Category Archives: Darrell Hair

Billy Doctrove, Silent Sufferer

Why doesn’t Billy Doctrove ever speak up? Surely, at some point, he could have told Rudi, “I didn’t see the ball that well, please refer it upstairs and save us a possible international dispute like the one I helped create at The Oval.” (OK, a bit long-winded, but he could have said something to that effect.)

UPDATE: Actually, I prefer JRod’s fictional dialogue.


Umpire Referral Reform

I’m glad the 2009 Ashes will not feature absurd third umpire-delays or gratuitous appeals no one thinks will be sustained. The problem of reconciling technology with tradition, however, refuses to go away in cricket and I wanted to take a brief stab at it here.

First, a primer on third umpire referrals. Regular readers know I’m a traditionalist when it comes to this problem. I don’t think technology is an elixir that will immediately remove all erroneous umpire decisions and, quite frankly, even it were, I still wouldn’t support its use because I like the fallible-but-sovereign umpire figure. Yes, umpires change the course of the game, but while some think that’s unfair, I believe it’s in line with the spirit of cricket, which relies far more on chance and luck than other games (as Ashis Nandy argues in his brilliant book, The Tao of Cricket).

But compromises must be made, if only to avoid more Sydney affairs and irate fans. Continue reading

Fuck Off, Darren

Sorry for the profanity — “it’s just not (a) cricket (blog),” I know — but Darren Lehmann has long epitomized the worst about Australian cricket for me — the arrogance, the dominance, the sense of entitlement — and now that he’s gone, I can’t say I’m too sad about it. Since I matured as a cricket fan during the 1996 World Cup final, I learned early on that some sides were very different from others: as an impressionable brown boy, it mattered very little to me what teams were playing, I would root for the darker shade every time. (Though in all-white matches, I still root for England first…though that just might be self-hatred.)

During a later series, when I heard that Lehmann had called the Sri Lankan opposition a bunch of “black cunts,” it all seemed to click for me: there was big, bad Allan Donald, from South Africa, telling erudite and small Rahul Dravid to go fuck himself after hitting him for a six; even earlier, there was South Africa itself, mysteriously appearing on the world scene after 1991 (“What’s apartheid, mommy?”); there was John Howard, using Muralitharan to score electoral points (only after shipping asylum-seekers to (another) prison island wore off); and now, there was this egg-headed loser. Like I said, cricket was a very easy and heart-breaking introduction to the post-colonial world.

What bothered me most about Lehmann’s insult, however, was just how historically accurate it fit. Continue reading

Chucking the Murali Debate

No, no, I don’t want to begin another interminably fractious argument about whether Muralidaran throws the ball or not. For my Australian readers — all of one “Uncle J Rod” — I imagine that debate was long ago settled by Messrs. Emerson and Hair, but I’m sure there’s plenty of evidence to go all round on YouTube for both sides. (Actually, come to think of it, there are three sides to this debate: 1) He’s legal, buzz off; 2) He’s illegal, so sod off; 3) He was illegal, but now he’s legal; even if he were illegal, he couldn’t help it because of his arm, so…shuffle off quietly?)

What I do want to address, however, are the commentators on the various channels, whose pronouncements on Murali’s innocence — while well-intentioned — paradoxically only undercut his innocence. Continue reading

Exciting Umpire, Boring Match

Every once in a while, a cricket match comes along that makes you believe all your American friends: cricket is really, really boring.

Australia are currently slaughtering Sri Lanka in Brisbane, so much so that the most exciting thing so far for me has been Rudi Koertzen’s glistening new goatee. (Perhaps Rudi thought he needed a change, what with his friend D. Hair’s recent revelations about certain things he should not have said.) Unfortunately, I also just found that he’s actually bald, which makes him look more like an affectionate grandfather than the stern uncle I thought him to be.

This umpire-talk may sound a tad silly, but it’s one of my favorite things about the game. Continue reading