Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shahid Afridi & Co can overcome 'first-world hypocrisy'

Pakistan responded to the controversies of the last eight days with a five-wicket victory over England in their Twenty20 clash on Monday.

Pakistan's star all-rounder Shahid Afridi hammered 28 off 10 balls. Pakistan won the match and Afridi was named player of the match.

Such determined performances from Afridi and other Pakistan players with Inzamam-ul-Haq at their helm can crush the double standards of ICC.

Do double standards exist in this beautiful game?

It does and here is what Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler had to say about the ball-tempering that umpire Darrel Hair attributed to Pakistan team.

Michael Holding wrote in India Today, a leading weekly news magazine. Holding felt that most umpires would have said something to the fielding captain and given the offending team a warning of some kind. "Then if the tampering continued, they would have been totally justified in taking action.

"There is a double standard at work in cricket and this episode has only highlighted it. When England used reverse-swing to beat the Australians in the 2005 Ashes, everyone said it was great skill. When Pakistan does it, the opposite happens, no one thinks it is great skill. Everyone associates it with skullduggery."

This is disgraceful and ICC should be held to a much higher standard so that fair play can prevail without such double standards.

While pressure must be mounted on the ICC to put this situation right, players like Afridi and others should rise up to the occasion by playing unbeatable cricket so that ICC will be forced to end the 'first-world hypocrisy' that Holding says we have to live with.

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