Sunday, August 24, 2008
That's why we need referrals
"Excuse me?" exclaims Homer's blog, detailing the double standards evident in two ICC match referees' interpretations of offensive behaviour by players. While Aleem Dar let Flintoff go scot-free in an SA-England match, Chris Broad slapped Munaf Patel with a level 2 offence for a far lesser misdemeanour in the second ODI between India and Sri Lanka. Broad's harshness also rekindles the white-man-not-taking-the-brown-man's-word argument that snowballed into a crisis after the Sydney Test when Mike Proctor banned Harbhajan Singh. So, when I saw pictures of a Cuban taekwondo fighter kicking a match referee in the face after some dubious decisions at the Olympics on Saturday, I thought it isn't far-fetched to expect a similar incident in cricket one of these days if the ICC persists with arming undeserving people like Broad with so much power. And yet, there's an easy way to prevent such ugliness, and this was evident in the Test series. I mean the referral system, of course, which defuses all the rancour in the middle, just like it did for tennis. More on this in an article I wrote, titled Back to the middle ages, because that's what it feels like to watch cricket again without the referral system which has been put on the back-burner after its trial in the Tests.