By Michelle Beckett
If the umpire gives a poor decision, it is usually considered to a human error, and the man responsible of upholding equality in a game of cricket is easily set off the hook. Sometimes these so-called human errors increase in frequency and occur at crucial moments that turn the result of important matches.
It is unfair why the referral system has not been introduced in the one-day international matches, and the on-field umpires are given the freedom to solely judge and give decisions.
In the tour of England, innumerable allegations were imposed on Pakistan regarding spot-fixing. Two of Pakistan top fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, under the captaincy of Salman Butt were alleged to have deliberately bowled no-balls in the test match against England at Lords. This news created shock waves around the world of cricket. It has been almost a month since the spot-fixing allegations brought forth by the British tabloid newspaper ‘News of the World’ came to light and not even a single piece of evidence has been found against the Pakistani players till date. Even then, they have been prematurely suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
The British media and the ICC have focused a bit too much on the entire spot-fixing issue, but what about the blatant umpire-fixing that seems quite evident on television screens during the one-day matches?
Several poor decisions were given in the last one-day match between Pakistan and England. Most of them went in favour of England. The no-ball bowled by Amir and Asif were blown to crazy proportions by both the ICC and the British media, but what about the so-called no ball given by the umpire during the 5th ODI, which was clearly not a no ball. By giving this decision, the umpire allowed a free hit which could have proved costly for Pakistan, but fortunately for Pakistan, Umar Gul was able to bowl a good delivery which did not give any runs.
Secondly, there was a stumping appeal against Luke Wright but it was dismissed by umpire Billy Doctrove and was not referred to the third umpire despite repeated appeals by Umar Akmal (who had replaced Kamran Akmal as wicket-keeper due to Kamran Akmal’s finger injury). Shahid Afridi argued with Billy Doctrove furiously as he did not understand why the decision was not being referred to the third umpire.
And that’s not all. Captain Andrew Strauss, who was in top form and was the most dangerous player of the English side, was plum LBW (leg before the wicket) but was given not-out. It was the most crucial wicket for Pakistan as Strauss continued to attack Pakistani bowlers despite wickets falling on the other end. Mohammad Hafeez, the bowler, could just not believe it. Even Strauss was sure that he was out as he was heading towards the pavilion. But the umpire, who was British by nationality, closed his eyes and jerked his head. This was yet another shock for Pakistan.
So what would one call this? The two games that Pakistan did win were not dependent on the umpire’s rulings as most of the wickets were taken when the batmen was either bowled or caught.
It really makes one wonder that is the ICC taking a notice of this? Can they not see how the umpires turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s appeals? And what about the blatant no-ball decision given by the umpire when it was clearly not a no-ball? The spot-fixing no-balls were really noticed to the point that the poor players were suspended without proof. What sort of justice is this? The ICC has really proved to be a pure western body so far where most of the problems faced by Asian countries seem to go unnoticed. One cannot help but sense double-standards prevalent in the body which is there to support cricket for all.
>>English Umpires Match Fixing Against Pakistan