But the mentality of victimhood has been carried too far. The Pakistanis are muttering about ending their tour of England and abandoning the one-day series if their captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, is suspended from international cricket as a result of events at the Oval. But the Pakistanis are entirely the authors of their own misfortune. They could have made a protest about Darrell Hair’s judgment without refusing to play, but instead they chose to behave like spoilt children, locking themselves in the dressing room and showing no respect for the laws of the game or the paying public. They knew what they were doing by failing to come out on to the field after tea on Sunday and now seem reluctant to pay the price of breaking the law.
Sadly all too many commentators have indulged the Pakistani protest by exaggerating its importance. We are told that this is cricket’s ‘darkest hour’, that the sport is now ‘in turmoil’. A little sense of perspective is required. No lives have been lost, unlike in the notorious Soccer War between El Salvador and Honduras in July 1969, when tensions between the two Central American nations spilled over into armed conflict after Honduran fans were beaten up during a World Cup match in San Salvador. In the aftermath of the soccer violence, diplomatic relations were broken off, and revenge killings were perpetrated against Salvadoreans. The antagonism descended into war, which saw 2,000 civilians killed in military offensives before a ceasefire was called. Now that really was a sporting crisis.
Even within cricket, the Darrell Hair row is pretty small beer. It has little of the resonance of the bodyline controversy of 1932â€“33, when Australia threatened to withdraw from the Empire because of England’s brutal strategy of short-pitched fast bowling. Nor does it have the grandeur of the long-running boycott of South Africa, which was prompted by the apartheid government’s refusal to accept the England touring team of 1968 because it contained the non-white player Basil d’Oliveira. The boycott ultimately helped to bring about the end of white-only rule, whereas the current Oval dispute will achieve nothing except to lose English cricket money. ~Leo McKinstry, The Spectator
An American equivalent might be if the Dallas Mavericks, disgusted by the horrendous officiating in the Finals this year, decided to not show up for Game 4, or closer to the British scene it would have been as if England’s team had walked off the field after Rooney was ejected with a questionable red card. Most people would understand that any team that did this would forfeit the game in question. I can understand why the Pakistani team was upset at the ball-tampering ruling, but that is really no excuse.