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chinaman
September 17, 2003, 11:54 PM
A typical Latif Landmark
By John Thakur Das

By claiming a catch that wasn't there, not only has Rashid Latif brought the game into disrepute, but has also put his career on hold.

Captain of the Pakistani cricket team, wicket-keeper Rashid Latif was banned for five One-Day Internationals for violating the International Cricket Council's code of conduct. His crime; he acted to claiming a catch when he had not, thus guilty of cheating, the Pakistani captain brought the game to bad repute.

With Inzamam, the hero of the third Test against the visiting Bangladeshies, taking over as Pakistan skipper for the remaining five ODI series, it seems that Rashid's career may have hit yet another hurdle.

Immediately after the Bangladesh series, Pakistan will be hosting a more formidable opponent, the South Africans. This means that not only will Latif miss the entire One-Day series against Bangladesh, but he might also be left out of the South African tussle as the selectors are more interested in grooming the new wicket-keeper, Kamran Akmal.

Latif's problems began when Bangladesh complained to the Match Referee, Mike Procter, that Rashid had knowingly claimed a dropped catch. It is alleged that Latif failed to inform either one of the umpires that he had grounded the ball which 'dismissed' Alok Kapali. Latif appeared to have pulled off a spectacular take, flying in front of the first slip. But repeated television replays showed the ball popping out of his gloves as he got up from the ground. Procter, a seasoned ICC official, listened to both the parties at length and felt there was good evidence against the Pakistani captain.

Rashid, as captain, had a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. He had indeed committed a serious offence by claiming that (unfair) catch which constitutes unfair play and a level-three offence of ICC Code of Conduct (Offensive and Penalties). And though Rashid had the right to appeal, but after viewing the video replays, he knew there was strong evidence was against him.

However, at this stage, the question that arises is, didn't the two umpires on the ground notice Rashid's folly? Didn't they see the grounded ball? They ruled the BD batsman Alok Kapali out apparently because they thought that the catch had been completed and took their eyes off.

Still, many believe that, as captain, Rashid should have been more responsible. He should have at least requested for a decision from the third-umpire, if not calling back the batsman as he knew that he had picked the dropped ball.

Many experts feel that Rashid's peculiar behaviour was due to Pakistan's precarious position in the Test match. They could have lost had Alok Kapali been allowed to bat a little more. Eventually, Pakistan won the match by only one wicket.

But even after the verdict, Rashid was convinced that he hadn't done anything wrong. "If I had been convinced that I had not taken a clean catch and that the ball popped out of my gloves before I completed the catch, I would have called the batsman back," he said. "I dived, took the catch, rolled over and then just threw the ball to Inzamam." However, the video replays show a different story.

If that was so Rashid would have appealed against the ban throwing the blame on two umpires that they had ruled the batsman out on the basis that the ball was held in his hand long enough to have made the catch good.

Cricket circles thought that the catch was dubious. Was Latif in control of the ball for a sufficient length of time? Perhaps, but clause three of Law 32, which tries to define what constitutes a fair catch, states: 'The act of making the catch shall start from the time when a fielder first handles the ball and shall end when a fielder obtains complete control both over the ball and over his own movement'. It is the last part of the clause that Latif arguably did not fulfil.

Cricket fans were surprised to see a former national selector on one of the private television channels defending Rashid Latif for not committing the mistake, blaming the two umpires on the field. Is it not a farcical protection setting example of bad behaviour and continue with acts of dishonesty? The selector in question, who is also considered an authority on cricket, should have seen Rashid picking the dropped ball and claiming for the catch. He knew that his action was not complete and if there was any doubt he should have requested the umpires for a replay decision.

Rashid has confirmed that he had committed a mistake. Maybe he did so in the heat of the moment and that's why he has decided not to contest the ban. But the president of Pakistan Cricket Board, Tauqir Zia could have taken a disciplinary action on behalf of the Board for violation of players' code of conduct during a series against an international team. But Rashid, who was under contract during the match, decided against any action. He also refrained from approaching the ICC for lodging any protest. The two decisions from Rashid and PCB confirm Latif's guilt.

This is not the first time that Latif has been in trouble. The PCB had previously taken action against Rashid Latif with a penalty of Rs50,000/- in 1994. This was when he and Basit Ali returned home, in the middle of a tour, after having accused former skipper, Salim Malik of match fixing.

Many believe that Rashid's actions were only the result of concern for Pakistan losing to Bangladesh. Such a result would surely have unleased a fresh wave of accusations, from the world cricket community, of match fixing, and that too under his captaincy. Rashid knew that a special representative of ICC Anti-Corruption Unit, Nooruddin Khawaja had been assigned the job of vigilance on bookies who were looking to contact the Pakistani outfit during the Bangladesh series. As a result, all mobile telephones were banned from the players dressing rooms during the entire Test series between the two countries while some special measures were taken to control the contact with outsiders.

It should be remembered that an investigation was conducted into a 1999 World Cricket Cup encounter between Bangladesh and Pakistan, where the latter lost, creating an impression that the match was fixed. Nothing was proved on paper but a lot of bickering and mudslinging went on for a long time on the Pakistani defeat, particularly when the strong Pakistan outfit managed to reach teh final.

Before the start of the Bangladesh series, Rashid had written a letter to the ICC on match-fixing, probably in a bid to prove his honesty and loyalty to the game. He was reprimanded by PCB for this direct approach of no consequence.

Earlier, he was let off easy following a disciplinary hearing, wherein Australian wicket-keeper Adam Gilchrist complained of racial remarks by Rashid Latif during a World Cup encounter in South Africa early this year. The matter was hushed up for not enough evidence.

In all the muddle and wrangling of the incident, one must not forget the forced 'rest' of star batsman Yousuf Youhana who was made to watch his teammates struggle to save the match from the clutches of defeat. Has anybody asked the Chief Selector Aamir Sohail, why he took that decision particularly when opener Taufiq Omer was injured and Bangladesh was exhibiting a marked improvement? It was just in the nick of time that Inzaman rose to the occasion and thwarted Bangladesh's attempt to record their first win in 24 Tests.

Source: The Dawn (http://www.dawn.com/weekly/dmag/dmag14.htm)

acbizz
September 18, 2003, 01:00 PM
Interesting article.

Bat-PadTogether
February 9, 2005, 03:14 PM
This man has gone for ever.No one cheater from Pakistan!!:down::down:

bourny3
February 10, 2005, 01:18 AM
Yes he hasnt played a match since. And he wont either.

Fazal
February 10, 2005, 03:01 PM
He is a trouble maker from the begining.
Just go away, and leave us alone!

Ibrahim
February 10, 2005, 08:27 PM
For his cheating we did not get our well desearved first test win aganist Pakis

Spitfire_x86
February 10, 2005, 10:53 PM
We could've won despite his cheating, but we were unlucky enough not to win that test