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Do you remember these cricket cancellations and disruptions?

From the 1975 Headingley Test to the 2006 Oval forfeiture, disruptions have been a part of the game all along

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
The author, captain of Australia at the time, with his opposite number, Tony Greig, inspecting the vandalised pitch at Headingley in 1975  •  PA Photos

The author, captain of Australia at the time, with his opposite number, Tony Greig, inspecting the vandalised pitch at Headingley in 1975  •  PA Photos

The suspension of the 2021 IPL tournament because of surging Covid infections and deaths among the public, and a number of participants testing positive, was a reminder of the game's vulnerability.
In the past, tours have been aborted and matches abandoned for a variety of reasons. Many of these involved back stories, some of which were tragic and others amusing.
In 1969, England toured a bitterly divided Pakistan where the series was haunted by protests from the beginning. When a riot brought the third Test in Karachi to a premature halt, the England team flew home immediately.
In the match, Colin "Ollie" Milburn had completed his second Test century after being recalled from Australia, where he had enjoyed a prolific Sheffield Shield season with Western Australia. In one innings he smoked a scintillating double-century against Queensland, where he scored a believe-it-or-not 180 runs in a single session.
Milburn's excellent Shield form and subsequent Test century looked to have cemented his spot in the England team, but sadly he never represented his country again. On returning home he was involved in a serious car accident which resulted in him losing sight in one eye. It was a sad end to the career of one of cricket's great entertainers and characters.
In 1990 a mate called to tell me the bad news that Ollie had collapsed and died in a hotel car park at age 48. I asked whether he was going in or coming out of the pub. When the response was "Coming out", I replied, "Well, at least he will have died happy."
In 1970-71 the MCG Boxing Day Test between Australia and England was abandoned without a ball being bowled after heavy rain ruined any chance of a competitive match. That led to the first ever ODI being played in lieu of the Test in an effort to recoup some of the lost revenue.
The match was agreed between officials of both countries without the players being consulted, and this angered many in the England camp. It was yet another arrow in the players' quiver in the build-up to the World Series Cricket (WSC) revolution in 1977-78. WSC is portrayed as an Australian uprising but that belies the fact that more than 50 players from many different countries were among the original signees.
In 1975 the third Test at Headingley between England and Australia was delicately poised after four days when it was abandoned because the pitch had been vandalised. This act of bastardry was a protest over the incarceration of convicted armed robber George Davis, with one of the vandals being his brother-in-law Peter Chappell. On the eve of the fourth Test of that series, at The Oval, Greg Chappell received a call from the unrelated Peter. In his very distinctive accent, Peter asked for match tickets and Greg said he'd leave them at the gate, "If you promise not to dig up the pitch at The Oval". Peter promised and the Test went ahead unhindered by vandals.
At the same ground in 2006 the fourth Test between England and Pakistan came to a premature end with much recrimination. Pakistan forfeited the match after refusing to take the field when the team was accused of ball-tampering and penalised five runs. Despite cricket employing more sheriffs than you'd find in the old American Wild West, the Pakistan captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, could not be coaxed into taking his team back onto the field. After a lengthy delay the match was awarded to England on a forfeit.
In a disgraceful attempt at compromise, the ICC subsequently declared the match a draw in 2008. However, integrity finally won out in 2009 when the decision was reversed at the behest of the MCC, who quite rightly claimed that to not uphold the laws set a dangerous precedent.
In the current disastrous climate, the suspension of the IPL could also produce a precedent. It may lead to the World T20 event, programmed for India later in the year, either being postponed or moved.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is a columnist