Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cricket, anyone?

HUGE controversy in England over the test match between England and Pakistan. The referee, an Australian named Darrell Hair, thought that the ball was moving funnily, and accused Pakistan of scuffing the ball...a very serious accusation in cricket. He penalized Pakistan 5 runs and allowed England to select another ball.

Pakistan was so upset by the accusation--they claimed the ball looked like a ball that had been knocked around for more than 50 overs, not like a ball that had been tampered with--that they protested by delaying their return from tea by a few minutes. That turned out to be a very bad move, as Hair "removed the bails" (whatever they are) to signify a Pakistan forfeit, the first forfeit in the history of Test cricket.

Bad enough for you? It gets worse. A former Pakistani captain criticizes Hair's decision and his demeanor (in an article I could understand even though I have a preschool-level understanding of cricket). Others are saying Hair has a history of anti-Asian bias, which Hair denies. Still, Asian sides seem to feel strongly about it--Sri Lanka has asked that he not officiate any of their matches, and Pakistan protested his presence at the Test Final even before the first batsman took his place faced his first googly. (No, I don't know what a googly is, but I know I used it correctly there.)

Even Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has entered the fray, backing his side's protest.

The International Cricket Council has upheld Hair's decision.

In short, this looks like it could be one of the ugliest officiating rows ever, and I'll follow it as closely as I can...but I offer no guarantee I'll understand any of it.


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