Tue, Aug 22, 2006 - Page 20 News List

ICC backs decision against Pakistan

AGENCIES , DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, AND KARACHI, PAKISTAN

Cricket players of a local Pakistani club chant slogans during a protest to condemn Australian umpire Darrell Hair's decision regarding ball tampering on Monday in Islamabad, Pakistan. Former cricket stars and newspapers in Pakistan slammed Hair's decision, with one going so far as to describe him as a ``mini Hitler.''

PHOTO: AP

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said yesterday it backed a decision to award England the fourth Test match after Pakistan initially refused to play on in the match. The ICC, which is world cricket's governing body, also said it would consider disciplinary action against Pakistan.

"Subsequent to the umpires' decision to award the match to England, a series of meetings took place to try and arrive at a situation that was in the best interests of the match and the game of cricket," said a statement issued by the Dubai-based council.

"Following these meetings the umpires decided that, having made the decision to award the match to England, to change that decision would not be in keeping with the Laws of Cricket. The ICC backs the decision of the umpires," it said.

For the first time in Test cricket history, the match at The Oval was declared forfeit and awarded to England on Sunday. Play had reached the tea interval on the fourth day, with one day left.

Pakistan had the advantage in the fourth Test, but England had already won the series 2-0, which now becomes 3-0.

Shaharyar Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), said yesterday that the board would not accept Australian umpire Darrell Hair for any matches.

"We are going to make it clear to the International Cricket Council that we are not going to play under the supervision of Hair in any future matches," Khan said.

Hair and fellow umpire Billy Doctrove awarded the fourth Test at the Oval on Sunday to England after Pakistan refused to return to the field after the umpires had imposed a five-run penalty against them for ball-tampering and changed the ball.

Shaharyar said that the Pakistan team, both boards and even the match referee had wanted to resume the Test, but Hair did not move from his view that under the law Pakistan had forfeited the game.

"Even the match referee, Mike Proctor, was keen that somehow the match should be held on the final day and that some flexibility was needed to be shown by the umpires. But Hair refused to listen to anyone," he said.

"We were also willing to give in writing that the umpires were entitled to change the ball and they didn't act outside the law. We accepted that," he added.

While stressing that the PCB did not have any axe to grind with Doctrove, who will supervise the first three of the five one-dayers, Shaharyar said the PCB in the past also indicated to the ICC that it was not happy with Hair's attitude.

Shaharyar said that Pakistan would send a letter of protest to the ICC over the umpires' verdict of ball-tampering and the subsequent forfeiture, even though Pakistan were prepared to continue.

"What happened on Sunday could have been avoided. There is no doubt that the law about ball tampering is very clear, but it is arbitrary and regrettable. The umpires didn't even bother to ask our players what had happened. We know for a fact that no ball tampering took place. Several times the ball hit the concrete when [Kevin] Pietersen was batting. The ball was in a condition one would expect a ball used for 56 overs to be," he said.

He also defended his team's action to not come out immediately after tea to register their protest.

"They didn't come out because they were wronged. The decision to change the ball was premeditated," he said.

Shaharyar also made it clear that the one-day series against England was not in any danger of not being played.

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