What about Umpire-fixing?

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.

Must see:

>>English Umpires Match Fixing Against Pakistan

International Council of Clowns

By Khawaja Ahmad Ali

International Council of Clowns

It’s official. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has lost it. The ICC high officials don’t seem to have a clue as to what is going on in the world game yet they seem determined to damage the game beyond repair. What was the need to announce with great fan fair that they have launched an investigation into the third one-day international (ODI) between hosts England and Pakistan?

If they have any proof they should act and charge. Right now it seems that they are on the defensive and are trying to portray some sense of control that they obviously do not have. If they have to launch an investigation anytime it should be what in the world the ICC Anti Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) is doing? Do they only wake up when a tabloid releases garbage? Maybe the ICC should hire tabloid reporters to work in the ACSU!

It seems the ICC is hostage to some dark power. When the Indian Premier League (IPL) was launched Test players from around the world condemned the rush for money that was afflicting the sport. All manner of wrongdoing has been overlooked by the ICC in the IPL and yet it banned the Indian Cricket League (ICL) exposing its preferences to whoever paid the most. The involvement of Allen Sanford, the disgraced American billionaire, with the game is another sad documentary of the ICC overlooking ethics for monetary considerations.

The ICC was made aware of spot-fixing in 2003. What it has done? When South Africa’s Hansie Cronje died mysteriously the ICC never launched an investigation then. Only when Pakistan score victories the ICC goes to the press. It seems their pious officials think just attack Pakistan and all is well.

All countries have been targeted by bookmakers. Since the latest allegations surfaced nearly every country has reported that their players have been approached in the past. What rock the ICC was hiding behind? Why their officials are so incapable of even the basic responsibilities of a global governing body? How many people at the ICC have actually played cricket?

The ICC acted with blatant haste when it suspended three Pakistan players. Instead of trying to show some authority in the face of criticism the ICC officials just tried to save their own skins. ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat was on board with all the developments taking place. The PCB and the Pakistan High Commission in Britain had kept him updated yet he still jumped the gun and suspended the players despite the fact that no evidence existed.

Lorgat seems desperate to save his own job rather than work for the benefit of the game. Shouldn’t the ICC launch an investigation into why Scotland Yard searched player’s rooms and locked their dressing rooms without informing the individual boards? Was the ICC asleep then too? The world cricket body has failed miserably. They are unable to deal with the issues in modern cricket. It seems fat paychecks have detracted the ICC bosses’ ability to do anything progressive. The ICC needs to be reformed before it does any more damage to the world game.

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