Kamal Gets the Hump


For some strange reason, whenever I get a taxi home from Sevenoaks station, I always get picked up by the same driver. He’s a passionate, and ever so slightly crazy, Bangladesh supporter. He was not a happy chap on Friday night.

Having had several pints of ale, I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it went something like this: “Aleem Dar is a cheat; the ICC is corrupt; the umpires gave Rohit Sharma not out because they’re in India’s pocket; if it wasn’t for corrupt umpiring and India’s money then Bangladesh would be in the semi final etc”. You get the general idea.

I didn’t think too much of it at the time. I hadn’t seen the incident in question and I assumed it wouldn’t have made too much difference anyway. India are better than Bangladesh. End of.

However, I certainly raised an eyebrow when I read the words of ICC president Mustafa Kamal, a Bangladeshi, in the papers today. Here’s what he had to say about Aleem Dar and the umpiring:

“From what I have seen, the umpiring was very poor. There was no quality in the umpiring. It seemed as if they had gone into the match with something in mind. I am speaking as a fan, not as the ICC president. Umpires may make mistakes.The ICC will see if this was done deliberately. Everything is on record. The ICC has to investigate and inquire the issue to see if there’s anything to it.”

Holy crap! This isn’t something you usually hear from ICC presidents. Normally we get the usual “nothing to see here, please move along” treatment – a bit like Lesley Nielsen in the Naked Gun when that missile launcher drives into a fireworks factory.

I’m not normally one for conspiracy theories – although it depends how one defines ‘conspiracy’ – so I’m  a little shocked to hear someone so senior at the ICC talk about stitch ups so candidly. I imagine Kamal simply got the hump and either forgot or didn’t care how his words would be interpreted. It’s not very becoming for an ICC president to talk like this. He Mustafa long hard look at himself.

Anyway, crap puns aside there is a serious point to be made. Why would someone at the pinnacle of cricket’s governing body automatically assume foul play? He could be a fantasist, or have an agenda we’re not aware of, but it seems unlikely that someone at the top of his profession could be entirely delusional (no Paul Downton jokes please).

Cynics will hear Kamal’s words and assume that corruption in cricket is something those at the top of the ICC encounter every day. It would have to be dodgy for an ICC president to automatically smell a rat in a moment of weakness, right?

Or perhaps he’s seen the recent shenanigans at the ICC, where everything seems to revolve around the Big Three and Indian money, and become rather cynical about it all. Perhaps a few on-field 50:50 decisions going India’s way doesn’t seem that far fetched to someone who has seen the global game restructure itself around Indian desires?

Or perhaps he really is just a delusional nutter.

James Morgan



  • Well, it would explain why India have resisted technology if they think they can rely on umpires giving them favourable treatment.

    I would be surprised if there was out right wrong doing mind. However, if you are an umpire it is surely going to cross your mind that if you give 50/50 calls against India, the most powerful country in world cricket you may find your job not too secure.

    Self preservation rather than conspiracy.

  • I know what you mean, there was a man who looked very similar to Aleem Dar on the grassy knoll

  • The rule itself in ridiculous — beamers should get a bowler instantly removed from the attack and banned for a game or more, but “waist-high”? It’s a vague subjective judgment, and the fact it can’t be reviewed is ICC-grade idiotic. Change the rule.

    The call looked at worst “arguable”, but certainly not disgraceful or indicative of corruption. Plus I would have thought it more plausible that a someone would try to pay off India’s opposition than the umpire, but who knows? Anyway the format was already skewed to ensure India made it at least to the semis. (heh heh — didn’t work for everyojne…)

    But, the fact the head of the ICC immediately suspects corruption at such a high level is extremely revealing — more about the ICC than Aleem Dar. The only thing that makes me doubt that the ICC is corrupt to the core is the fact that most of them don’t seem to understand the game well enough to manipulate it.

  • I agree with you about beamers. And I have always had a suspicion that certain bowlers bowl them quite deliberately.

    For legal reasons I won’t name them, but I have always had my doubts they weren’t accidental.

    • I accidentally bowled a lot of crap in my brief time as a bowler, but I never “accidentally” zinged in a deadly head high full toss straight between the eyes. (At least not towards batsmen. There were some close in fielders, though, I recall….)

  • True story : I was playing in a club game when I was 14 and gloved an inswinging beamer (I was opening the batting and the ball had been hooping around so much that I guessed it was doctored. One side was bright crimson and shinier than Yul Brynner’s head after a coat of Vaseline) from in front of my face straight to the keeper. The ump raised his finger and I just stood there in disbelief for about 30 seconds.

    As I walked off, the keeper shouted “Don’t you know you’re out when you’re caught?”. I had to resist a strong urge to return to the wicket and stave his stupid face in with a series of accidentally misdirected pull shots.

    I asked the ump about the decision after the game, and he said “I’d have called no ball if you hadn’t played a shot.” I responded with a string of swearwords terminating in the phrase “blind old imbecile”.

    He actually did me a favour because an x-ray revealed the delivery had broken my hand, but I’m still mad as hell about the whole thing.

  • I am pretty certain that this match was umpired poorly throughout – and that the decision to call ‘no ball’ in this instance was ‘problematic’ – the standard of umpiring in this world cup has been generally poor and nearly always favoured the ‘big teams’ – no surprise really – but lends no credibility to the competition nor the ICC

  • Looking at the replay, I think Aleem Dar signalled that he called a no ball because it had pitched above waist height. It looks a borderline decision (I’m trying to be charitable) and I think the bowler Rubel was unlucky.

    Evidence of corruption? Who knows, but the ICC do seem increasingly to be the international sporting body that makes FIFA look transparent and accountable.

  • but these waist high no balls need top be checked with third umpire like front foot ones as these are much rarer and makes sense to get them right, all i can say is whoever regulates DRS rules is a half wit! Same goes with these umpires who cant make use of common sense.

  • The fact that umpires are completely unaccountable to anyone except the ICC bigwigs is an inherent flaw in the game of cricket. Plus the fact that the ICC always back them, no matter how shit they are.

  • Definitely very poor decision there by ump, and I guess that’s why he was not umpring in today’s game…


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