First of all, I sincerely hope that cricket is able to come through this crisis without much trouble. I am writing this because the fight to prove oneself innocent has boiled to the extent that people have created blocs and brought in racism to the equation. I feel that everytime a white umpire tries to control or discipline some cricketer from the sub-continent he is labelled as being racist or there is a hue and cry across the subcontinent. We should only protest when it is required. After all, we are also part of the law-making process in the toothless body which controls cricket.
Now, coming to the Darrell Hair incident, I am just not able to imagine that he wrote a letter to the ICC requesting for payment of $500K in exchange for quitting the game. This payment is in lieu of the loss in payments that he will suffer if he is made to quit the game. I find this ridiculous because Darrell “stubborn” hair has still not come forward to clear his name from the controversy. If he was sure that the pakistanis had tampered with the ball, then why make such stupid offers and make a fool of yourself. All this is only alienating him further from the narrow cricketing fraternity that is still supporting him. Even though he says that the letter was written after the discussion with Umpires chief Doug Cowie, it shows him in very bad light. Someone who was written about as being the only true custodian of cricket, someone who thought that umpires were sacrosanct shouldn’t be making such an offer when his reputation is at stake. After this nonsense that he has done the slim chances that he had of continuing umpiring have disappeared alltogether. Though the ICC is still behind Hair, it has hung him out to dry to the media and the cricketing world. Certainly, Hair will never be able to command any respect from players if he ever stepped on to the cricketing field again for umpiring.
Pakistan and Inzamam will claim the moral high ground now and even if they had committed a mistake, they can project things as if Hair is the only party to blame. But, given the way the ICC has been handling this issue, I certainly feel that the umpire is the guilty party and most probably Pakistan would be cleared of ball tampering charges. But, Inzamam should still be punished for not continuing to play the match as if he is not punished, it might just set a precedent for other things to come.
And in the meanwhile, everyone has conveniently forgotten to address the fundamental issue of who tampered the ball? If this question is answered, then the controversy just disappears. But, that is bound not to happen. Most probably, the only charge that will be upheld at the end of this saga would be that of Inzamam getting punished for forfeiting the test. And hopefully, ICC will not use all the drama that has been unfolding in the last few days to put the focus off the real issues on hand.
Filed under: Cricket