The moon landings faked, Lady Di offed by Prince Philip the 12-foot Lizard, 9/11 as an inside job... now add Graeme Smith given not out caught behind off Ryan Sidebottom at the Wanderers, 15 January 2010. Remember where you were when it happened.
TMS were first with the information that Daryl Harper, the third umpire, was not given the sound feed by host broadcasters SABC, and thus failed to hear what the rest of the world was hearing via many replays - the beefy nick from the beefy edge of the beefy Saffer skipper's bat.
Boycott was on air at the time and was instantly engaging, pointing out that most systems take time to settle, and that the ICC's Dave Richardson had done a good job in progressing the UDRS from its shambolic beginnings. He added too, that its advance is as inevitable as its mistakes.
All is true, but equally, like the slightly shifty enquiries so beloved of the Brown Government, the reliance on broadcasters for the decision-making equipment does open a gap in which conspiracies, however unlikely, can prosper. Long before the UDRS, when technology was just a TV toy, there were whispers that producers were adjusting pitch maps inwards when home sides were facing leg before shouts.
It's a point made here several times - the game must provide and pay for the equipment. And if an umpire like Harper is told the sound feed or anything else isn't available, he should be able to ask why not.
Smith got away with one, as players have been doing since the dawn of the game. But somehow the injustice is compounded when a player gets away with it twice. Buy a lotto ticket this weekend, Graeme, because your luck's in...
NB: Boycott is on rambunctious form at the moment. As well as his duties for TMS, he occasionally provides a pre-play report for the breakfast show on Radio Five Live, where he's generally interrogated by Sheila Fogerty. There were some hair-raising moments when he started, usually due to his dismissive references to Fogerty as 'luv'. But lately they've become quite a double act, to the point that this morning Fogerty felt emboldened enough to ask Geoffrey if the rumour they'd just heard that he has 'Sir Geoffrey Boycott' printed on his cheques was true. 'Oo told you that?' The great man asked. 'A South African journalist did...? he must be a double agent...'
Update from the Grassy Knoll: 'Just hearing that third umpire Daryl Harper had his volume dial set on four out of 10 when Smith's caught behind appeal was referred to him this morning. This just gets more ludicrous by the hour. Expect statements from the South African Broadcasting Corporation and the International Cricket Council in an attempt to mollify this debacle' [BBC, thanks to Brit for the spot...]
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