Monday, February 1, 2010


A lot has happened in the international sporting arena since I posted my last blog. Roger Federer prevented Andy Murray from becoming the first Brit in more than 7 decades to win a Men's Singles Grand Slam title (in the process, he helped himself to a 16th Grand Slam title) at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne. Manchester United defeated Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in London to move closer to the league leaders, Chelsea. Australia completed a second whitewash over Pakistan this season (this one, admittedly, was not very easy to achieve). And yes, Afridi discovered that he has a large appetite for cricket balls.

Afridi has almost played 300 ODIs for Paksitan and also featured in a handful of Tests and T20s. He has been around for more than 13 years on the international circuit and seen many controversies from a close distance. A man (or is he still a boy) of his experience should not be attempting such stupid stunts.

He has been banned for the next two T20 Internationals that Pakistan is scheduled to play - one against Australia (that will end this disastrous tour for them) and one against England in the UAE. What interests me here is that recently, Dhoni was banned for 2 ODIs due to his team's slow over rate. Does this mean that ICC qualifies slow over rate and ball tampering as equal offences?

I know that in terms of punishments, ICC equates 1 Test ban to a 2 ODI ban (which is reasonable in my view). But now, they are equating 1 T20 International to an ODI. I do not think that's correct. Despite having seen 2 World Cups, I do not think that international T20 fixtures have acquired the same level of seriousness as an ODI or a Test.

I am just trying to say that Afridi should count himself lucky at having gotten away with a 2 T20 Internationals ban. It could have been much worse for him. Hopefully, this is a lesson learnt for him and he will come back with a greater appetite (for runs and wickets, not cricket balls).

Oh my God! I am simply speechless (and that's not because I have a ball in my mouth). I don't understand how on earth does Pakistan cricket find so many innovative ways of landing themselves into controversies. And I'll tell you the funniest bit in this incident is an act of a Sri Lankan, not a Pakistani. Asoka De Silva, the umpire, after taking the ball from Afridi for inspection, was trying to smell the ball. Don't tell me that he knows which toothpaste is Afridi using!

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