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    August 20, 2006

    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?So who's to blame? Vote in the poll.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 11:55 pm |
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    6 sledge(s):

    On the ODIs, I don't believe there is any problem with the teams or the boards. It's between the Pakistani team and the umpires, and the Pakistani board and the ICC. The ECB will also be keen to secure compensation should their be no play tomorrow, but that's a side issue.

    I haven't formed an opinion on the issue as a whole yet, but I think Shahrayar Khan was extremely disingenuous when he said: 'We simply said we would stay indoors for a few minutes then go out and play. We want to play but the umpires do not.'

    The umpires came out after tea. Pakistan didn't. According to the BBC's record, which can be assumed to be reasonably accurate, the umpires and England batsmen were ready at 16:43. They went on to the field at 16:54, and left at 16:57. (Three minutes is of course how long it takes for a batsman to be timed out.) The Pakistan team finally emerged from their dressing room at 17:24. That's exactly half an hour after the umpires and England batsmen were ready to start play. I don't think anyone would define that as a few minutes, and I don't think anyone can take that as a serious indication that Pakistan did in fact want to play.

    By Anonymous Anonymous (21-Aug-2006, 12:02:00 am)  

    geoff: You're right. Shahryar's assertion that Pakistan were keen to play is nonsense. What sort of a protest is a 30 minute protest? Either you don't go out to play at all, or you do, when you're supposed to.

    By Blogger Jagadish (21-Aug-2006, 12:05:00 am)  

    The more I think about this, the less I understand what Pakistan hoped to achieve. The ideal outcome from their perspective was surely to come out, continue playing, and then protest officially against the injustice they feel has been done. If nothing else, they would have more public sympathy - or at least more sympathy from me. They were already part-way there by their reaction to the initial decision, which was exemplary. (Having said that, given Inzy's ignorance of the laws on obstructing the field, it's also possible they didn't realise what had happened.)

    By Anonymous Anonymous (21-Aug-2006, 12:31:00 am)  

    geoff: Pakistan couldn't figure out what to do. Inzamam's lack of understanding of the rules has already been displayed twice recently. When he was declared out obstructing the field against India, he compared it with being (wrongly) adjudged run out against Pakistan and said he's confused since he's declared out if he hits the ball and if he doesn't. He ought to have realized that he was given out for two entirely different reasons - one was a run out and the other was obstructing the field. I remember a situation around 2-3 years ago in a test in New Zealand when with Pakistan only needing 20-odd more runs to win, he didn't realize he could take an extra half-hour. Rain & wind was predicted for the fifth day and Pakistan were quite lucky that his lack of awareness of the rule didn't result in a drawn game.

    By Blogger Jagadish (21-Aug-2006, 12:43:00 am)  

    As has been said by pretty much anyone who was witness to the whole debacle this afternoon - what the heck is going on!?

    I saw the whole thing unfold on Sky Sports and it was real soap opera stuff which just continued to get worse. The whole ball-tampering thing aside, the management of the incidents just heightened the nonsense. Whether or not Pakistan were right to protest is obviously up for debate (it seems to me that something should have been said during the Tea interval - perhaps the fact that nothing was said was why they decided to protest? That of course is the problem - everyone is so in the dark over what actually happened). But the umpires and batsmen going on, then off, then on, then off, then the players going on, then off... it was just ridiculous.

    And I totally agree with the list of questions - if we could only get some answers, then maybe it would be possible to figure out just what is going.

    By Anonymous Anonymous (21-Aug-2006, 1:07:00 am)  

    The game has been abandoned, so, I guess, England win the series 3-0.

    By Anonymous Anonymous (21-Aug-2006, 1:20:00 am)  

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