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People in glass houses.....
by Gulu Ezekiel
Feb 11, 2006
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 others.'

 
More Views by Gulu Ezekiel
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