The hearing on the ball tampering issue was scheduled for Fri. But suddenly it was postponed because Madugalle had some personal issues to take care off! This is a master stroke by the ICC that can put even the greatest politicians to shame. Moving the date achieves a number of things.
1. It lets things cool down.
2. It ensures that Pak does not back out of the ODIs and hence helps the English board with the match collections.
3. Pak can’t afford to insist on the hearing before the ODIs. If they did they would be in deep trouble for refusing to play an already planned ODI series. As a follow up to the forfeiture this makes Pak look really bad.
4. Madugalle is such mild mannered guy that even if he returns a month later he isn’t the type who will make any drastic calls. The official incharge remains an easy going guy.
5. ICC comes out completely on top. The hearing will in all likelihood have no impact on the umpires. Inzy will probably endup with a reduced sentence. The matter will be forgotten for the most part after the ODI series.
While the ICC strategy is very clear, one can’t help but ask:
1. Didn’t the ICC know about Madugalle’s unavailability when it scheduled the hearing for Fri?
2. Why is Madugalle the only official who can oversee the hearing especially when he was not even around when it happened? If not being around is a plus why not bring in a “special prosecuter” of sorts!
3. Given the gravity of the issue can’t they assign a special official to oversee the hearing?
4. A team that has been accused of ball tampering could do the same in the ODIs. So why would you not settle the issue before letting the same team play again?
5. Inzy is obviously denying any charges of ball tampering. Considering that the umpire actually granted the penalty runs, it does imply that the team was guilty. How can a team that has been accused of a ball tampering be allowed to continue to play at the international level?
6. The Pak camp has welcomed the extension since it supposedly gives them more time to plan their legal strategy. While this might be true, what happened to Pakistani pride, the insult on the team’s integrity, the flagrant affront on its people etc. etc.