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Chris Broad Must Go


By Anil
April 15 2005

Chris Broad, the controversial cricketer turned ICC Match referee, is pursuing a dangerous crusade against Asian cricketers. This article examines his bizarre record as match official. On November 27, 1987, England's opening batsman Chris Broad was causing an ugly scene in the middle of Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan.

Broad had just been given out, caught behind off Pakistani spinner Iqbal Qasim. But he refused to budge from the crease, contending that he had not edged the ball. He stood his ground, arguing with umpire and bowler, until being finally dragged off the pitch by captain Mike Gatting. Broad's dislike for Asians had just gone up a notch.

That ill-tempered tour by England, perhaps the most disreputable ever in cricket, had also witnessed a disgraceful shouting match on field between Gatting and Pakistani umpire Shakoor Rana, during which the England captain was heard repeating, "One rule for one, one for another," after an appeal for a catch was turned down. Broad must have decided at that time that he would turn those rules around if he ever got the chance.

Broad's misbehavior did not stop there. On Jan 30, 1988, in the Sydney Cricket Ground, Broad was bowled by Aussie part-timer Steve Waugh. With typical gracelessness befitting his churlish image, he smashed his bat into stumps in a fit of rage.

Later that same year, struck in front of stumps and given LBW for duck to legendary fast bowler Malcolm Marshall in Lord's, he mouthed off at the umpire for a decision he was clearly unhappy with, before dragging his feet back to the pavilion.

The English selectors had seen enough. Obnoxious Broad was summarily axed from the team, and his career ended soon afterward.

Match Referee

In December 2003, the ICC made an announcement that shocked cricket fans. The notorious rule-breaker Chris Broad had been appointed ICC match referee, and would start officiating in Pakistan's tour of New Zealand.

Since then, in less than one and a half years, Broad has been referee in 5 series comprising 12 Tests and 34 ODIs, officiating in matches involving every side other than his native England: New Zealand, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Australia, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, West Indies, and Pakistan.

During this short time, he has racked up a litany of charges against players from every major Asian cricket-playing country.

Australia tour of Sri Lanka

On March 26, 2004, the Sri Lankan team found that Chris Broad, refereeing in his second series, wasn't the most impartial judge in town. Justin Langer and other surrounding fielders had appealed loudly for hit-wicket against Tillakaratne. Camera footage had fortuitously caught what really happened: Langer had, ever so unobtrusively, disloged the bail with his hand whilst running over after the ball.

Coming soon after another ICC referee, Mike Proctor, had ended the career of Pakistan captain Rashid Latif with a 5-match ban for unfair play after Latif had claimed a catch off what appeared to be a bump ball, it looked like an open-and-shut case to ban Langer for some substantial number of matches.

But not according to Chris Broad, who unbelievably cleared Langer of all charges after the Australian claimed that it "was not intentional". Broad later explained to a dumbfounded Lankan media, "Justin was disappointed that the charge was brought and explained his position in a very honest and succinct way. He was, however, reminded that in future to steer clear of any instances such as this."

And that wasn't bad enough, it was just the beginning.

Two days later, Broad announced that he was reporting Sri Lanka's legendary spinner Muttiah Muralitharan for chucking. Murali, the most successful bowler in Test history, had already been cleared after numerous tests by Aussie experts, and the referee decided to take on the test results. Cricketing fraternity in Lanka was outraged by Broad's unilateral decision to report him, despite the fact that ICC required a report from umpires before the referee could act against a player, which they had not given him.

Broad, during his stint as a radio commentator when England toured Sri Lanka in November 2003, had openly criticised Muralitharan's action, which made it apparent to the Lankans that he was targetting the Lankan great with referee hat on.

Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Lankan skipper who had led the Lanka team from the field in Australia after an Aussie umpire no-balled Murali, made it clear that he believed Broad's report was motivated by racial considerations.

Arjuna said that Broad was not only out of order in acting unilaterally at such a crucial juncture in Muralitharan's career, but also out of his depth: "The ICC should appoint those who are experienced and have an impeccable record in such positions. What experience does Broad have? Look at his background. His actions are a huge let-down to the ICC's reputation."

Broad was also reported to the ICC by the Sri Lanka Cricket Board for "boozing" with Australian cricketers in a Colombo bar during the series, which SLC pointed out was gross misconduct in breach of ICC rules.

Thus was the infamy of Chris Broad born. Murali was persecuted for a long while before more tests proved that his action was within legal limits.

Harbhajan and Other Asian bowlers

Chris Broad has reported Asian bowlers for throwing an astonishing 5 times in his short 1+ year as referee.

Most outrageous of these have been his dealings with Harbhajan Singh, the ace Indian offie considered by many to be among the 3 best spinners in the world after Murali and Shane Warne.

Broad reported Harbhajan Singh for a suspect action in December 2004, during India's tour of Bangladesh. This was after Harbhajan had already undergone corrective procedures in England and had been cleared.

Harbhajan was sent back to ICC bowling analysis experts in Australia, who quickly cleared him based on the ICC's 15% allowable bend law.

No sooner had Harbhajan made a return to Test cricket against Pakistan, with ICC once again sending the dreaded Broad as referee, did Broad report him yet again in March this year, despite results of tests conducted only a few weeks earlier, baffling and outraging most cricket followers in the subcontinent.

The obnoxious Englishman, now disliked with a passion rivalling Mike Deness, was by now widely suspected of bias against Asians, often despite ICC laws rather than because of them.

Last year, Broad also reported Pakistani spinner Mohammad Hafeez and during the Pakistan tour of Australia, and Pakistani paceman Shabbir Ahmed during Pakistan tour of New Zealand, thus achieving in one short year chucking bans on bowlers in all the major subcontinental teams.

For an official with a reputation of reporting bowlers for suspect action, it is thus highly suspicious that Broad has chosen not to report Brett Lee, the Australian fast bowler widely suspected of chucking, among others by Aussie Dennis Lillee. Nor even New Zealand paceman Kyle Mills, who is acknowledged as a chucker amongst most Kiwi cricket followers. Broad has overseen several matches involving both of the above players.

Penalties

Chris Broad has demonstrated that he does not limit his bizarre crusade only to suspect actions.

In his short tenure, he has handed out a huge number of fines and bans, the vast majority of them against Asian cricketers, although he has officiated in matches involving every country other than England (which he is not allowed to officiate).

His strike rate for penalties is by far the highest amongst all match referees, handing out punishments in almost 50% of the matches he has officiated.

Of these, he has punished Pakistani captain Inzamam-ul-Haq an amazing four times in the first four months of 2005, including 100% fines and a Test ban.

Broad also levied harsh fines on Shoaib Akhtar and Lakshmipathy Balaji for "excessive appealing". Needless to say, he has never found an Aussie bowler guilty of this offense, despite the fact that they are well known to be among the most over-the-top appealers.

He handed out a 70% fine to Indian captain Sourav Ganguly for a slow over rate in 40+ degree temperatures.

All of the above have come in the short cricket season so far in 2005 -- it's still only mid-April.

Broad's crowning achievement

Chris Broad's proudest moment, however, came when he banned skipper Ganguly last week for a world-record 6 matches, for the minor offense of a slightly slow over rate in unbearable 40+ degree conditions when players were cramping throughout the day during an ODI in Ahmedabad.

This, after England captain Michael Vaughan was fined a paltry 10% for being fully 5 overs behind in an ODI against SA in February this year, the second time within 20 days when he was found running behind, shortly after a 50% fine for being another 5 overs short of target in late January against the same opponents.

After Darren Lehmann was banned for a total 5 matches after shouting racial epithets against Sri Lankan players after being dismissed.

Someone needs to tell the ICC that outright racism is not better than being a couple of overs behind in extremely hot conditions.

Someone also needs to point out to them that Chris Broad's crusade against Asian players is well documented on their own web site.

This much is obvious: the ICC, by appointing Broad to matches involving India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, is deliberatly sweeping aside evidence that shows this loose cannon needs to be reined in, even rubbing it in by repeatedly forcing him on the subcontinental nations.

Last month, ICC announced that they have renewed Broad's tenure as match referee for another two years.

It is absolutely critical to cricket that Chris Broad be removed from ICC's panel of referees immediately, as Mike Deness was before him.

Any other course would divide the cricket-playing countries even more deeply than they already are.



Chris Broad actions as referee in 2005

Jan 16, 2005: Shoaib Akhtar, Australia v Pakistan, ODI
Excessive appealing. Fined 25% of match fee and warned about future conduct.
Referee: Chris Broad

Feb 1, 2005: Inzamam-ul-Haq, Pakistan v West Indies, ODI
Fined 100% of match fee and given a final warning about slow decision making and general slow over rate.
Referee: Chris Broad

Mar 8, 2005: Lakshmipathy Balaji, India v Pakistan, Test
Excessive appealing, Fined 30% of match fee.
Referee: Chris Broad

Mar 21, 2005: Harbhajan Singh, India v Pakistan, Test
Reported again for suspect bowling action, after tests due to his earlier report against him 3 months earlier.
Referee: Chris Broad

Mar 24, 2005: Inzamam-ul-Haq, India v Pakistan, Test
Showing dissent at an umpire’s decision by action or verbal abuse. Fined 30% of match fee.
Referee: Chris Broad

Mar 28, 2005: Inzamam-ul-Haq, India v Pakistan, Test
Charging or advancing towards the umpire in an aggressive manner when appealing. Banned for 1 Test match.
Referee: Chris Broad

Apr 5, 2005: Inzamam-ul-Haq, India v Pakistan, ODI
Abuse of cricket equipment or clothing, ground equipment or fixtures and fittings. Official Reprimand.
Referee: Chris Broad

April 9, 2005: Sourav Ganguly, India v Pakistan, ODI
Bowled overs too slowly. Fined 70% of match fee
Referee: Chris Broad

April 12, 2005: Sourav Ganguly, India v Pakistan, ODI
Bowled overs too slowly. Banned for 6 ODIs.
Referee: Chris Broad



Related Links:

Chris Broad reported to ICC for boozing with Aussie players
Time for Board to back Bhajji
ICC 2005 penalties

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