The batsmen can spot a chucker

Written by: S K Sham
Published: Thursday, July 13, 2000, 0:00 [IST]
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Cricket buffs may have been granted some temporary respite from the heat of the raging betting and match-fixing controversy, as it now appears to have been overshadowed by another one, perhaps as big, if not as sinister.

The naming of tearaway Australian fast bowler Brett Lee, as one whose occasional delivery action may be questionable, has kicked up quite a big row right across the cricket world.

Even as the matter has been referred to a special ICC panel, rather crudely named as "an advisory committee on illegal deliveries," everyone, everywhere seems to have reacted so quickly and so variously, to make matters more complex.

This was only to have been expected, as the bowler picked this time for scrutiny of his action, belongs to the "more privileged" white nation, for a change.

The fact that Brett Lee's suspect bowling action was reported by two Indian umpires, in this case, Srinivas Venkataraghavan and A V Jayaprakash, must surely cause greater heart-burns amongst the Australians and all those who make up, what is by now, a well-defined, bloc in the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Creating controversies within controversies appears to be the hallmark of the means we adopt to tackle any issue major issues faced by the cricket world. Sadly enough, the real issue itself becomes secondary in the game of one-upmanship that is played by the rival camps.

A couple of days before the Brett Lee issue came to light, Pakistan fast bowler Waqar Younis was fined 50 per cent of his match fees and stood down for a match by the ICC match-referee, John Reid, for what he described as "ball tampering".

The Pakistan Cricket Board chief Lt. Gen. Tauqir Zia has expressed a righteous indignation on the action unilaterally taken by the match referee, without any report being submitted by the umpires officiating in the match in Colombo.

Whenever Australian players are in trouble, the International Cricket Council, which is supposed to be an independent body, readily conspires with the home body to keep the issues under wraps.

It had happened in the case of the fining of Mark Waugh and Shane Warne by ACB, for accepting tainted money from bookies, which was revealed after two years.

The same is the case now. Umpires Venkataraghavan and Jayaprakash had reported the matter at the time of the of the Test series against New Zealand in March-April. The ICC match-referee then, former England captain Mike Dennes, submitted a report to the ICC.

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