Monday, August 21, 2006

# Posted 6:54 AM by Patrick Belton  

PAKISTAN HAVE A BAD HAIR DAY: At the Oval, controversial Aussie umpire Darrell Hair rules the Pakistan side roughed up the ball during their England tour's fourth and final test; and when the tourists in protest delay taking the field after tea, he declares them to have forfeited. Australia and Pakistan circle closer to the brink of war; Hair is now the subject of a jihad. A shame really, halting play: Mohammad Yousuf had just reached his second century of the test, and England were perhaps starting to wake up slightly.

Simon Barnes comments:
[C]ricket has carried its heavyweight moral baggage since it was regarded as essential to forming the moral characters of potential Empire-builders. That is why, when the line is crossed from cleaning and polishing the ball to picking of the seam, raising the quarter-seam and roughing up the ball, the offence is regarded as destructive not just of cricket balls but of cricket — and by extension, of morality itself. From there, it is but a short step to say that: well, the Pakistanis have never had any regard for morality. This is a particularly bad time in the context of the great world outside sport to be implying such a thing. No wonder, then, that deep offence has been taken.
UPDATE: Alternative title: 'The Umpire Strikes Back.'
(11) opinions -- Add your opinion

Belton gets it right. c.f. Fowler, Dictionary of Modern English Usage, 2nd ed., p. 403.
Hopefully, it will all blow over - hair one day, gone the next?

Still, one can't help but empathise with the Pak side, if only for not having any appeal over an umpire whose whole career has been dogged by accusations of coming down too hard on the subcontinentals.

I do hope Pakistan stay for the one-dayers. If for no other reason than I've got a ticket!
Ooh, it escalates - Pak captain Inzamam-ul-Haq is being called before the ICC to answer for bringing the game into disrepute (along with altering the condition of the ball, but that's a more piffling charge). Trivia: it's the first Test match to be decided by forfeit in 129 years. (Though there was a strain of thought that the SCG walk-off in 1971 constituted a forfeit in the Ashes.) (And anorakish question, because there's still a little coffee in my cup - test cricket is only 129 years old, so was there a bona fide forfeit in 1877?)
Fowler 2nd ed., page *402* says that nouns of multitude are plural or singular 'at discretion.' However, since it is clear that you get your marching orders from the Whitehouse, here is an example from your fearless leader:

"Pakistan is a key ally in the war on terror."
The difference, anonymous 2, is that your example refers to the Pakistani state as a single entity, whereas Belton's sentence refers to the country's cricket team - a genuine noun of multitude.

Good job quoting the fearless leader out of context, though. That's never been done before.
Aha, I think here we just have a difference between US and Commonwealth English. c.f., Pakistan are having another lovey-dovey huddle (a.k.a.), or England are now 50-1 on to win (here). Not really endlessly interesting, as something to debate.

How does Belton seem to get his marching orders from the White House? Not really how I've read him, he seems more independent than that. Anyway he doesn't even use U.S. English!
The best that I can tell from PB's bio is that he's an American of Irish descent studying at Oxford.

However, Arvind makes a good point, and he deciphers Fowler's rule correctly. I wouldn't write it that way, but Belton is not wrong.
He seems multinational. Maybe he's Wal-Mart.
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