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Are Sharia Laws Being Applied in Cricket?

by Alamgir Hossain

10 Dec, 2006

I have been a fanatic fan of cricket for over the years. But what is happening to this fine game of sports during the recent times is real worrying. The age-old adage ‚€œIt‚€™s not cricket‚€ to denote unfair and unacceptable behavior is going to disappear from the English dictionary soon. 

Recently, the controversy over Australian umpire Darrel Hair's punishing the Pakistan team for ball-tempering in a Test Cricket match in England has done enough damage to cricket. It led to an extraordinary wave of events spurred by Pakistan's vigorous protests and lobbying, leading to the reversal of the umpire‚€™s ball-tempering verdict, which is rather rare in the game of cricket. This much could possibly acceptable. But Pakistan also forced India and the International Cricket Council (ICC) to exclude one of the cricket's finest umpires from the ICC Championship, the second-greatest cricket tournament, held in India. Although this outcome brought jubilation in Pakistan and their anti-Western ally countries in Asia and Africa, most experts and commentators in the Western cricket-playing nations opined that this decision is going to destroy the confidence and integrity of the umpires, who should stand supreme in handing decisions in the field of play. There is little doubt that umpires have to think thrice in giving a tough decision especially against the Pakistan team next time round. 

However, the story did not stop there. Pakistan's campaign to punish Darrell Hair continued. It formed a lobby with the 3rd world cricket-playing nations of Asia and Africa (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Zimbabwe and South Africa) and voted out the great umpire out of international cricket in the ICC General meeting in Mumbai on November 13th, just a week after he was reported to be the season‚€™s second-best umpire in the book of ICC. In the same week, The Wisden Cricketer, considered cricket‚€™s Alma Mater, revealed that Darrell Hair was voted to be season‚€™s best umpire by a huge margin (34%) ahead of compatriot Simon Taufel (16%). When cricket is facing increasing crisis in falling umpiring standard, Darrell Hair should be the integral part of cricket to show way for the next generation umpires. And here, a twenty-one year-long umpiring career with outstanding records behind him is not good enough to keep his job and earn a living. It would not take much effort for the readers to realize how these events would affect the psychology of the umpires who walk to the middle of the field of play in future games. It‚€™s a great setback to the beautiful game of sport and a huge disappointment for those who care for its future. 

Now we have another damaging saga involving drug abuse, again by the Pakistan player. The first-ever drug-abuse incidence in the otherwise clean game of cricket took place in 2003, when great Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne was withdrawn from World Cup Team in South Africa for testing positive for diuretics. Warne then insisted his innocence by claiming that his mother had given him pills to loose weight which he had put on while recovering from an injury. Warne was banned from playing by the Australian Cricket board for one year which was enforced, which many pundits had suspected might end the ageing 33 year-old player‚€™s career. 

Cricket's second-ever drug scandal took place in the midst of the recent ICC championship trophy in October when Pakistan fast bowlers Shoaib Akhtar and Muhammad Asif tested positive for banned anabolic steroid Nandrolone in an internal dope test carried out by the Pakistan Cricket Board. Both players insisted on their innocence but declined to take a repeat test of sample B. Incidentally, both players, like Warne, were recovering from injuries and such anabolic drugs help healing faster. They insisted that it may have come from food supplements they were taking. After a hearing by Pakistan Cricket Board, Akhtar was banned for 2 years while the younger Asif was let-ff with a lighter one-year ban. 

Despite having similar circumstances behind both scandal; Warne never protested his ban but the Pakistan players did. On 5th December, the ban on the players was overturned citing that 'neither was fully aware of the substances they were taking‚€™. It is ridiculous to overturn the ban on such flimsy reasoning. If one truly wants to lie, there is no way to prove that he was taking the banned substance knowingly. Pakistan team‚€™s records have also not stood in a very good light in terms of using illegal means. 

Astonishingly, this reversal of the ban came just two days after the Head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Dick Pound, in his book Inside Doping, insisted that Cricket Australia should have banned Warne for longer than 12 months after testing positive for a diuretic in 2003. What a strange world of this cricket is. For the same crime, Warne gets banned for a year, while the Pakistan players walk away innocent and scot-free. And the WADA chief insists on more severe punishment for the already punished Warne. 

As events transpired over the last few months, it is appearing that the Pakistan team is beyond any wrong-doing. They cannot and must not be accused or punished for whatsoever reasons. Over a dispute with the kafirs of Medina, the holy Prophet of Islam had once said, "His community will never do wrong". Allah has also revealed in the Koran: ‚€œTruly, it is the unbelievers who are the wrong-doers‚€ [Quran 2:254]. One one if these sets of Islamic laws are being applied in the game of cricket these days.   [Hit Counter]