Cricket: Mustafa Kamal it is time go and go you must NOW!

India and Bangladesh fought out the second quarter final of the Cricket World Cup on Thursday.  India won the game moderately easily after amassing 302 batting first, an innings anchored by a 137 run innings from Rohit Sharma.

Sharma’s innings had a tone of controversy about it: on 90 he hit a waist high full toss in the air that was caught.  However, the umpires decided, as the laws of cricket prescribe, that it was a no ball and Sharma was judged to be not out.

In a game where Bangladesh only scored 193 and, frankly, were outplayed in all aspects of the game that should have been the end of it.

It wasn’t though because Mustafa Kamal made these comments on Bangladesh TV:

“There was no quality in the umpiring. It looked like they took the field after it (the outcome) was pre-arranged,” he alleged.

“I cannot represent the Indian Cricket Council. If someone has imposed a result on us, in that case no one can accept it,” added Kamal

Who is Mr Kamal you ask? Well he is the President of the International Cricket Council.  That’s right: this is the man elected by the members of the ICC to lead the Council.  He just called the umpires in the second quarter final, Aleem Dar and Ian Gould (two of the best in the game), match fixers and cheats.

Yes, the CEO of the ICC, David Richardson, has come out in the strongest possible defence of the umpires and yes, Mr Kamal has stated that he was commenting as a fan of the game and not the president of the ICC.

However, frankly, the context of the comments means absolutely nothing! This is not some bloke in the pub or on social media blowing up about a bad umpiring decision.  This is the president of the governing body of the game of cricket internationally saying that the umpires are cheats.  That is just not acceptable no matter the excuse and no matter how much the CEO of the ICC bites back about those comments.

This is simple: Mustafa Kamal CAN NOT be the president of the ICC for another second.  Every second he remains the president of the ICC there is a question mark around the integrity of the umpires in question, the Indian team and, more broadly, the game.  He must go! If he does not do it of his own accord then the ICC should convene a meeting of its board immediately (not after the World Cup is over), via phone if necessary, and vote Mustafa Kamal out as president for bring the game into disrepute.

Mustafa Kamal: your comments are disgrace, against the Spirit of Cricket and defamatory.  Do the right thing and quit for the good of the game.

Cricket: the Mankading “controversy” … Why controversial one asks?

I have reading, with much bemusement, about the controversy overnight surrounding the Mankading of Jos Buttler by Sachithra Senanayake in the 42nd over of the 5th ODI fixture between England and Sri Lanka.

My bemusement comes from the fact this dismissal is actually controversial! Consider these facts:

1. Senanayake warned both batsman in the 42nd about backing up too far.

2. Buttler ignored both warnings and backed up a significant way out of his crease on the ball that led to the dismissal.

3. Mankading, as a dismissal, is part of the laws of the game. Indeed in 2011 the Laws of Cricket were amended to make the mankad easier to pull off.

4. The spirit of cricket, which ostensibly is a fairness standard, allows for this form of dismissal in the context of the batsman both being warned and repeatedly offending in backing up too far.

Why then the alleged controversy? All we have seen in this game is the laws and spirit of the game actually working. I could understand umbrage being taken if no warning had been given but to have warned twice and then acted strikes me as conduct entirely within the game’s spirit.

English fans will no doubt make some allegation of cheating against Sachithra Senanayake but frankly the only cheats on the ground in the 42nd over over night were the batters backing up too far. The fact that one of them was dismissed by a bowling knowledgeable in the laws of the game and the spirit surrounding there application ought be lauded rather than demonised!

Well played Sachithra Senanayake for following the game’s laws and Angelo Matthews for backing his player in upholding the appeal.

If anyone should be hauled over the coals for breaching the spirit of cricket doctrine it is the English players for their over the top sledging of Matthews and others when it came Sri Lanka’s turn to bat but, of course, the ICC is part run by the ECB now so the chances of that happening are slim at best.

The Ashes: On the question of Broad and walking

Just a short post today: I am astonished by the vitriol that is coming out of so called cricket fans today surrounding the failure of Stuart Broad to walk at Trent Bridge yesterday. Let’s be honest: it was the wrong call by the umpire but does that make is Broad’s fault?

The fact of the matter is that when we, as young men and women, are taught to play the game of cricket we are taught to respect the umpire’s decision as a default. Has anyone stopped to think about whether or not we are taught to walk if the umpire is wrong?

Why is it that when players get to the top of the game the rules seem to change? I played cricket from the age of 6 through to the age of 19 constantly at club, school and representative level and then made the odd comeback in the my twenties. Never once did any one of my coaches tell me that if the umpire made a mistake I had to walk. In fact I reckon some of my coaches would have been filthy if I had have walked.

I remember vividly one day playing at Ivor Marsden 3 field in Ipswich against Marburg Cricket Club. A left arm swing bowler induced me to edge behind and I was given not out. I did not walk and when I came off some 35 runs later my coach did not rip into me about not walking. He did not even ask me. It is apposite to note that the opposition that day did have a few words with me on the field that day and I gave a bit back and then after play we sat around having a chat and a drink. That is what cricket is about isn’t it? The umpire makes a call, there is a bit of banter and then we move on?

It is counter intuitive: at every level but for the top we are taught that the spirit of the game is to respect the umpires decision and yet we lambast players for not doing that very thing when they do not walk.

Whether or not Stuart Broad is a walker is NOT the point. Going all the way back to W G Grace some of our most lionised players were non-walkers and, frankly, nor should they be. Players must do nothing more than respect the umpires decision. If the umpire gets it wrong the focus must be on the umpire and on ways that mistakes can be minimised without moving away from the central canon that was drummed into us as kids: “the umpire is always right!”