Muhammad Asif Khan
KARACHI: The International Cricket Council (ICC) is striving to establish an environment where the game of cricket could be played with the highest possible accuracy and introduction of the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) is indeed amongst the endeavours to achieve that particular goal, however, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif believes that a ‘half-baked’ UDRS is far more dangerous than fixing. “With the current state the DRS, the actual purpose is not being served. The ICC should have launched it [DRS] after a methodical review to make it as error free as possible, let’s say 99% ”, said Rashid Latif while talking to this correspondent for News One TV.
“Initially the DRS was implemented with state-of-the-art equipments by the ICC along with the broadcasters of England and Australia, however later the quality, especially of the Hawk-eye and the hot-spot, plunged due to the heavy cost attached to procedure”, said Latif.
Latif feared that unless the flaws aren’t rectified the DRS system would keep on damaging the game rather than serving it. “Since the faulty DRS is in control of the umpires and the ICC, hence I consider it far more dangerous then the menace of fixing”, said Latif who is regarded as the whistle-blower against the match fixing in the 90s.
On a question, Latif criticised the ICC for ‘unnecessarily’ trying to justify the ‘umpiring blunders’ in the first Ashes test. “Australia would have won however sub-standard umpiring decisions let them down. If the technology doesn’t restrict blunders then what is the purpose of having it?”, asked Latif
Rashid Latif is of the opinion that the ICC should stop using the DRS system unless it becomes almost error-free. He said a few sports bodies around the world did the same before introducing relevant technologies. “World bodies governing Tennis and Football took their time before the implementation of the goal-line technology. The ICC should also halt the use of the DRS for a while, and re-launch it with utmost precision later”, added Latif
The former glove-man also touched upon the latest spot-fixing cases and categorically rebuffed a reported bid to cut down on the sentence of banned Pakistani fast bowler Muhammad Amir. “The PCB is trying to help Amir and the ECB is doing the same for Westfield. On top of all the ICC has supported both the boards by forming a sub-committee to look into the matter. I can’t buy that, in fact this is a negation of their own anti-corruption laws”, mentioned Latif.
“If the ICC believes in zero-tolerance, as they showed in Kaneria’s case by implementing the ECB decision world-wide, then I have a confusion why the same approach is missing when it comes to the Malik Qayyum commission report”, asked Latif.
“Mushtaq Ahmed, Inzamam, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Saeed Anwar, Akram Raza etc were fined by the Qayyum commission, but what did the ICC do with them?”, asked Latif in his concluding remarks.
In the late 90s, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had set up an inquiry commission under Justice Malik Qayyum to probe into allegations regarding betting and match-fixing against Pakistan players. In the end of that inquiry, Salim Malik and Atta-ur-Rehman were banned for life, while a few others were fined. The commission also recommended a few measures to the PCB, which included regular assessment of players’ assets, keeping vigilance on some players etc.