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Old March 23, 2010, 02:31 PM
1137moiz 1137moiz is offline
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Default Lessons from a heated Test

Lessons from a heated Test
by Ibrahim Moiz on March 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm
As the dust settles in Dhaka and Bangladesh’s ambitions of upstaging England rapidly diminish, tempers have begun to flare. Incensed with the umpiring howlers that let England off the hook on the third day, Bangladeshi newspapers are spitting headlines like “Umpires for the Empire?” and Jamie Siddons, the coach, has been fined for expressing disgust at the decisions. Meanwhile, England’s press, more hopeful of seeing a closely fought series than they may care to admit, have attacked the lack of focus that saw Bangladesh slip on the fourth day from an even to difficult situation, essentially 95 for 6 with a full day remaining. The best thing for observers to do, perhaps, is what Bangladesh must do to stay in the match: keep their cool and assess the facts closely before reaching conclusions.

On one hand, the hosts have every right to fume. Bangladesh had an advantage on the third morning when Jonathan Trott was bowled at 174 for 4, but the umpiring gaffes were clear and crucial: Matt Prior survived a zinging spell from Rubel Hossain, but should have been out lbw; Ian Bell, England’s most assured player, was at one point hit in front by an otherwise wayward Abdur Razzak, but the half-hearted appeal was as unconvincing as the umpire’s mistaken refusal; Tim Bresnan had a clear bat-pad catch turned down, and all of them made sizeable contributions, Prior positive, Bresnan dour, and Bell a healthy mixture of both. Then there are the accusations of not being able to pry out 20 wickets. As a result, Bangladesh were left trailing, a morale deflater after their spirited effort in the first innings.

But that said, the hosts still had an excellent opportunity to wrest the advantage on the fourth morning. Instead Bresnan and James Tredwell piled on the runs, reminding one of yesterday morning when, with the new ball taken, the incisive Rubel Hossain was surprisingly overlooked in favour of Abdur Razzak, who gave Prior ample room to get into his stride. Several of Bangladesh’s batsmen fell to limp shots in the third innings. It might be hard to blame them after a disproportionate amount of decisions have gone against the hosts, but they were at the end of the day fairly flaccid. And accusations of racism only add to the problem, coming across as irrational excuses. It’s a sad truth that racism is still rife in this day and age, but in fairness it has been cracked down on more harshly than before, and was unlikely to feature, consciously at the very least, in the umpires’ blunders. And those who cry “racism” at every turn, like many of the subcontinental nations unfortunately do, are like the boy who cried wolf, only demeaning their own credibility and letting instances of real racism slip by ignored.

So what to do? I would be tempted to sidle towards the Bangladeshi side of the fence, simply because a massive proportion of umpiring decisions do tend to go against them. Eoin Morgan, reprieved in the second one-day, lashed a match-and-series-winning century. Tamim Iqbal’s bristling 85 in the first session ended when the ball ballooned off his arm; he laughed it off, but there it was. The umpiring errors in England’s following innings have already been noted. With such a record, how can Bangladesh be blamed for losing focus when a higher-profile encounter, such as the Ashes or an India match, might have attracted greater notice

We are constantly reminded that the umpires have a difficult job and are human. Fair enough, they’re not intentionally biased, and it is a far harder job than meets the eye. One of cricket’s moral advantages over sports like baseball is that match officials aren’t subjected to crude, savage haranguing. But when it is such an admittedly difficult and risky business, and the officials do deem respect, then why not use the TV evidence? It may hurt the umpires’ ego, but surely close calls such as those mentioned above would be better off replayed rather than subjected to human error. Otherwise, it’s hard to blame the wronged party for indignation. Siddons was guilty of no more than frankness; Bob Woolmer, Pakistan’s old coach, was forced to apologize when pointing out a 29-5 umpiring count against his side in Australia. If it seems unfair, it is. The umpires can’t have it both ways.

Of course, Bangladesh do need to focus. Whatever the world may say, they do at last have a capable lineup and an attack that can claim 20 wickets. Their demeanor on the fourth day was lacklustre, even more so than a slipshod English effort, and even in the circumstances. However, there is a day to go, and they can still turn things around. While griping may not be called for, though, cricket cannot afford to ignore the lessons from this unexpectedly hard-fought tour.

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Old March 23, 2010, 02:47 PM
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AsifTheManRahman AsifTheManRahman is offline
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Nicely done. 29-5? Holy...if Siddons can go nuts at 5-0, Woolmer should probably have broken some heads!
Screw the IPL, I'm going to the MLC!
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Old March 23, 2010, 02:52 PM
dolcevita dolcevita is offline
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Umper robbed atleast one ODI : the second
Then this test : We lost it in day 3rd .

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Old March 23, 2010, 03:15 PM
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zazabor zazabor is offline
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Im impressed .. Gr8 article..

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