Monday, February 1, 2010


As expected, the blogosphere is buzzing with the "AFRIDI BITES BALL" controversy. I have read a lot of these blogs, and there is this one article that I found to be an interesting view. Here is the link: A Cricketing View: Ball-Tampering: Afridi v Broad.

This article talks about Stuart Broad's outrageously innocent (or innocently outrageous) remarks that he was just being too lazy in temperatures of 40 degrees centigrade. The English team's stand is compared to that of Afridi's. Afridi, atleast, admits that he made a mistake and is embarassed by it.

Lets rewind a bit. In the recent South Africa - England Test series in South Africa, Stuart Broad bowls a ball. The batsman defends it with a straight bat and the ball rolls towards the bowler. Broad, in his followthrough, steps on the ball in order to stop it from rolling any further. There are murmurs, which soon turn into whispers and then accusations, that this is the reason why the English pacers have been generating early reverse swing.

In both the cases (Broad and Afridi), I think that there will be a unanimous conclusion that the ball's condition was not affected to the extent that it will generate enormous amount of reverse swing. And in both the cases, the result of the match was not affected by the acts of the subjects.

However, if Afridi was handed a ban of 2 T20 Internationals and labelled as 'cheat', why not Stuart Broad? Is it because his father, Chris Broad, is a senior member of ICC's Elite Panel of Match Referees (as claimed by Sunil Gavaskar)? Is it just because he is English and Afridi is a Pakistani (as claimed by Nasser Hussain and Michael Vaughan)?

How many times have we seen varying standards in the way ICC metes out the punishments to offenders? How many times have we demanded that we want the system to be standardised? Yet, such issues keep on cropping up. No one is claiming that Afridi was right in chewing the cherry. But he was right in admitting his wrongdoings. This is where Stuart Broad erred.

I think ICC should revisit the Stuart Broad incident and announce a similar verdict to that of Afridi there. After all, stepping on the ball is a way of tampering with the ball (it has been attempted in the past by Hansie Cronje). I know that ICC, being ICC, is not going to do anything about the Broad incident. Yet, I think it is a duty of all the cricket bloggers to lodge our protests in our own silent ways.

No comments: