Former player extends support to Inzamam August 28, 2006

Holding critical of 'first-world hypocrisy'

Cricinfo staff

Inzamam's disciplinary hearing is scheduled for the end of September and Michael Holding feels that stating cricket laws as absolute is pointless. Every law has room for flexibility © AFP

Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler, lent his support to Inzamam-ul-Haq, saying that Darrell Hair was "insensitive" to have penalised Pakistan for ball-tampering.

"I have absolute and all sympathy with [Pakistan captain] Inzamam-ul Haq. If you label someone a cheat, please arrive with the evidence," Holding wrote in India Today, a leading weekly news magazine. Holding felt that most umpires would have said something to the fielding captain and given the offending team a warning of some kind. "Then if the tampering continued, they would have been totally justified in taking action.

"There is a double standard at work in cricket and this episode has only highlighted it. When England used reverse-swing to beat the Australians in the 2005 Ashes, everyone said it was great skill. When Pakistan does it, the opposite happens, no one thinks it is great skill. Everyone associates it with skullduggery.

"When bombs go off in Karachi and Colombo everyone wants to go home. When bombs go off in London, no one says anything. That is first-world hypocrisy and we have to live with it."

Holding said that seeing the cricketing law as the absolute and final truth was pointless. Every law, he wrote, has room for flexibility. "I read a prime example recently in the British press. It said that by law, you can be fined for parking within the yellow lines in England. If you do that to run into a chemist to buy emergency medicines, a sensible policeman would more than likely tell you about the law but it's unlikely a ticket would be forthcoming."

The executive board of the ICC is scheduled to meet on September 2 in Dubai to discuss the ball-tampering issue further. Inzamam's disciplinary hearing for Pakistan's actions of ball-tampering and bringing the game into disrepute in the fourth Test against England at The Oval will take place around the end of September.