering, Reuters quoted an ECB statement as saying. England win the four-Test series 3-0, it added.
President Musharraf telephoned the Pakistani cricket team following the controversy and enquired about the incident, ARY TV reported.
It is time to take umpire Darrell Hair to court
By Shahed Sadullah
LONDON: The chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had let it be known before The Oval Test that he was going to take up the umpiring issue with the ICC after the fourth Test. He did not mention anyone by name but nobody had any problems guessing who he in mind.
One can think of no other umpire in recent cricketing history whose decisions have had such a huge impact on the game and always, without fail, against Pakistan. In the face of that his continued appointment to officiate in Tests featuring Pakistan is a mystery.
Quite simply, it has provided for an unfair sporting contest in which the dice has been too heavily loaded in favour of one side against the other. No genuine sportsman should enjoy that sort of a contest.
On Sunday afternoon, Hair excelled himself, even by his own unfathomable standards. He decided to rule that Pakistan had tempered with the ball, fined Pakistan five runs and allowed Kevin Pieterson to select another ball.
Who tempered with the ball? No one was caught doing it so the decision was based on an assumption. The grounds for such an assumption are not clear. However, the implications of Hair's action are quite clear.
He has in effect ruled that Pakistan were cheating but without pinpointing who was responsible or when the act was committed, or what it was that made him conclude that the ball has been tampered with, or in other words, the act of cheating had been committed.
Who is involved here is Pakistan's image and self-respect and Hair's ruling casts a shadow on the reputation of that nation. That should be actionable. It is quite clear that one cannot hope for much in in the form of redress from the ICC; if the ICC had not been pursuing extra cricketing agendas, they would not have appointed Hair in the first place after Pakistan had clearly spelt it out that they did not have confidence in this man.
With this action of Hair's, it is seriously time to examine the possibility of taking this man to a court of law. He would have to show that his action was based on recognised judicial principles and that was not in evidence. Enough is enough. The Darrell Hair problem now has to be addressed and it does not look as if there is much hope that ICC will do so.
In the light of all this, it beggars belief why the PCB decided to oppose the idea of further use of technology on the basis that it would diminish the umpire's authority.
The umpire's authority has not been used in fair or just manner the "mistake" have not evened out and Asian teams, Pakistan especially, have consistently been at the receiving end.
If cricket is Pakistan's biggest export and biggest national image builder, the exercise of authority by umpires like Darrel Hair has hit Pakistan's national interest. If that does not prompt the PCB to act, nothing will.
Reuters adds: The incident cast a shadow over a game which Pakistan are desperate to win after England made sure of clinching the series with victories in the second and third Tests.
A spokesman for the International Cricket Council (ICC) said he was not aware of the five-run penalty for ball tampering ever being applied during a Test before, although several individual players have been sanctioned for changing the state of the ball.
The home team, skittled for 173 in their first innings before Pakistan had amassed 504, had resumed on 78 for one. They lost Andrew Strauss for 54 in the morning after the England captain had put on 107 with Alastair Cook for the second wicket. Strauss played a string of fine cuts before he played at leg spinner Danish Kaneria and was given out lbw to a ball which appeared to have hit his pad outside off stump.
Fellow left-hander Cook led a charmed life - he was given not out off the fourth ball of the day from Kaneria after a huge appeal for a catch off pad and bat, bowled by a no ball and then dropped on 47 - before he was dismissed for 83 when Umar Gul sent down a perfect yorker. He and Pietersen put on 103 together, taking the score to 218 for three. Pietersen then lit up the day with 96 runs flayed off 114 deliveries.
The ball tampering incident appeared to send him into overdrive. He slog-swept Kaneria for six and then smashed Mohammad Hafeez's first ball back over the bowler's head. Needing a boundary to get to three figures, however, he slashed at a short, wide ball from Shahid Nazir and Kamran Akmal took a fine one-handed catch.
The ball was 56 overs old at the time of the controversy. Gul had bowled the previous over. The laws of the game state that teams can be penalised five runs if a member of the fielding side is found to have changed the state of the ball unfairly. Playing regulations say the batsmen at the crease may then choose a replacement ball.
Ball tampering allegations have blighted England-Pakistan series before. In 1992 the English press raised questions over the ability of Pakistan pace bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis to swing the old ball. Reverse swing, which allows the ball to swing in the opposite direction expected, has since become an accepted part of the game.
Players found guilty of ball tampering can be fined up to 50 percent of their match fees and also face a match ban.
Hair-raising incident sets fire to a dead Test rubber
By Khalid Hussain
LONDON: It took a ball tampering allegation from the infamous Darrell Hair to add drama to an otherwise dead rubber.
Hair, easily the most controversial umpire in international cricket, accused Pakistan of tampering with the ball on the penultimate day of the fourth Test against England here at The Oval on Sunday, a move that snowballed into a major controversy.
Pakistan refused to take the field after tea, protesting against the Australian umpire's accusation and once they did return after a round of negotiations, it was Hair who decided to go on strike.
The drama stopped Pakistan from pressing for a win in the Test that they had completely dominated in the previous three days.
The match descended into chaos as first the Pakistani players and then the umpires refused to return to the field. After almost an hour-and-a-half after play was scheduled to resume following tea, play was called off for the day.
Uncertainty still prevailed over the fate of the match as there was no official statement on what would happen next. The match might resume on Monday, the final day, or the umpires can declare it forfeited.
Hair, who rocked the cricket world by calling Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for chucking, shocked almost everybody when he stopped play to inspect the ball and after discussion with fellow umpire Billy Doctrove awarded five penalty points against Pakistan for alleged ball tempering and then changed the ball.
After a heated argument with the umpires, Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq decided to continue playing and the match carried on till tea without any incident. After the interval, however, Pakistan were not ready to carry on.
England were 298-4 when hair pointed his finger of accusation and Pakistan were still in with a chance to win the Test.
The hosts resumed their campaign to save the Test at 78-1 with Strauss at 37 and Cook at 33. Pakistan were unlucky as they were denied an early breakthrough by Doctrove in the very first over. Cook popped a catch off Kaneria to silly point but the Pakistani appeals got a deaf ear.
Cook looked uncomfortable facing Kaneria as the leg-spinner exploited the rough on the track and was turning the ball sharply.
There was more frustration for Pakistan when Kaneria clean bowled Cook with a sizzler but on a no-ball.
Strauss was a lot more confident and cruised to his fifty before falling to a Kaneria delivery that turned a few feet after pitching outside the off stump. It was a controversial decision but for once it favoured Pakistan. Strauss went for 54 that came off 83 balls and included nine fours.
Cook needed another life before reaching his fifty as Faisal Iqbal dropped him off Asif at 47.
Pakistan squandered another golden opportunity when Kamran Akmal spilt a regulation catch after Pietersen, at 15, had edged a Kaneria delivery straight on to his gloves.
The duo made Pakistan pay and added 103 for the third wicket before Cook was beaten by a swinging Yorker by Umar Gul. Cook’s 83 came off 146 balls and included 11 fours.
England were at 218-3 when he departed.
A few overs later came a dramatic twist that overshadowed all efforts made by the English batsmen during the day. At the end of 56th over, the umpires decided to award five penalty points for alleged ball tampering, ignoring a heated protest from Inzamam. According to laws, umpires can change the ball if being changed unfairly by the fielders and the batsmen get a choice to pick another one from a choice of six balls. England moved to 235-3 with the five-run addition.
Pietersen continued his march towards a second successive century only to fall four runs short when he chased a wide one from Shahid Nazir and Akmal took a low, diving catch. England were still trailing by 54 when Pietersen returned to the pavilion after scoring an electric 96 off 114 balls with the help of two sixers and 13 fours.
Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell 21 more runs to the England total when bad light forced umpires to signal an early tea.
(Article: compiled by the PCB. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individuals only.
Copyright © 2006 the individual writers.)