Thursday, December 21, 2006


Scene 1:

Long time ago, during 1987 Reliance World Cup, at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, there was a tough battle going on between West Indies and Pakistan for the place in Semi Finals. It was a nail biter. Whoever wins, goes to semifinal.

On the last ball of the match, Pakistan needed 2 runs to win, with just a wicket to spare. Courtney Walsh was bowling, with four Pakistani wickets in his bag, but batsman at strike Abdul Qadir was playing the match of his life.

Walsh was still on his bowling stride, when non striker - Salim Jaffer - backed up too far. Walsh could have got him out. But he just stared hard, and let him go. Jaffer scampered back. Later, Qadir edged the ball to the slips, where it was misfielded by debutant Phill Simmons. Qadir ran two runs, and became a hero.

However, he didn't forget to thank Walsh, who was later given the fair play award by Zia-Ul-Haq. It wouldn't have been any unfair play, had Walsh took the bails off because forty years ago in New ZeaLand Venu Mankad had proved this was a fair way to dismiss.

But Still it wasn't ethical.

Scene 2:

Last Week, during the Test match between Srilanka and New Zealand, the last batsman Muthhaiya Murlitharan, just after completing one run, ran a bit too early to congratulate Kumar Sangakara on the completion of latter's century. The Kiwi keeper - McCullum - ran Murli out for that, despite knowing the fact that Murli wasn't running for another run.

See the contrast. This shows the way game has moved from ethical to professional level in mere twenty years.

Since New Zealand still lost, Martin Crowe di his bit too - shouting that Murli's Doosra action is suspect. Oh not again! We know that you are bad losers - just don't reaffirm it again and again.

Not that I have any sympathy for Murli or Srilanka as a whole. Only a little while ago, Uppal Chandana took another run despite the ball had deflected after hitting his bat. Similarly, once Mahanama hit an Australian bowler deliberately with his bat, in order to prevent him from running out Murlitharan. That was in infamous chucking controversy series.

It seems that playing nations have collectively lost their sportsmanship.