It appears Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, chief purveyor of propaganda for the Taliban regime is not the only one working to ensure the current fight against terrorism and the resulting worldwide fears of Islamic retribution remains prominent to the world's media. Former test umpire Dickie Bird and ex-England test batsman Allan Lamb, are doing their bit for the cause also.
Recently the England and Wales Cricket Board was forced to make a decision as to whether the scheduled tour of India would go ahead as planned due to the fear of terrorist attacks taking place against the England team on their proposed visit to the sub-continent. After much debate by the ECB and the ever present threat of having to pay compensation to India according to the new ICC rules for fixture breakers, in the event a scheduled tour is cancelled, the ECB recently announced its decision to go ahead with the scheduled visit, however, individual players would be permitted to make their own choice whether to tour or not.
Subsequently, both Andy Caddick and Robert Croft after consulting their respective families, have decided they will not travel to India and have decided for the first time in their careers, to put their families first. As a result of the decision, both Dickie Bird and Allan Lamb went on the attack against their decision in a recent interview with the Daily Mail newspaper. Lamb stated "They have been offered good security and in those circumstances , you should go and fight for your country" he further stated "their is no turmoil in India now, so they should not have to worry". Dickie Bird was quoted as stating "It is a great honour to play for your country and if I was in their shoes, I would go without a shadow of a doubt."
There is no doubt these comments can be seen to be casting aspertions on the decisions of both Caddick and Croft to pull out of the tour and also lead to further criticism of the player's decisions by sections of the world media, who have been none to slow to provide coverage of the recent concerns of the ECB regarding the tour to India. The players who have decided not to tour met no criticism or condemnation from the ECB or team-mates, yet have been subject to adverse comments, criticism and negative publicity from both ex-players and the media alike. What right do these people have to judge the decisions made by both Caddick and Croft with the assistance of their families? None! Why is it, that two players who have given their all for their countries and for once, decide to put the importance of family first, now have to defend their decisions?
Comments such as those made by both Bird and Lamb do more damage than good, especially when the current war against terrorism is using propaganda to enlist sympathetic support for the cause of Islam. Are Dickie Bird and Allan Lamb trying to tell us they know more than the world's intelligence agencies who are are warning us daily of imminent attacks against all allies, be it civilian or military who support the United States in their efforts to wipe out the scourge of terror. Can they guarantee the safety of players on tour? The simple answer to this is, no! What would they say to the families if because of the current criticism, these players were to reverse their decisions, tour India and suffer either death or injury from a terrorist incident. There's not much they could say is there!
Although both Bird and Lamb have somewhat of a reputation for opening their mouths whenever the media is seeking comment on a cricket issue, this is one issue they should be keeping their noses right out of. Further, it is time the media learnt not to consult "old has beens" about current issues in "modern day" cricket. The careers of both Lamb and Bird ended log ago, their views of cricket and how players conduct their affairs, are out of touch in the modern era. Someone needs to tell Bird that players get paid more than a shilling a match nowadays and are allowed to think for themselves.
It was a brave decision by both Croft and Caddick, one which should be respected by all interested parties. This is a mainly democratic world, one in which we fight for the right to choose how or when we do something and not be forced to formulate a decision based upon popular opinion.
Find out what the members of the Abc of Cricket Message Forum had to say about this issue. Saviour has been very vocal, is he right in what he says?