The Oval is a good name for a ground synonymous with out of shape balls. Bob Willis is on England's case:
“Let’s not beat about the bush — Aleem Dar is on England’s case. He knows that one individual is scratching the ball for England — who I am not going to name — and that’s why the ball was changed.”
Not sure about the Willis memory bank:
“Have you ever heard about the batting side or the umpire complaining about the shape of the ball?
Well, yes, I have.
The ICC umpire panel's loss is our gain, with Darrell Hair, the gift who keeps on giving:
FORMER Test umpire Darrell Hair has branded disgraced Shahid Afridi a serial cheat likely to re-offend.
"Cheat is the only word for him," Hair said of Afridi, who was banned for two Twenty20 games for biting the ball at the WACA last Sunday.
"He has cheated before, he has cheated in this instance - he pleaded guilty - and I'm sure he will again. He is no angel.
For good measure:
"He has become a highly overrated player as well. His first innings at international level was a great century but he has lived off that and never really lived up to it."
And finally the last paragraph, which is different to the online version:
There has been no sympathy for his actions in his homeland, with former captains such as Inzamam-ul-Haq claiming he got off lightly.
Mark his words. Inzi Potato knows about getting off lightly.
Captain Crunch is right that all teams tamper. Australia is no exception, except we use more sophisticated methods.
"Haydos's tamper treats are as consistent as his runs."
~~ Justin of Perth
The rumpus that followed "Naughty" Stuart Broad stepping on the ball was nonsense. Players have always stopped the ball with their feet and will continue to do so. On Inside Cricket last night AB - Border, not De Villiers - was right when he burst out "That is ridiculous. Anyway, how would he know which at side of the ball to step on?"
(De Villiers was obviously the front man. Put all your magic beans on the fact the South Africans had been talking about the state of the ball.)
You'd think the footage of James Anderson un-tufting the ball was worse. You'd think wrong. The ICC cleared Jimmy. That means if he didn't do anything wrong, he (and the England ball management group) must have done something very right.
"Michael Vaughan is entitled to his opinion but I was a little bit hurt by some of the comments he made about me, because I'd like to think he knew me well enough to know I wouldn't do something like that," Anderson insisted.
"I definitely was not altering the ball to try and help us, I was just looking at it and playing with it. There was a tuft of leather that had come up and I wasn't digging in any nails or anything like that into the ball."
All good then.
But what had England been doing? Compare the two striking, high-resolution photos taken with my phone off my TV via the VCR pause function. The top photo shows a ball mugged to within an inch of its lacquer. The photo doesn't do justice to that side of the the ball: scuffed, massive big dags of leather, a mess.
Bearing in mind that both photos were taken during the same delivery, look at the other side of the ball. Shiny, near-to pristine, you can almost smell the minty spit oozing out of the leather.
Since the ICC deemed that rock-all was amiss, what I want to know is the answer to the two obvious questions every member of Inside Cricket failed to ask: one) how did they do it; and two) is Australia doing it, too? Troy Cooley, is the Australian ball management group interested in, or capable of, making one side of the ball shocking and the other side shiny?
Brendan McArdle, always a source of sensible cricket comment, thinks Stressa was stupid to fess up about the mints, and also gives a pretty good summary of the 2005 Ashes:
Apart from the obvious desire to boost his book sales, it is difficult to understand what drove Marcus Trescothick to reveal his Murray Mint story from the 2005 Ashes series. Has he become bitter on a game that drove him to a state of mental anguish?
Stresscothick confirms what we already knew:
THE secret behind the devastating swing bowling that took England to its historic 2005 Ashes win has been revealed.They cheated.
Best line: "The [ICC] recently changed the result of the abandoned England-Pakistan Test."
Ought to shut up cheaty, cheating cheater Simon Jones:
Simon Jones has rubbished claims England used mints to create reverse swing during the Ashes.
Australian Nathan Bracken, who played for Gloucestershire, said mints were used in county games.
But Jones, a fine exponent of reverse swing, said: "It's probably just sour grapes and are you telling me that they've not done it?"
"It's a silly comment to make. I don't use mints and I'm not sure whether any of the other lads use them or not."
Bracken said the mint breath fresheners could have been the key to England's Ashes triumph.
Naturally, as is the way of over-lawyered, professionally indignant - "Me? Cheat? Never!" How many times have you heard that? - modern sport, Bracken was made to apologise when everyone knew he was right.
The most revealing part of Stresscothick's book, is that he knew he was cheating:
He says: “For the first time, as I dived to gather the ball at square leg, I landed on my side and a shower of Murray Mints spewed out of my trouser pocket all over the grass right in front of the umpire.
“Fortunately, neither he nor the two batsmen seemed to take much notice as I scrambled around on all fours trying desperately to gather in the sweets before they started asking awkward questions.”
Wonder how many extra books this will sell.
Mike Atherton, Ivo Tennant and Simon Barnes in the Times, on the Drawfeit.
Athers: in sparkling form, as usual.
The ICC no longer has the moral authority to run the game. Given one final opportunity to lift decision-making out of the morass of self-interest, deceit and compromise into which it had fallen, it flunked the test. The outcome on Zimbabwe - self-censorship in return for the loot - was in many ways a triumph for Giles Clarke, the ECB's intelligent and forceful chairman, but it should signal the end for the ICC. Like flared trousers, string vests and the Bay City Rollers, what once seemed a good idea has had its day.
Tennant: elaborates on how the ICC's snivelling decision is even more scandalous than first thought, if that is possible.
MCC, which has responsibility for the Laws of Cricket, is to ask the ICC to overturn its decision last week to change the result of the forfeited Test match between England and Pakistan at the Brit Oval in 2006 to a draw. This verdict, Keith Bradshaw, the secretary, will say, contravenes the spirit of the game as well as the Laws. The club’s world committee is also opposed to any alteration to Law 21, which states that the result should not be changed. “Cricket is the worse for this decision and it was opposed unanimously by the ICC’s cricket committee, on which I sit,” he said.
Barnes: his article contains misdirected vitriol, dubious content, is willfully descriptive and the phrase "belabours the point" comes to mind. But apart from that...
It is clear that the International Cricket Council (ICC) has been pondering long and fruitfully on this text from the great book. Certainly, it has decided that history can be undone and put together again in a new form. In a strange, and rather disturbing, precedent, it has said that the match between England and Pakistan at the Brit Oval in 2006 was not, after all, a win for England. It was a draw.
It's easy to take pot-shots at the ICC, so I will.
Once, if you broke the rules, got caught and lost a game, you wore it. You mightn't like it, but you wore it:
THE International Cricket Council is about to make Test cricket the perfect game - no team should ever lose again.
In a decision which would achieve even greater levels of farce for this hopelessly compromised body, the ICC is set to announce today, at its annual meeting in Dubai, teams can refuse to play and not lose the match.
England's Daily Mail reported from Dubai that: "Cricket's rulers effectively wrote a cheats charter yesterday when they wiped out England's controversial 2006 victory over Pakistan at The Oval and redesignated it as a draw."
Some consider the ICC a spineless pack of snivellers, kowtowing to Pakistan's squealing after the Pakis were caught cheating (the sit-in, not the tampering; although the latter reminds me of Blue Murder when Rogerson tells Neddy that it doesn't matter that he is not guilty, this time, he was guilty plenty of other times). Not me. The ICC is not spineless. The ICC has too much front to be considered spineless. They are, in fact, a rat-cunning, double-dealing, money-grubbing pack of spivs.
Serendipitous indeed that England and Pakistan - suddenly, after two years - have agreed to "declare The Oval Test as a draw to maintain the dignity of Pakistan in world cricket, especially after the ball-tampering charges were dropped" precisely when England needed ICC support to stop Zimbabwe from playing in next year's World Twenty20.
Zimbabwe have agreed to pull out of next year's Twenty20 World Cup in England, clearing the roadblocks for the competition to be staged there, but will retain their status as Full Member of the ICC and receive funding as usual. They will also receive their full participation fee for the tournament.
The Indian voting block on the ICC can't cut Zimbabwe loose entirely; they need the Zimbo's tainted proxy vote to stump up their twisted aspirations. And the Zims need India:
"We have consulted and exchanged notes with everybody, including our Indian friends, last night," Chingoka said. "We are now looking forward to more tours and international cricket with our Asian friends, especially India."
Thus, the ICC is kept in a dysfunctional state so the richest constituent member can, with the convenient allocation of funds, keep the Zim's vote in their back pocket.
THE International Cricket Council has been forced into such an embarrassing backdown over Zimbabwe that the disgraced cricketing nation will be paid for not attending next year's World Twenty20 championship in England.
Attempts by South Africa and England to have the corrupt Zimbabwe removed as a full member of the ICC at this week's sometimes heated ICC annual meeting in Dubai floundered when India refused to back the move.
Instead India wanted to retain Zimbabwe's vote to continue dominating the ICC with the help of the other Asian countries and the West Indies.
ENOUGH is enough, according to West Indies fast bowling legend Michael Holding, who has resigned his position on the International Cricket Council's cricket committee in protest at the decision to change the result of Pakistan's forfeited Test against England at the Oval in 2006 to a draw.
"I have just written my letter of resignation to the ICC Cricket Committee because I cannot agree with what they've done," Holding said during his Sky Sports commentary in England. "That game should never, ever be a draw. When you take certain actions, you must be quite happy to suffer the consequences.
"A lot of things are happening today that I don't want to be involved with, so I've moved on."
Here is what Imran Khan said after last year's for-feet frac-arse:
"Unless Darrell Hair can supply concrete proof of ball-tampering, then I think the Pakistan management should seriously consider suing him. It's a very serious allegation to accure a team of cheating: if I were in their position, I would certainly consider suing Hair."
That's even without the Loin of Lahore's (that's not a tpyo) mini-Hitler remarks.
But what goes around, comes around, as they say. With luscious irony, Hair's suing the ICC AND Pakistan. Brilliant.
Who knows, perhaps Pakistan did indeed threaten to sue Hair, but they probably wouldn't have gone through with it. Any threat merely would have put the frighteners up the ICC, causing those spineless blancmanges to toe the line, so it would have served their purpose well enough.
Whatever their motivations, we know the upshot: Hair had his goats scaped.
An "outraged" PCB Chairman Dr Nasim Ashraf now has his ghasts in a flabber: "Hair was removed from the ICC panel of umpires because of his bad umpiring and poor judgment." Balderdash, of course, that is flatly contradicted by the embarrassed ICC's own rankings which had Hair as the second best umpire after Simon 'Zum' Taufel.
Maybe it's a foolhardy gambit, but as Carrot writes Hair wouldn't be doing this without some pretty robust legal support.
Nor is that business about the 500K relevant. The truth is Hair was in active negotiation about a settlement with people at the ICC but others there white-anted him and then went running to the press with his email. Pigs. It's about the only time in their sad, pathetic history that's they've acted with any alacrity. They only did it to embarrass Hair. And, yes, as it transpired it was an ill-advised course of action from Hair.
Three things are for sure. It took balls to call Murali for chucking; it took balls to forfeit Pakistan for tampering; and it took balls to go the ICC and Pakistan for racial discrimination. Even if that, like Pakistan's earlier thrust and/or parry, is to force the ICC into coughing up a satisfactory resolution.
The ICC have neutered umpires because of vested pressures, so there can only one thing to say - Go you good umpire.
This, from last Tuesday's Age, has been bothering me:
1.34 PM Umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove examine match ball after Umar Gul's 14th over. Hair, believing the condition of the ball to have been unfairly altered, signals (incorrectly) to the scorers that Pakistan will be penalised five runs. Ball is changed.
The bolderation is mine. Up until Sunday I hadn't seen the business, so I was interested to know how Hair had allegedly mis-signalled. Then last night I finally saw the footage which showed Hair clearly and correctly signalling "Five penalty runs awarded to the batting side - by repeated tapping of one shoulder with the opposite hand."
What's the story here, did I miss something? Did Hair signal twice? Once getting it wrong, and then correcting himself. Or was it simply a case of the journo, not Hair, making a mistake? I mean, that can't be the case, can it? Journos don't get things wrong.
The coverage of what happened at The Oval has been all over the place like a mad woman's. With barely a fleeting aquaintance with the facts, let alone knowledge of the Laws of Cricket, assorted spruikers, chancers, fatheads and shills have opened fire with frightening enthusiasm. Not surprisingly, talkback radio is rife with jibberish, from both callers and on-air staff, so too the various newspapers.
Broadly supportive of Hair are senior Aussie hacks like Crash Craddock, Patrick Smith and Ron Reed. Mike Coward would have an opinion but he must be too busy writing about sunsets over Bangalore. The consensus in Straya seems to be that Hair wouldn't have done what he did without some solid evidence which will come out at the inquiry, and that he was right to call the game off when Pakistan refused to come back onto the ground.
On the other hand, the Pommy hacks have been having a right old time. Writing with undue haste, The Times' John Woodcock thinks Hair acted with undue haste; Mike Marqusee in The Guardian wrote rubbish; and a vindictive Spanky, grinding away on that old axe, got stuck right into Hair.
Me? Well, in the first part, Hair's decision to ping the Paks five runs was fairly and squarely in "courageous decision" territory. But the Aussie press are right, it's hard to imagine Hair would have made such a big call without good reason. Spankles asks "Where was the compelling evidence that the visitors were responsible?" He'll look a right git - not for the first time - if it turns out there are great big fingernail gouges on the agate.
The second part is cut and dried. Pakistan refused to come back onto the field, thus Hair was spot on to call it quits. End of story.