Imran Khan: Hair should be sued

Duncan wrote in to say he had an exclusive interview with Imran Khan who feels Pakistan should sue Darrell Hair:

“Pakistan have been unhappy with Hair’s umpiring before: it’s his manner, as if he wants to stamp his authority on the game. These kind of umpires do so much damage to the game.

“If he thought the ball had been tampered with, Hair should have given Inzamam a warning – instead of immediately jumping in and suggesting that ball tampering had occurred.

“Inzamam made a big mistake: he should have taken a stand on the spot when the ball was changed. Not coming out after tea was the wrong kind of protest. The captain’s job is to focus on winning the game. The manner of the protest has lost Pakistan valuable time in a game they looked like winning.

It’s all kicking off, and it’s all pretty depressing too. Thanks to Scott for the flurry of posts. Cricinfo has the mess in full of course.

Oval Test awarded to England

Update: the fourth Test has been awarded to England. More on this when news filters through.


Hot off the presses: Test match is ‘abandoned’.

So that implies a draw, not an England victory. This matters not a jot to the players, but it matters mightily to those people who bet on the outcome.

There is a precedent for this.

In 2001 the final Test between South Africa and India, at Centurion Park, was stripped of its Test status after India refused to play with Mike Denness as match referee when he brought charges against six Indian players, including a claim that Sachin Tendulkar had tampered with the ball. Denness, and the neutal umpire George Sharp, flew home and the ICC refused to call it a Test.

Sad, but that is probably the way to go.

UPDATE – It now seems that the game has been awarded to England. We finally have a statement,  which reads:

“After lengthy negotiations which resulted in agreement between the teams, the match referee and both the ECB and PCB to resume the fourth Test tomorrow, it was concluded that with regret there will be no play on the fifth day.

“The fourth Test has therefore been forfeited with the match being awarded to England.

“In accordance with the laws of cricket, it was noted that the umpires had correctly deemed that Pakistan had forfeited the match and awarded the test to England.”

‘The biggest crisis since the Packer era’

A BBC reporter on News24 said the situation at The Oval could boil into the most ‘the biggest crisis since the Packer era’.

The one-day series might be cancelled too. Just getting my head around what has been going on, thanks to Scott for filling in. He’ll have more when more happens.

It’s all happening at The Oval

England have batted well, and Pakistan dropped some pretty easy chances, but there has been an incident where the umpires changed the ball, with something to do with ball-tampering. Play went on, until tea, where there was discussions between umpires, coaches, match-referee Mike Proctor.

The English batsman are all waiting to go out but Pakistan are holed up in their dressing room in protest. They are not happy campers.

It’s all happening…

UPDATE- The Pakistani players have still not come out, and the English batsman have gone off.

A ground announcer has just asked the crowd to be patient while match officials continue with discussions.

UPDATE II – Pakistan are, after nearly an hour, resuming the field, to much jeering and catcalling from the crowd, who don’t have a clue what is going on.

UPDATE III – And now they are going off again. It appears that umpire Darryl Hair might be going on strike now.

UPDATE IV – It would appear that both umpires are on strike.

UPDATE V – The Pakistan Chairman says that they are willing to play, and are just waiting for the umpires. However, it seems that bad light will put a kybosh on any more play today. It will be interesting to see what the conclusion of all this is.

Geoff Boycott is scathing on Darryl Hair at the moment for his lack of sensitivity. He says that strictly speaking, the umpires were quite right to act the way that they did, but in the ‘spirit of cricket’ sense, the umpires are wrong to go on strike in the way that they have.

I personally will wait to hear from everyone involved before I come to any conclusion. Seems there’s enough blame to go round from what little I know.

The big winner out of all this are England, who have got themselves into a position where they might save the game tomorrow. That is, if they even play tomorrow!

UPDATE VI – ECB Vice Chairman Mike Soaper is ‘not optimisitic’, and he has been in the meetings.

Police replacing umpires – ICC takes tough stance


Photo taken by Ric James @

Wonderful photo on Flickr – are Policemen replacing Umpires on the village green…? It’d cut down on ball tampering, that’s for sure!

Ball tampering allegations

Following Surrey’s alledged ball-tampering escapades, Glamorgan and Gloucestershire[1] are in the ball-tampering news today too. Somewhat depressing that I should celebrate my 500th post here with the evils of ball tampering, but it’s noteworthy and important to write about nonetheless.

Glamorgan – who like Surrey are having a pathetic season so far – coach Derrick alledged Gloucester bowler Steve Kirby “pursued a boundary into the car park at Sophia Gardens and scraped the ball on the hard surface, altering its condition to suit swing bowling.”

So, I guess, Derrick must have seen Kirby do this. Usual story – everyone’s backing eachother’s coach and captain and player, but it’s worrying that it’s happening at all. The Surrey incident is more pressing, if only because fingernails have been used – although I’d have thought concrete could do more hard than grubby old fingernails.

So the ECB are under pressure to fine Surrey – and I hope they do. It might even kick their season into touch, if it’s not already – disasterous season, isn’t it brilliant?

Despite all this, Derek Pringle aims to shed a warmer glow on the devilish occupations of ball tampering, arguing:

What they are actually about is another spat in cricket’s oldest rivalry – that between bowler and batsman.

And it’s a bloody good read. Hell – why am I so against ball tampering? I hate batsmen and their lazy, fashionista, always-fielding-at-slip ways. Bowlers around the world – pick your seams and gel your hair!

Jesting aside, and taking into consideration that Pringle is himself a bowler, he makes valid points – some of which nicely link back to our batting v bowling argument:

According to Smith, one bowler used an emery board strapped to a plaster on his non-bowling hand. Certainly, objects such as bottle-tops, nail files and penknives have been used in the past. Law 42.2, which deals with the match ball and changing its condition, should be more laissez faire, though only fingers rather than tools should be allowed to roughen and pick at the ball.

If that sounds too liberal, remember that batsmen have long been the recipients of every advantage going. Covered pitches, lightweight helmets and body armour, big bats that pick up like feathers, shrinking boundaries, have all been brought in to keep bowlers from planting their flag at the top of the hill.

Even as a bowler, I don’t think I can cross over to Pringle’s liberal stance. I know “ball doctoring” is as old as the hills, but there’s something clandestine about affecting the ball’s shape. Could it be said, though, that we are entering an era of bat-tampering, too? :)

Thoughts, disagreements etc all welcome. Have you ever picked the seam or “bottle-topped”?

[1] Some Americans pronounce this: “Glue Cester Shire” – which always makes me smile when I write it. You can imagine what happens with poor old Worcestershire (“Warrr cessterrr shire”)