Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq not only needs to take
a crash course in the laws of cricket, he should also
be taught a few lessons regarding cricketing history.
Perhaps if he were to be enlightened on the above two
subjects, he would not be shooting his mouth off about
the Indians' 'unsporting' appeal during the first ODI
at Peshawar on Monday when he was given out for
'obstructing the field.'
It was Pakistan's notorious pace bowler Sarfraz Nawaz who
took his country to new depths when he appealed
against the non-striker Andrew Hilditch for 'handling
the ball' and gained the verdict -- after he merely
picked up the ball and tossed it back to the bowler.
That dark deed occurred in the 1979 Perth Test.
Coming back to the 'spirit' of cricket and whether an
appeal should be made or not, it was just seven years
ago that Sachin Tendulkar had been given out in
controversial circumstances in the Asian Test
championships match against Pakistan at Kolkata.
Tendulkar while taking the third run did not spot
bowler Shoaib Akhtar surreptitiously move into his
path and block his way even as a magnificent throw
came whistling in from the boundary.
Tendulkar grounded his bat behind the crease but even
as he did so, the bat was pushed upwards between the
fielder's legs as the two collided. At that split
second, the ball crashed into the stumps. The third
umpire ruled Tendulkar out and all hell broke loose at
the Eden Gardens.
It should be recalled here that Test cricket was being
resumed between the two nations after a decade and
there was plenty tension on both sides of the boarder.
Even as the third umpire was making his verdict,
Pakistan manager Shahryar Khan (cousin of Tiger
Pataudi) tried to persuade captain Wasim Akram to
withdraw the appeal. But that inveterate India-basher
Javed Miandad (the coach at the time) over-ruled him
and the verdict stood.
Apart from Inzi's outburst, to hear ex-players like
Dean Jones (the most hated player among his own Aussie
team-mates), Michael Holding, Imran Khan (who admitted
to using a bottle cap to illegally scuff up the ball)
and Nasser Hussain holding forth on the 'spirit' of
cricket really takes the cake.
The biggest hypocrite of all though is former Pakistan
captain and wicket-keeper Moin Khan who is obviously
being used by the team management to try to undermine
the spirit of the Indians through his columns which
the Indian media is unfortunately lapping up.
First he spread the canard that Tendulkar was 'scared'
of Shoaib after being hit on the helmet at Karachi and
had lost his form. Now he is bleating about the
Indians being unsporting. He needs to be reminded that
in the Chennai Test in 1999 he appealed for a catch
(and gained the verdict) when it was obvious on
replays that the shot from Sourav Ganguly had hit the
ground first. He was also reprimanded by the ICC in
2000 for ball tampering.
Holding's deliberate bowling of beamers at the Indian
batsman in Kingston in 1976 was condemned as
'barbarism' by Sunil Gavaskar. He also once kicked
down the stumps in disgust at not getting a favourable
verdict from the umpire (Dunedin, New Zealand in
1980). 'Spirit' indeed!
As for Hussain, it was only last month while
discussing the Test series on TV that he expressed his
admiration for captains who play close to the rules of
the game in order to gain an advantage. He also
boasted of the negative bowling tactics he employed as
captain in India in 2001, something condemned by
former England captain Mike Brearley as clearly
against the spirit of cricket.
Anshuman Gaekwad is right when he says about Moin:
'People who live in glass houses don't throw stones at