Sunday, February 28, 2010

Playing dirty

Dear spectator,


*takes deep breath to calm self*

Okay, first things first. At least the basics for some of the bewdas who're wondering why I'm so mad at YOU. Just five months ago, celebrations were on at the bar as the Singapore cricket team made it to Division 5 in the World Cup League. The World Cup League (WCL) is a system that allows ANY team in the world to have a realistic chance to play in the World Cup some day, alongside the usual World Cup giants like Australia and India. Even a team like Singapore that has managed to keep the game alive in a tiny island-nation where cricket is not big, has a chance to play the big game if they do well in the WCL matches.

Here's how the WCL works. Six countries play one another at each division. The top two move to the next higher division, the middle two stay in the same division and the bottom two move to a lower division. If you keep progressing from division to division, you eventually play the World Cup. In September 2009, Singapore moved from Division 6 to Division 5, one step closer to the ultimate dream of playing in the 2015 World Cup.

The next step for Singapore was the recently concluded Division 5 tournament in Nepal. USA, Nepal and Singapore were neck to neck until the Friday of 26 February which had two critical matches - Singapore vs. Jersey, and Nepal vs. USA. Singapore stormed past Jersey and based on net run rate, they were through to at least second position in the league, no matter who won the Nepal-USA match. There was really nothing stopping them from playing Division 4 in Italy in August. Celebrations had already started when you, yes, YOU, decided to step in and show a passion of the very wrong kind -- the kind that I hope is not repeated in any game ever.

Nepal was about to get beaten by USA (and demoted to 3rd place), when YOU, in a fit of anger, or frustration, or perhaps simply shrewd calculations, decided that you had the power to change fate. Unfortunately for Singapore, it was true -- you did have the power. And what a display of power it was. You started off by flinging stones -- no, rocks -- at the Nepal fielders, and then thousands of you went berserk and broke into a riot. Even the riot police firing tear gas did not deter you from your task. The match had to be stopped. It was resumed after you decided to back off, and Duckworth-Lewis reduced the overs to 46, upsetting the very delicate balance of net run rates between the three teams. The reduction of only 6 runs from Nepal's total gave their run rate a sudden boost, carrying it above Singapore by as little as -- get this -- 0.004! USA and Nepal made if through to Division 4, and Singapore now has to wait till 2012 to play in the next Division 5 tournament.

There, you see how powerful YOU are? Singapore, which was neither of the teams playing the match you disrupted, had to take the brunt of YOUR misbehaviour.

This is not the first time I have read of crowd misbehaviour interrupting a match and felt outraged. But this is indeed, the first time I am reading of crowd misbehaviour in a match between two teams, where it's a third team that suffers for no fault of theirs.

Official media releases played down the role of the riot in determining the outcome of the match. Of course, Singapore protested, and so did the world cricketing community, but the outcome will not change, will it? Nepal is already celebrating their promotion, while an aghast Singapore team looks on at the ICC, after their celebrations came to an abrupt end. ICC has some serious questions to answer too.

I quote from

"The World Cricket League Division 5 match in Kathmandu between Nepal and USA today was halted for 45 minutes when serious rioting broke out in the crowd as Nepal was about to be defeated by USA and thus miss out on promotion to Division 4 on nett run rate behind the USA and Singapore.

ICC officials decided to restart the match and, at the same time, reduce the match to a 46 over match. The effect of that reduction was to inflict a gross injustice on Singapore who, no matter what the result of the match between Nepal and USA, was previously destined for at least second place in the table. However, the reduction of just 6 runs in the Nepal total meant that their run rate got a sudden but significant boost which carried it just above that of Singapore.

The question that needs to be answered publically by ICC is why Nepal was allowed to gain so palpably from the actions of its own crowd and thus rob Singapore of its rightful place in Division 4. As things stand, the whole competition appears to have been brought into disrepute by today's sad events and the validity of its outcome is open to serious question."

And from Rod Lyall (Netherlands Editor at CricketEurope) in his article titled 'A redeemable disgrace':

"I believe that it is imperative, if the authority of the ICC and the legitimacy of its World Cricket League are to be restored, that Nepal be stripped of their Division 5 title, since they should never have been permitted to play in the final; it is an open question whether they should merely have two points deducted or should be relegated to Division 6; and Nepal should in any case be banned from hosting any ICC global or regional event for a significant period, such as three years.

Only by acting in this way can a clear message be sent that such appalling disorder will not be permitted to disrupt a competition and falsify its outcome. Anything less will bring profound discredit upon the head of the ICC."

Blood, sweat and tears go into fulfilling a dream, they say. I have seen the Singapore team put in the blood and sweat, and now I have seen the tears too. The tears of a broken dream. Now they have to wait another two years before they get a final shot at making it to the 2015 World Cup. Do you realise how far away it is? Who knows where these guys will be then? For them, this was their chance to live their dream, and in spite of their best efforts, YOU, ruined it for them. Just because YOU were frustrated with your team's performance. Just because YOU decided to use your power in the lowest way possible.

You forgot your role. You, as a spectator, are there to cheer for your team. Yes, you can change the outcome of a match, but with your support, not your stones. If you want such direct involvement in the match and its outcome, get into the team. As a player, not a rowdy miscreant. All you did was bought the ticket and walked in. The players have been training hard for years for this. Who do you think should have the power to decide the outcome of the match -- their performance or YOUR frustration? You are probably grinning at the fact that you got rewarded for bad behaviour and actually took your team to victory, but I am sure that deep down you know. That you have not only brought shame to your own team, you have also brought shame to the game, to the spirit of spectatorship. You have set a dangerous precedent, and I just hope it is never repeated.

My post is not only addressed to the rioters in Nepal, it is to all spectators who get so caught up in passion, they forget the negative consequences their actions can have on those who truly deserve to forge ahead.


Arun said...

New height to unfair play!

Tejal said...

(what? he hasnt claimed it ok!)

Sheesh. Its a shame. Seriously. Sheesh.

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...


Loks like a serious post? Can i claim medals or not??

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...

What?? How can the ICC do that? Sounds stupidly ridiculous!!! Can the S'pore team not appeal or contest or do something? Doesnt this send a wrong message?

Anonymous said...


what kind of idiots run the ICC, that they can't see the impact of their decision?!


Urs....Jina said...

Wow..Thats seriously unfair and Im still in shock that they allowed that to happen.
I wonder whether it would have happened the same way if it was with the big teams. So is it final??Arent they going to make any change??


Sayesha --- if it had happened to some big country now an independent panel would have setup and matter would have been resolved in right way (All the data's would have been provided to him like happened to sydney Fiasco)-------------------

very serious Post Bhai...

I need one jokes post when you gonna fulfill Tungath wish .... I asked you long back in for your kind of jokes sooner please :(

Dil se said...

I can sense your anger and frustration in every line of the post. Just because some ppl decided to display their emotions in a more expressive way, caused a ripple effect. You are right, peopleought to be responsible for their actions and act in a more responsible way.

nidhi said...

This is ridiculously stupid behaviour on the part of ICC. Is there ANYTHING we can do to make ICC see the folly of their decision? any forums where voicing our opinion might help or any other way out? Really wanna see ICC rollback their decision :(

Love said...

too bad for the S'pore team... they could've made some noise and contested the decision?

i'm glad i don't follow cricket to participate in the cumulative heartburn :)

but i do feel bad for the guys...

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

That's very sad. I hope the ICC reviews this decision; it's just so unfair.

~ Lopa said...

Ohh that's sad.

Viv also must be feeling same way, i guess this post is even reflection of his feelings as well !

Sayesha said...

Yep. :(


Well, they did it and got away with it. We have appealed and will continue appealing, but the next step for Nepal is in August so if this is not resolved by then... :(

Can't agree more.

//I wonder whether it would have happened the same way if it was with the big teams.

Exactly. If this happens in the World Cup, what will these dhakkans do?

It's been sad here at the bar this week... :(

#Dil se,
Yeah, hope this never happens again!

ICC has been trying to play it down all this while. Singapore has lodged a complaint, but we don't know what will happen...

They made all the noise they could, but when it's a tiny island measuring 47 km in length, who's gonna listen? :(

#The Soul od Alec Smart,
I hope so too man...

Yeah, we have both been quite outraged at this.

Arun said...

...when it's a tiny island measuring 47 km in length,

It is not the size, it is the money they can bring to the game that is important to ICC. To us, cricket is a game, to ICC it is a business.

Sayesha said...

Sadly, it will be a looong loooong time before Singapore cricket can make money...

Nandini said...

This is really bad. I just read a few articles to understand the issue. At the very low level, the issue is this: why does D/L change the run rate of the team that has already batted? This is even immaterial to the disruption: if rain had happened, Nepal would have got in, and even that is unfair. Of course, the team needs to be penalized if their own crowd disrupts the match, but this issue is more bothersome than that. I hear that ICC is reconsidering the appeal ( so good luck with that. - saurabh

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Stupidosaur said...

damn! this is bad!

Conspiracy theory: This was the exact idea behind starting the riot?

Stupidosaur said...

A previous company sort wasted 3 yrs of my career. So I have decided to live 3 years extra to compensate. Viv ko bhi aisa hi kuchh karna padega. 2 yrs extra.