Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pakistan captain charged in ball dispute

A slight diversion away from football on to cricket which has been ravaged lately by the alleged ball tampering incident which resulted in the match being concluded early and the Pakistan team forfeiting the match to England.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan cricket captain, has been charged with bringing the game into disrepute and changing the condition of the ball following his side’s forfeit of the final Test match against England at the Oval in London.

Inzamam will face a disciplinary hearing on Friday convened by the International Cricket Council, the sport’s worldwide governing body. If found guilty, he could face a suspension from future matches on the current tour and be docked his match fee.

At a news conference in London on Monday, Shaharyar Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, called for an independent inquiry into the affair and for a change in the rules for any team accused by an umpire of ball-tampering. He believed the lack of cricket on Monday was down to “miscommunication” between the umpires and his team.

“We feel the forfeit was avoidable if there had been a little bit of flexibility,” he said. “There was a miscommunication with the umpires, because once the protest had been made the team wanted to play and it was only a matter of half a minute.

“My team also deeply regret the way the ball-tampering issue was handled. We felt it was a slur on the reputation of the Pakistan team. There should definitely be a change in protocol because it is highly inflammatory for an umpire to state a team has been cheating.”

Where does cricket go from here? In the immediate future a question must hang over the upcoming one day series due to start shortly.


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