Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shady Deals

Unconfirmed report on Jagadish's blog about some shady deal being hammered out between Cricket Australia and the BCCI.

I'm not sure if two countries are allowed to bilaterally agree to select their own umpires, but it seems to have been done here. I'll be waiting with bated breath to see how the ICC responds to these developments. Undoubtedly, M Speed and his cohorts will not be happy chappies after hearing of news that, essentially, undermines the entire structure of the "Elite Panel" of stodgy old men who wear bright white sneakers with their black slacks.

I'm beginning to think the BCCI sees itself as somewhat of a charity organisation, not just the controller of all organised forms of cricket in India. First it decided to dole out a substantial sum of earnings to struggling non-cricketing sportspersons (think of what the thousands of cricket clubs in India could do with a portion of the Rs 50 crore that is being donated), now it is playing God by orchestrating a miracle to rescue its chief ball manufacturer. That too by using D Hair as their poster-boy?!?!?!

Just as an aside, I would've preferred them to have lavished a little on CA - so that they would've agreed to non-neutral umpires - and then paid another tidy amount to {insert name of any good looking bollywood actress here} to star in the said ads. Anthing is better than having to endure D Hair's ragged old face on the box.

Tags: The Match Referee
Continued >> >>

Give The Guy A Break

Agree with your comments partly but I think that maybe you should be a bit more considerate of D Hair and the situation that he has got himself into. Now if it was an Australian team that were in the Pakistani's positions then we wouldn't be hearing this from you. I think people from the sub-continent have to relise that the ICC is not out to get them and niether are the umpires. The whole point of having neutral umpires in the game was to eradicate this misconception that umpires favoured their own teams. The Asian bloc virtually runs world cricket and honestly, if D Hair has been that bad for that long then he still wouldn't be umpiring at the elite level today because the Asian bloc would have made sure that he was kicked out of the Elite Panel of umpires.

Coming back to the actual incident which sparked this whole fiasco, the ball looked in a very ordinary condition. D Hair had been watching the actions of the Pakistani's for some time before he accused them of ball tampering. Now you have said that previously he was a lawyer and he obvisouly knows what he is on about. So he would have known that what he was about to do would have created an uproar in the cricketing world and he would have known that in these modern times there are cameras everywhere watching everything, so he would have made this accusation on the basis of something that he saw. The fact that Marcus Trescothick was watching the Pakistani fieldsman with binoculars meant that the England team also thought something suspicious was happening out in the middle.

Now you tie all this together and tell me, do you think a man of such integrity and knowledge would make such a big accusation without thinking about the dire repercussions and knowing that he was 100% correct. Continued >> >>

Stressed Out

Maybe Malcolm Speed was absolutely correct in saying that D Hair was under a great deal of "stress" when he sent off that ransom email. Who, in their right mind, would make such ludicrous demands straight after committing one of the biggest foul-ups in the sport's history?

We now all know that D Hair did make those demands and then had the gall to come out and say that he was sorry for the distress caused to his family and friends, but makes no mention of the paying public who were denied their money's worth because of his dubious (at best) actions.

The guy is proving to be more of a half-wit than I had originally given him credit for. The conclusions I arrived at and recommendations I made in my first post on this topic are ringing truer than ever.

PS. What is it with Aussie umpires suffering from stress? The infamous case of a certain R Emerson comes to mind. Poor chap was caught umpiring an international cricket match, while he was on "stress leave" from his day job. Food for thought, I tell you.

PPS. I wonder how much the ICC spends on spin doctors/PR Consultants. They seem to go through controversy after farcical controversy. Maybe they need to change their spin docs, obviously they don't seem to be doing all that good a job. Continued >> >>

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Welcome/Namaste/Kia Ora

G'day and welcome to The Match Referee,

Brace yourself for a deluge of unadulterated opinion, balls and all. Have a passion for cricket, football, AFL and maybe a little bit more - then you have come to the right place.

Our posts may not always be entirely supported by solid evidence, politically correct or profess commonly held takes on life. Take it as food for thought and let rip with your own thoughts. Comments and suggestions, in general, will be welcomed and responded to.

Your hosts for the evening:

Ayush - well versed in the art of sledging. Born in India, bred in New Zealand and currently plying his trade in Australia, he feels that he is able to offer a diversified and balanced perspective on issues that take his fancy. His detractors beg to differ and feel the word "balanced" has never entered his vocabulary. Ayush firmly believes the word "tact" remains the biggest waste of space in a dictionary. Ayush's first-hand experience with the bright lights and glamour of junior representative sports enable him to proffer insights that will not be found on the back pages of your daily newspaper.

X Factor - offering highly analytical views on a wide array of sporting issues, the X has very intimate knowledge of Cricinfo's StatsGuru. X's halcyon days as a junior sporting stars have left him with a collection of scars of which a failed wrist-slitter would be proud. Under-performing run for cover when this literary giant unleashes his keyboard.

Ankit - with the mind of technical genius, this man offers water-tight analysis from the land of the long white cloud. While still in line for a New Zealand cap (injuries, you see) Ankit is Peter Roebuck and Iain O'Brien in one. Watch out for his vicious vicious leg cutters from left-arm over.

Sri - the literary genius with the highest pedigree in the stable. Having cut his journalistic teeth sparring across the table from the likes Anthony "THE MAN" Mundien, Sri is primed to give The Match Referee readers a no-holds-barred account of the hottest properties in sport. Don't take this kid lightly, he's just as likely to knock you out in a rap battle as he is to melt you with his prose.

If you read or stumble across anything interesting or worth noting, do not hesitate to send us a link and we'll try and give you our take on the issue.

Enough of the formalities, enjoy your stay, keeping coming back and contribute.

The Match Referee team Continued >> >>

Rock Star Wannabe

As has been pointed out by many recently, every time an Asian cricketing nation feels aggrieved, the R-word usually accompanies the criticism/complaint/rhetoric that follows the incident. In such an environment where folks complain about other folks complaining, it is only natural for some to water down their views, for fear of sounding extremist.

However, the more I think about the ball tampering incident, the more inclined I am towards believing that there is some element of racism in this situation. I don't think it is simple whinging and wining over spilt milk to scream about racism with the latest scandal in world cricket.

Let me preface all that I will opine here by saying that in my "glass half full" view of the world, most umpires are as fair as they can be and any mistakes they make are a result of a momentary lapses in concentration (ie. Simon Taufel & Aleem Dar) or pure incompetence (ie. Steve Bucknor, Asoka De Silva, Rudi Koertzen and countless others). However, I am of the firm opinion that D Hair is not incompetent. He is an average umpire with a grudge - against players from the subcontinent. The Pakistan incident is merely the latest manifestation of his sentiments.

Hair's day job, before he became an "elite" umpire, was that of a lawyer. In short the guy is not stupid. One can only assume that he knew exactly what he was doing and he knew exactly what the consequences were likely to be. What confounds me, given his learned background, is his state of mind while going through the various processes that would've led to the abhorrent series of decisions.

This sense of utter disbelief is not limited to the ball tampering incident alone. I would also like to know what he was trying to achieve by calling Muralitharan for chucking. I am the first to admit his action his not the purest and has been downright "diabolical" (to borrow one of Hair's terms) at times. For mine, Murali's action didn't change from the first ball he was called on, to the last. Why weren't the balls in between called by Hair? You cannot simply pick and choose when you want to be straight down the line and when you feel like doling out a little leniency. Just like the latest incident, he could have made better choices. The question begs itself, why does he always fail to make these better choices when he is umpiring teams from the subcontinent?

I have never considered Hair to be the greatest umpire (in fact before Taufel I would've struggled to name an Aussie umpire who would have waltzed into the "Elite Panel"). It is one thing to 'call it as you see it' and a totally different matter to be an attention seeker who craves the limelight. He would fit into the same category of people who audition for Australian Idol dressed as chickens or Big Bird from Sesame Street or any other farm animal you would care to name. He's a rock star wannabe.

If Hair believes he was acting in a sane and 'clear-headed' manner when he alleged ball tampering, his contract should be immediately terminated. If he was under stress (over and above the usual pressures of the job), then he should be offered help and stood down until he is fit and well again. Under any circumstance, he should not officiate in another international cricket match, because he has clearly demonstrated that he has another agenda that is based on his personal sentiments.

In this day and age where players lose their livelihoods, and commentators their contracts, for muttering a timid syllable against the endangered species that are our esteemed "Elite Panel" umpires, we should and do expect more from the said officals than acts based on whims and questionable agendas. They should be accountable for their actions and the ICC should show the resolve necessary to ensure that the men who protect the flame of the "Elite Panel" are of the highest moral ilk.
Tags: The Match Referee
Continued >> >>
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