A lot of questions and no answers
There's been nothing short of high farce
played out over the last couple of hours at The Oval after the tea break. Pakistan went into the break facing charges of altering with the condition of the ball
. Obviously incensed at the accusation, the team refused to come back on the field.
The only other time I've seen something similar was Ranatunga leading his team to the edge of the ground at Adelaide in 1999
after umpire Ross Emerson had called Murali for chucking.
The umpires, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, came out. The two not-out England batsmen, Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood, also came out. After waiting for the Pakistan team, the two umpires chatted with the batsmen and knocked down the bails. The cameras kept focussing on the Pakistan dressing room. Kamran Akmal didn't have pads or gloves on and was reading the newspaper. That was a sure indication that Pakistan weren't playing ball. Shahryar Khan, the PCB chairman and the head of the ECB (I think) went into the Pakistan dressing room and a few minutes later, thumbs up signs were shown, indicating that the issue was close to resolution.
Inzamam then came out with the rest of his side. They went onto the field but then realized that neither the umpires nor the two England batsmen were following them. In fact, they ought to have figured it out earlier. Teams go onto the field only after the umpires do. So they were only making some sort of a point by going on the field although the umpires weren't in sight.
They threw the ball around for a while and then returned to the dressing room. It was obvious that the two umpires were now protesting. Whether it was Darrell Hair who refused to go back or if it was a collective decision by both umpires is as yet unknown. After this, there was really no chance of play, especially since the light had also faded.
So now here're the questions. Where're the answers?
- Was the ball actually tampered with?
- If so, did the umpires see someone do it, or were they merely basing their judgement on how they saw the ball at a specific point in time?
- Does the act of the umpires, i.e. charging the Pakistan team with altering the condition of the ball, amount to an accusation of cheating?
- Do the umpires have to necessarily point out exactly who they saw fingering around with the ball? If the issue were taken to court, could lack of evidence on TV prove that Pakistan didn't tamper with the ball?
- If the ICC's code of conduct is applied, will the entire Pakistan team be charged under a Level 2 offence, assuming that there's no evidence against one specific individual?
- Should Pakistan have actually just conceded the match, thereby ensuring that their protest was amply reflected?
- What did Pakistan hope to achieve by not coming out and then coming back on the field?
- Where did they get that ball, which they were playing around with on the field, from? I thought the ball would have been in the possession of the umpires.
- Even if the umpires had come back, would they have offered the light to the batsmen?
- Why doesn't the ICC rules of mobile phones in dressing rooms apply? We saw so many folks chatting on their mobile phones.
- How would some of these players, Mike Atherton, Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, have felt, given they've been at the receiving end of ball-tampering controversies earlier?
- What is match referee Mike Procter's role? Why didn't he get Inzamam, Strauss, Doctrove and Hair together to sort it out rather than wait for Pakistan's dressing room meeting to finish?
- Does the umpires' act of taking the bails off indicate the game is over? I think not. The bails being taken off indicate an end/abandonment of play for the moment (rain break/bad light/end of a session etc.). End of the game is when the stumps are uprooted (by the umpires and by the victorious team, if any!)
- Why hasn't the ICC even bothered to make some sort of a statement on this issue, at least to let viewers/spectators know what's going on?
- Why didn't ESPN go to a single advertisement break?
- The last time a ball tampering controversy erupted big-time, an England-India test series was nearly cancelled. What about this match? What about the forthcoming one-dayers?
So who's to blame? Vote in the poll
Labels: ball tampering, hair, match referee, oval 2006