Cricket is a gentleman’s game. Yet the way Pakistani player Asif Ali behaved on the field fell short of gentlemanliness. It is true that in a fiercely fought match a player may sometimes lose his temper, but controlling oneself in such situations is called gentleness and sportsmanship. You cannot misbehave with anyone. According to ICC rules, such behaviour is an unpardonable offence. It happened during the match between Afghanistan and Pakistan. For Afghanistan, it was a do-or-die contest. The team was given a 130-run target. Afghanistan almost reached the shore of victory. The incident occurred when Afghanistan bowler Fareed delivered the fifth ball of the 18th over to Asif who sent the previous ball for six, but Asif was out in the next ball. Ergo the match was changing fast, as Pakistan lost eight wickets.
After Asif was out, Fareed was highly excited. His was the natural reaction of a pacer, but a batter is averse to such a response from a bowler, but he quietly goes to the pavilion. Occasionally, there may be some altercations between the bowler and the batter. They rarely get into fisticuffs. Asif showed his bat to Fareed in an impolite manner. Had the players of both teams and the umpire not come between the two, there would have been a major fight in the field. You can argue with your rival. You cannot attack him.
This was not the first time that a Pakistani player misbehaved with a rival player on the field. One can remember the incident between Javed Miandad and Denis Lily. A photograph of the incident still goes viral. And it also happened after yesterday’s incident.
In 1981, there was an altercation between Lily and Miandad in a test match in Perth. Immediately after that, the latter raised his bat against Lily. One cannot forget how Ameer Suhail had behaved with Venkatesh Prasad during the quarter finals of the 1996 World Cup. The match was being played In Bengaluru. Venkatesh got Suhail out in the next ball.
There is a long list of such misconduct by Pakistani players. Asif Ali’s behaviour yesterday just reminded us of the past incidents. According to reports, the referee of the match called both the players. It is to be seen what action is being taken against them. Restrictions may be imposed on Asif Ali. As an ardent cricket fan, I feel Asif should be banned from two matches that he may not play the final.
Such an action will have an impact on the Pakistan team, so that the team management thinks twice before giving a chance to ill-mannered players like Asif in international tournaments.
On the other hand, ICC should take exception to such incidents and pull up the cricket boards whose players are involved in such conduct. ICC should also reduce the ranking of such teams.
As far as Fareed is concerned, as a bowler his reaction was natural, but as a batter Asif should not have lost his cool. After all, a fast bowler is always aggressive. There is nothing new about it in modern cricket. If the match referee takes any strong action against Fareed, it will be unjust. Yes, if Fareed hurled any abuse at Asif, he should also face the music. In that case, the umpire’s report will be necessary. Nevertheless, Asif may not have been ashamed of what he did on the field yesterday, but cricket was. Ill-tempered players are not supposed to take part in the gentleman’s game.