Cape Town: If the turmoil of the past is any indication, the high-profile World Cup clash between England and Pakistan under lights at Newlands on Saturday promises to be a cracker.
Both teams need to win, with England having forfeited four points against Zimbabwe and Pakistan routed in its first match by Australia, in order to stay in contention for the Super Sixes. When England plays Pakistan controversy is never far behind. The most well-documented incident took place in 1987 with the infamous finger- wagging exchange between Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana and England captain Mike Gatting during a Test match in Faisalabad. Gatting, furious that Shakoor had called a no ball because a fielder was moving behind the batsman's back as the bowler ran into bowl, angrily confronted the official, who in turn hit back verbally in one of cricket's most infamous on field confrontations. An entire day's play was lost as Shakoor refused to start play until Gatting had apologised. The England captain eventually did just that after being asked to do so by his country's cricket officials. In 1992, after Pakistan beat England in the World Cup final and then won a Test series in England later that year, fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were accused of ball tampering. English umpires Ken Palmer and Don Oslear - there were no neutral umpires - reported the two bowlers to the International Cricket Council, but they were later cleared. So charged was the atmosphere on that tour that during the Old Trafford Test umpire Roy Palmer, Ken's brother, was accused of throwing Aquib Javed's pullover at the bowler after the paceman had reacted angrily to an appeal being turned down. In 1996, Pakistan cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan won a libel suit against former England internationals Ian Botham and Allan Lamb after they had accused him of ball tampering. Khan had infuriated Botham and Lamb saying the two players were uneducated and lacked class. Botham was never popular with the Pakistanis after insisting earlier that Pakistan was "a place to send your mother-in-law". "There is no love lost between Pakistan and England," Wasim Akram said. "When we showed them how to reverse swing the ball, they blamed us for tampering with it. Now everyone is learning how to reverse swing." Imran said the animosity was caused by the cultural difference between the two countries. "People in the two countries live life differently, the societies are poles apart," he said. The standard of umpiring has not helped matters. The touring MCC team assaulted Pakistani umpire Idrees Beg in 1954 and the matter was reported to then Pakistan President Iskander Mirza. "I believe England is just a bad loser," said the London-based Pakistani cricket journalist Qamar Ahmed. "That's why they are called Pommie whingers." Pakistan team manager Haseeb Ehsan lodged a complaint against English umpire David Constant during the tour of England in 1987. The British media hit back by alleging Haseeb tried to assault a maid in a Southampton hotel. "There is never a dull moment when Pakistan plays England. I just hope they play good cricket too," Imran said. Copyright AFP 2001
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