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    February 06, 2006

    Bizarre happenings

    This Pakistani weather is beginning to get on my nerves now. If the weather was indeed so poor in parts of Pakistan where games for this series are being held, I'd say it is pretty stupid to schedule this tour now. Then again, it is very lucrative for the cricket boards. So bugger the cricketers and the spectators who want to watch full days of cricket.

    Given the farcical events of a while ago when the Peshawar one-dayer was awarded to Pakistan by using the Duckworth Lewis method when just three overs remained, I have to wonder if the PCB will now suggest one-dayers played over two days with yellow cricket balls.

    The fact is that Pakistan needed eighteen runs in three overs with three wickets in hand. Pakistan may have got there in one over. Then again, they may have become all out with ten more runs to get. We will never know. But the players, and the audience/spectators, deserve to see every opportunity be given to ensure that the game is won rather than awarded, to see a result obtained on the cricket on the field, rather than based on what an ICC handbook says. They might as well play book cricket with the D/L rules book, for all I care!

    My argument would have been the same even if Pakistan had been at the receiving end today.

    The more bizarre incident happened shortly before the farcical end of the game. Just two months after he was ruled run-out while attempting to get out of the way of Harmison trying to hurl down his stumps while still in the crease, Inzamam's ability to invite the bizarrest modes of dismissal upon himself continued today when he was ruled out obstructing the ball.

    What happened was that Inzy drove to mid-off and tried to take a run. Raina fielded and tried to run him out at the striker's end because the non-striker Younis Khan hadn't really budged. Inzamam then played the most perfect copybook defensive stroke and thereby invited the appeal, and the umpire obliged an elated Indian team. The relevant sections of the law say
    Either batsman is out 'Obstructing the field' if he wilfully obstructs or distracts the opposing side by word or action. It shall be regarded as obstruction if either batsman wilfully, and without the consent of the fielding side, strikes the ball with his bat or person, other than a hand not holding the bat, after the ball has touched a fielder.

    It is for either umpire to decide whether any obstruction or distraction is wilful or not. He shall consult the other umpire if he has any doubt.
    Inzamam certainly did not inadvertently or accidentally prevent the ball from hitting the stumps. I know he is a great batsman, but I really doubt if even the greatest of batsmen would play a copybook defensive stroke inadvertently. Ergo, he definitely hit the ball of his own free will, undictated by any sudden jerk of his arm which forced his bat to rise up in defence. So I think he was out.

    Should the Indian team have appealed? Was it unsporting on their part? I think they'd rather win the series than make friends. It would help if they did both, but I hope their priority is the former. It was upto the umpire(s) to decide on what to do about the appeal. They seem to have gone by the rulebook in this case and ruled him (correctly) out, unlike the Harmison instance where England were completely within their rights to appeal and the umpires were completely within their rights to reject the appeal.

    Inzamam actually burst onto the cricket scene in the 1992 World Cup with his superb hitting in the semi-final and the final. But before that, he had enthralled us all in the company of Jonty Rhodes, as this run-out shows.

    Jonty Rhodes runs out Inzamam

    So being run out isn't strange for him, and neither is finding the strangest ways of getting out! I think he and Tendulkar would make very good company. Will they perhaps be ticking off on a calendar/wall the various ways in which they've been dismissed. What would be left?
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 7:40 PM |
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