The ICC (supposedly cricket’s governing body) has found itself in the spotlight with the rejection of former Aussie PM John Howard from the post of ICC President. World cricket has its factions, at least when Lalit Modi isn’t throwing a strop and the boards are falling into line like good little sheep (and I could use a far stronger word here), and Howard’s rejection has opened up some debate on those factions and the reasons for it.
The reactions themselves are generally predictable but there are two which deserve highlighting for their crass stupidity and one for its spot on analysis.
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For those who don’t know, Darrell Hair was one of the two umpires involved in the Oval test match of 2006 between England and Pakistan. That’s the match which was forfeited by Pakistan because, for whatever reason, they failed to come back onto the pitch after the tea interval on the fourth day.
Much has been written and spoken about this issue and much of it is, in my opinion, balderdash of the worst kind. I’ll offer my analysis of this later in this piece but it is the opinion of Darrell Hair which is deserving of attention, not least because in the aftermath of the test he was victimised by the ICC and many people who had seemingly forgotten the right things to do in such situations. His opinion is worth highlighting in view of the ICC’s decision to retrospectively alter the match result to a draw and subsequently reverse that decision so the original result stands after being berated for its interference in the first place.
Darrell Hair, the former international umpire at the centre of the furore surrounding the 2006 Oval Test, has called on all the ICC board members involved in the original decision to change the result of the match to resign. Last weekend the ICC executive voted to overturn its ruling altering the result of the game from an England win to a draw.
“All the board members who were involved in the earlier decision should resign now,” Hair said. “And this should also include the present ICC president David Morgan. The first to go should be David Richardson [ the ICC's general manager - cricket) and Doug Cowie [the ICC's manager for umpires].
“I felt the gun was loaded by the ICC board, and Richardson and [the chief executive] Malcolm Speed were only too happy to pull the trigger.”
Darrell Hair took legal action against the ICC in the aftermath of the test match, which resulted in some embarrassing admissions from senior ICC staff before an agreement was reached. Now Hair is retired from international umpiring and living in Sydney, coaching umpires for the New South Wales Umpires and Scorers Association.
Naturally I agree with Darrell Hair’s opinions. I now offer my view of events…
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On tonight’s Darren Gough Cricket Show (BBC Radio Five Live) the old new ball partnership of Goughie and Andrew Caddick were reunited in a discussion on recent events in the cricket world. It was good stuff too…
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Cricinfo reports that “Eighteen percent of first-class cricketers in England would risk incurring a year-long county ban by the ECB to play in the next Indian Cricket League (ICL), and 35% would consider retiring from international cricket prematurely, according to a survey conducted by the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA).” An interesting discussion about the results of the poll follows. With the ECB’s ban on ICL players still in force I still think this particular issue will end up in the courts.
However, the final paragraph of the report is the one that is the most damning. It speaks for itself…
“Following today’s news that Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, has been ousted from his post, the survey also revealed cricketers’ dissatification with the governing body with 64% of England players having no confidence in the ICC and 57% believing decisions are made along party lines and not in the interest of cricket.”