be Light and Quickly
Now you have all heard the story of the 'tube
light'. You know; the chap who lights up rather late. You haven't?
Okay, forget it! Let's throw light on something else.
So they want us to believe that the lights really
went off on 15 September during the 3rd ODI in Lahore so that
Duckworth and Lewis came to the fore and six overs were cut
in a manner to disadvantage the visiting Bangladeshis against
hosts Pakistan. This was a day-night match and lights would
have had to be kept alight for only another half an hour to
allow Bangladesh its allotted 50 overs. But... This incident
should be scrutinised and noted by ICC because it will always
be possible for hosts batting first to switch off the lights
in their home stadium to inconvenience visitors.
That is however not the reason behind the first
Only after the five ODIs were over did it dawn
on Cricket Pakistan chief Tauquir Zia that Rashid Latif should
be reprimanded and stripped off his captaincy. Rather late,
don't you agree? Should not he have blasted Inzamam for dedicating
the ODIs to their disgraced captain? Maybe he will. It takes
some time for a tube light to start up.
The recent Bangladesh tour of Pakistan will
be remembered for the wrong reasons and of course for Rajin's
grit, Rafique's consistency, Bashar's attitude in Test matches,
Kapali's courage and Khaled Mahmud's strength of character.
After the lacklustre Karachi Test, the tour
came alive with news of the Peshawar-Multan plane journey. Most
incredibly, the entire Pakistan team was travelling First Class
(they call it Economy plus) and their 'respected, honourable,
valued and esteemed' guests were seated in the Economy Class
equivalent on the same aircraft. What fantastic hosts! I believe
any aircraft is big enough to carry both teams in the Economy
Class and that is what should have been done. The First Class
could have been offered to Umpire Tiffin, who deserves it for
If we did not realise how well we were threatening
our celebrated hosts, the desperation in Rashid Latif's pickup
at the Multan Test should be convincing enough. In the underworld
having to cheat to beat some one means you want to win badly,
or are about to lose! I hate it when journalists still refer
to it as a 'catch'. The Pakistani captain, a so-called champion
of scruples (remember the Wasim Akram corruption expo!), picked
the ball up from the ground before making the appeal. How's
that! Not out! The camera replay showed the world what happened,
but Rashid Latif knew it the moment it had happened.
In the end it turned out that a few more minutes
of Alok Kapali and a few more runs was all that was required
to make Pakistan the first Test victims of Bangladesh. That
is what they tried so hard and desperately to avoid, the ignominy
of losing an ODI in the 1999 World Cup obviously haunting them,
more so because of the lengthening list of Bangladesh's failures
since. Happily, this ought to satisfy all and sundry that our
Northampton triumph was no 'fixed match'.
They will therefore resort to cheating, intimidation,
bribing people with 'tiffin', anything. The 'supposedly neutral'
Umpire warned the naturally-excited Test babes for over-appealing
in such menacing manner that the visitors later desisted from
appealing against genuine cases that let the opponents off the
hook more than once. That stance of the umpire and a series
of bad decisions also cost us the Third Test. It may not be
inappropriate for BCB to contemplate reporting Umpire Tiffin
to the ICC now along with video clippings to make sure he does
not reappear in Bangladesh during England's forthcoming tour;
he is in the panel, so is Pakistan's Dar.
While an official apology was the minimum the
Pakistanis could have done and Rashid Latif should definitely
have gone up to Kapali that very evening after dinner and regretted
the incident, what they did has not for one moment surprised
those who are knowledgeable about the Pakistan mindset. At a
Press Conference their newly installed captain Inzamam haughtily
dedicated their five ODIs to a cheat -- their deposed skipper.
How can one dedicate a match to a person who has just hours
before been punished by the ICC, 'leniently' in the words of
their representative judge? Is not that provocation, Mr. Match
Referee Mike Proctor? You were later quicker than Bret Lee to
caution Bangladesh's manager for telling (the truth to) Reuters
that the Pakistan captain deserved the punishment for cheating
and unfair play. After several attempts to light up, even Tauquir
Zia agrees though belatedly.
It is now emerging that the Pakistan cricket
chief has taken a stand against Rashid Latif because the Pakistan
captain, as per the wishes of the PCB, did not appeal to the
ICC against his five-match ban. Arrey Bhai! Rashid Latif had
already made perhaps the most important appeal of his life and
Kapali was given out.
After surviving the Multan Test by the skin
of their teeth, Pakistan once again resorted to iniquitous tactics.
Overnight they doctored the Multan pitch to leave it bald so
that the Test nightmare on patches of green, personified by
Mohammad Rafique and Khaled Mahmud, does not reappear. The visiting
captain was aghast, but who gives a hoot to an on-the-field
hostile official guest in Pakistan?
This was supposed to be cricket, a sporting
event that was supposed to foster friendship, long lost as a
gentleman's game, but a game nevertheless.
You should keep sports clean of politics, but
before that you have to clean sports of politics.