While there was no play after tea on Sunday, Sky Sports’ live coverage was absolutely fascinating. Here’s what the star commentators, as also others who came into the picture, had to say:
David Lloyd: It is a poor show by Pakistan. It all happened between 2.30 and 2.40. That is when Pakistan refused to come out. And when they did, I saw one of the PCB officials giving players the thumbs up.
Michael Atherton: What with 25-26 cameras around, we didn’t miss much… Had there been anything untoward, our cameras would have caught it… Clearly, the umpires lacked common sense. As far as Darrell Hair is concerned, the match is over… Though there is a history of animosity between the two teams, of late it has been hunky-dory…
Lloyd: Exactly… Camaraderie between the two teams have been excellent.
Rameez Raja: Here’s a team which feels that “We are not wanted”. I have been speaking to Kaneria and he also feels that Hair has been stalking him. The entire Pakistan team feels that Hair has been acting like a policeman. They feel that Hair is against them.
Lloyd: Let me remind you here that this is all speculation…
Atherton: But there are a few things we know for sure... We know that Hair has accused Pakistan of “ball-tampering”. And then after tea, when one team goes out into the middle, and the other doesn’t… game over! I don’t think Hair will go out into the middle because the game is over for him.
David Gower: If you go by the rules of the game, the game is over. However, we do not know whether the ICC will step in… whether the Match Referee will step in… We don’t know whether any negotiations are possible…
Lloyd: In recent times, there have been very good relations between the two teams… For god’s sake! It’s only cricket…
Atherton: The moment Pakistan started reverse- swinging the ball, allegations of ball-tampering resurfaced.
Rameez: This is not the first time that Pakistan had been playing a tough match. In fact, their recent matches against India — and let me tell you that they don’t come tougher than that — not one instance of ball-tampering was lodged against them or the Indians. Believe me, Hair is a very popular umpire for reasons I don’t want to discuss here… Inzy and his team has been hurt very badly… They have been labelled as cheats, which I think, is very unfortunate. The decision to award penalty runs came as a huge surprise because no player was warned and it looks a very subjective decision. With so many cameras, nobody was caught and there seems to be no evidence. I think the Pakistan board should tackle this aggressively because this could spoil a very good series.
Ian Botham: Can the Match Referee overrule the umpire'
Gower: The Match Referee could, if he wants to… Maybe Hair would think that would create another problem. There will be ramifications, which we are not even aware of right now…
Nasser Hussain: Well, the light’s gone… It remains to be seen whether Hair issues an apology or whether ICC issues a statement. We have to wait and see…
Shaharyar Khan (PCB chief): We are absolutely ready to play… The boys came out to start playing again. We want the Test to continue… We are ready to play. I understand that the umpires are not ready. At tea, the captain and team felt deeply aggrieved and insulted for being implicated in cheating — the accusation of ball-tampering tantamounts to that. No one was consulted, the umpires don’t have to, mind you, but the fact remains that no one was consulted and an unilateral decision taken of penalising them.
At tea, the captain and the boys felt deeply humiliated. They were waiting for a few moments after play resumed to lodge a protest, nothing else. But to our surprise, the umpires are not ready to come out now. David Morgan came to our dressing room and we had a chat with him. We thought the issue has been resolved. But now, we find the umpires are not ready. As regarding the ODI series, I don’t know what will happen. We have no complaints whatsoever about the ECB. If this match is abandoned, it won’t be because of them… We absolutely want to play the ODI series.
Gower: Well, it now seems clear that Pakistan wanted to continue playing…
Lloyd: Pakistan wanted to make a protest by delaying their entry… Law 21 3b clearly states that in the opinion of the umpires, if a team refuses to play, the umpires shall award the match to the other side…
Gower: There will be no further play today, according to the fourth umpire… This is the most sensitive situation in a long time — I am absolutely appalled by the lack of action and initiative shown by the ICC.
Botham: ICC should have acted faster and swifter... They are in charge of the game.
Paul Sheldon (Surrey County chief executive and acting ECB spokesperson): England batsmen were out there and all ready to resume playing… It’s certainly nothing to do with the spirit between the teams. That much I can tell you. Just like the rest of us, they are in there waiting for someone to tell them what’s happening….
Botham: Hair has his right to stand his ground… But does he have enough evidence to suggest that actual ball-tampering took place… ICC must make a statement.
Hussain: Darrell probably feels that if he firmly believes he caught someone he must go ahead and report it… Whether it’s chucking or tampering, he probably feels it is up to him to highlight it… But he should have known the consequences of his action.
Gower: Well… footage clearly proves that Pak bowlers were not trying to hide anything…
ECB statement: Following issues raised by on-field umpires… A meeting will be held after play to determine whether further play will be held tomorrow.
Botham: The ECB and PCB may say what they want to, but really it is up to the ICC — the people who run the game to move their backside and take a decision… and they are not taking any decision…
Hussain: Everybody says they are ready to play… The ECB, PCB and the players say so… It remains to be seen whether Hair will back down — whether he will be persuaded to carry on and reverse his decision.
Note: Till 1 am, no statement had been released by the ICC.
WHAT THE LAWS SAY
Umpires awarding a match
(a) A match shall be lost by a side which either (i) concedes defeat or (ii) in the opinion of the umpires refuses to play and the umpires shall award the match to the other side.
(b) If an umpire considers that an action by any player or players might constitute a refusal by either side to play then the umpires together shall ascertain the cause of the action. If they then decide together that this action does constitute a refusal to play by one side, they shall so inform the captain of that side. If the captain persists in the action the umpires shall award the match in accordance with (a) (ii) above.
(c) If action as in (b) above takes place after play has started and does not constitute a refusal to play
(i) playing time lost shall be counted from the start of the action until play recommences, subject to Law 15.5 (Changing agreed times for intervals).
(ii) The time for close of play on that day shall be extended by this length of time, subject to Law 3.9 (Suspension of play for adverse conditions of ground, weather or light).
(iii) If applicable, no overs shall be deducted during the last hour of the match solely on account of this time.
The match ball — changing its condition
(a) Any fielder may — (i) polish the ball provided that no artificial substance is used and that such polishing wastes no time/(ii) remove mud from the ball under the supervision of the umpire/(iii) dry a wet ball on a towel.
(b) It is unfair for anyone to rub the ball on the ground for any reason, interfere with any of the seams or the surface of the ball, use any implement, or take any other action whatsoever which is likely to alter the condition of the ball, except as permitted in (a) above.
(c) The umpires shall make frequent and irregular inspections of the ball.
(d) In the event of any fielder changing the condition of the ball unfairly, as set out in (b) above, the umpires after consultation shall (i) change the ball forthwith. It shall be for the umpires to decide on the replacement ball, which shall, in their opinion, have had wear comparable with that which the previous ball had received immediately prior to the contravention/(ii) inform the batsmen that the ball has been changed/(iii) award 5 penalty runs to the batting side/(iv) inform the captain of the fielding side that the reason for the action was the unfair interference with the ball/(v) inform the captain of the batting side as soon as practicable of what has occurred/(vi) report the occurrence as soon as possible to the Executive of the fielding side and any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain and team concerned.
(e) If there is any further instance of unfairly changing the condition of the ball in that innings, the umpires after consultation shall (i) repeat the procedure in (d)(i), (ii) and (iii) above/(ii) inform the captain of the fielding side of the reason for the action taken and direct him to take off forthwith the bowler who delivered the immediately preceding ball. The bowler thus taken off shall not be allowed to bowl again in that innings/(iii) inform the captain of the batting side as soon as practicable of what has occurred/(iv) report this further occurrence as soon as possible to the Executive of the fielding side and any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain and team concerned.