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Memory playing tricks?

Former Pakistan skipper Moin Khan's charges against India seem unsporting, writes Atreyo Mukhopadhyay.

india Updated: Feb 09, 2006 18:25 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

These days some former cricketers write, say anything they like and get away with most of them.

Public memory is short and apart from taking advantage of that, they also tend to undermine the knowledge of cricket among the masses.

If this sounds cynical, Moin Khan's remarks in his column for PTI on the Indo-Pak series shows there is reason to be so.

In the latest of these columns released on Wednesday, Khan says the Indians were "unsporting" in their appeal against Inzamam-ul Haq for obstructing the field in Monday's first ODI in Peshawar.

"I don't blame Suresh Raina for throwing the ball and appealing. He is new to the game and his enthusiasm is understandable. But the backup by skipper Rahul Dravid is deplorable. He is not new to the sport and should have realised what consequences his decision would have on the bearing of the series," the former wicketkeeper and captain wrote.

So far so good, because some people still believe it's a gentleman's game and Khan claims to be among them.

"It appears that the Indian team was desperate to win the game by hook or by crook, no matter even it came at the expense of the norms of this sport," he wrote.

Flashback to the Indo-Pak Chennai Test in January 99, remembered for Sachin Tendulkar's valiant chase in the fourth innings.

Those who had seen it should remember that Khan had successfully appealed for a catch by himself after Sourav Ganguly's drive, off Saqlain Mushtaq hit the silly point fielder's leg, bounced on the pitch before ricocheting into the wicketkeeper's gloves.

That the ball had bounced be fore Khan "caught" it was as clear as daylight from the replays shown from frames captured in the camera positioned at the square region.

All those watching on TV had seen that Khan had appealed for a catch he certainly must have known wasn't one and accepted the verdict, knowing that the batsman was not out.

Khan was not booked by the match officials, but the ICC did start punishing wicketkeepers guilty of feigning ignorance on the basis of video evidence after that.

Ridley Jacobs of the West Indies was suspended for a Test after "stumping" the batsman without the ball in his gloves in an ODI against India in Zimbabwe in 2001.

Khan's colleague Rashid Latif got a five-ODI ban for claiming a "catch" that wasn't one in a Test against Bangladesh in 2003.

"People who live in glasshouses don't throw stones at others," said Anshuman Gaekwad, the coach of the 1999 Indian team, when asked to comment on Khan's criticism of the Indian team. "Those who saw that match, including Moin, know what had happened," he told HT over telephone.

The former opener said the Indians were within their rights to appeal against Inzamam, just as Khan was, in Chennai.

"Appealing is allowed in the laws of the game and the rest is on the umpires. The Indians didn't do anything different from what Moin had done, the difference in conviction in the appeals notwithstanding."

Known for his gutsy showing behind and in front of the stumps, Khan will probably not be remembered for being an apostle of sportsman's spirit.

He escaped being sanctioned in Chennai, but a list of players penalised for flouting the ICC code of conduct shows he was severely reprimanded for being involved in ball tampering in a one-dayer against South Africa in Colombo in 2000.

Khan has done his image no good by propagating a value he apparently cared little for. Probably this too will be forgotten because public memory is short.

First Published: Feb 09, 2006 15:21 IST