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Scuff the ball, lose the Test?
2006-08-20 17:27
by Bob Timmermann

Pakistan forfeited the fourth Test against England at The Oval in London after officials determined that Pakistani bowlers were deliberately scuffing the ball. A scheduled fifth Test was called off.

At one point during the Test, the officials, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, noticed that the ball began to reverse-swing and decided to examine it. They ruled that the ball had been scuffed and awarded England five penalty runs.

After the tea interval, Pakistan refused to come out and the match was declared forfeited after a lengthy debate. The Pakistani team captain insisted that the ball was scuffed naturally during the course of play.

Pakistan's captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, probably shouldn't have been asking Joe Niekro and Gaylord Perry for bowling tips.

The linked BBC article describes this incident in great detail and links to many other opinions about the incident.

To be precise, the forfeiture was not because of the scuffing accusation but because the Pakistan team objected to the penalty applied. Scuffing does not equal an automatic forfeit.

2006-08-20 17:40:53
1.   Linkmeister
Both Pakistan and the UK have nuclear weapons, right?
2006-08-20 17:48:31
2.   Bob Timmermann
Indeed they do.
2006-08-20 17:50:17
3.   Eric Enders
I really wish I understood cricket. I once watched a match with a cricket aficionado friend of mine -- but a couple hours wasn't enough for me to understand even the basics, much less the nuances.

Anyone know if you can get matches on any U.S. cable stations?

2006-08-20 18:12:54
4.   the OZ
Cricket is interesting in terms of its historical league-labor relations. Years ago, a top cricket bowler (Thommo Thompson?) wanted to get paid more. Somehow, he and other top players banded together and were locked out, or struck, or something. They then started their own league, which I believe is the leading cricket league in the Australia/India region of the world. The point is that the players were able to change the business dynamics of the game by rebelling against leadership. It would be the equivalent of All-Star MLB players founding their own league with its own broadcast rights, financial structure, CBA, etc.

I'm retelling this story from memory, so it's likely full of errors. No way of knowing whether my memory or Wikipedia is more accurate, but I'd give it a try:

2006-08-20 18:30:49
5.   Linkmeister
4 That's interesting. The Players League tried the same thing in US baseball in 1890 and failed after one year.

2006-08-20 19:10:56
6.   Suffering Bruin
I swear to God, I didn't know until the very last part of the post what sport you were talking about. Then I felt kind of silly--cricket, of course. I read in a book that cricket is the true thinking man's game, whatever that means.
2006-08-20 19:13:43
7.   Suffering Bruin
Oh, one more thing: a tea interval? I love it. Baseball should have a tea interval.
2006-08-20 19:25:55
8.   tjshere
I'm just glad my name isn't Hair.

Although it would be ironically hilarious if it was.

2006-08-20 19:31:13
9.   Bob Timmermann
Like Eric, I have thought I could understand cricket. I've tried. I've put time into it. I've talked to people who play it.

I still don't get it.

It seems that most cricketers feel the same way about baseball. They think they can understand it, but there's always something they can't understand.

It's like Robert Burns poetry. You think you should understand all of it, but then something gang aft a-gley.

2006-08-20 20:21:10
10.   GoBears
I had a Kiwi friend explain cricket to me during the World Championships (his countrymen were destroyed by Australia). It's not that difficult, but with all that running back and forth, it's easy to see how baseball is a clear technological improvement. Only the British veneration of old crap (and their imposition of same on their colonial underlings) kept that sport alive.

Any news on whether the Pakistanis sold their ball-scuffing secrets to Libya or North Korea before they were found out?

2006-08-20 21:07:35
11.   Greg Brock
I haven't seen such blatant cheating in a test since I took the SAT.


I'm sorry.

2006-08-20 21:25:16
12.   Bob Timmermann
The answer to number 15 was really D.
2006-08-20 21:52:30
13.   Greg Brock
I know. It's haunted me to this day.
2006-08-20 22:42:46
14.   Bob Timmermann
In college, I once copied an answer from a classmate's midterm.

I changed my correct answer to a wrong answer.

It was a very good way to cure oneself of the temptation to cheat.

2006-08-20 22:55:13
15.   Greg Brock
I could never abide cheating or stealing. I stole a candy bar when I was six. I felt miserable.

Stealing signs, however, is fine by me. I also find the spitball amusing. Not OK, but amusing.

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