Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi has bitten off more than he could chew.
Though he obviously didn’t count on being caught on camera doing his wicked deed. And quite right of him to expect to get away with biting a cricket ball - to hopefully procure copious amounts of extra swing in the middle of a cricket ground watched by thousands, not to mention the match being televised live - instead of been given a two match ban, which he got. After all, who would think to actually watch the game, let alone the player who has the ball in his hand? Hell, I’m just glad that he didn’t make it too obvious. You never know, he might have got caught.
This act of beguilement is hard to comprehend, that’s to be sure. This was nothing more than a blatant act of cheating, a total disregard for the rules of cricket. Afridi did not even bother to try and hide what he was doing. He surely could not have thought that he was going to get away with such an obvious act of treachery. And this coming from the captain, no less. Presumably Afridi was chosen for the role of captain due to a combination of having the respect of the players and the tactical nous to do the job, amongst other things. Which one would have thought, for the second reason at least, requires a reasonable level of intellect. This being the case, you have to wonder if he is a few sandwiches short of a picnic.
You see, the thing about sport is that it is a competition to see who is the best team, player. And because we all want to see a fair contest, someone once upon a time came up with the rather novel notion of creating rules, so that each side had an even chance and had to use a degree of skill to claim a victory. But why make it fair when you can cheat to win. It is so much easier that way. Remember, too, that it isn’t cheating, simply extending the rules somewhat.
Clearly Afridi feels this way about the whole situation. What’s the big deal, he is wondering. As he claimed, everybody in the game is doing it. Oh well, then that’s okay I guess. How stupid, that the rest of us did not realise that two wrongs make a right. Seriously, all these years we have been wasting our time actually being far too rigid with our lives by tediously sticking to the rules.
Which means that the match referee is obviously off his rocker and being a tad over-zealous in handing out a two match ban to Afridi. Quite why the officials would want to hand out a ban to Afridi, I don’t know. Oh that’s right; it will create a level playing field as well as sending a message to all in the game that ball tampering will not be tolerated.
Why the ICC does not come down on this dubious practice harder than they do is a mystery to most followers of the game. Especially when it is the captain of the team. Someone that is a leader and that should have known better. What’s even worse in this case is that Afridi has had numerous run-ins with ICC disciplinary committees. But this is the ICC. A mob that would struggle to run a booze up in a brewery.
A classic example of their ineptitude was at the 2007 world cup where the final turned into utter chaos. And then there was the absurd prices charged to get into matches. Hey, wouldn’t want the locals to actually attend matches would you. Understandably, they thought it much better that the punters take an interest in any sport other than cricket.
You can’t put this down to the Indian influence on the ICC either, because they are sworn enemies of Pakistan. Therefore, it must be a case of giving the issue lip service due to the fact that they are either a toothless organisation or one that just plain doesn’t care.
This, of course, is great for Afridi, who gets away with having the scruples of a zombie. Oh sure, he is banned for two matches. Of what? Twenty-twenty.Afridi will of course laugh off such a small ban. To be out of action for two matches when there is a plethora of the shortened version of the game to keep the bank balance healthy each season is hardly going to concern him.
It seems, then, that nothing much would concern Afridi. Especially not the rules of cricket.

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