Tampering row threatens Pakistan's tour of England
by AFP

Ground:Kennington Oval, Kennington
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 22nd August 2006


Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer has warned the side could refuse to play in the upcoming one-day series against England if skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq receives a lengthy ban as a result of the tourists' controversial fourth Test forfeit here at The Oval.


"I would think that the one day tournament may be in jeopardy if he is found guilty and suspended for eight games," Woolmer said Monday.


"If the punishment was suspended then it might go ahead," the former England all-rounder also told Channel Four news.


"After what has happened the players are right behind their captain.


"I'm not a betting man but there will be more problems if he is found guilty," he added even though his side risked being fined in excess of one million pounds and a suspension from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for not taking part in scheduled fixtures.


Pakistan face England in a Twenty20 international on Monday at Bristol.


The first of five one-day internationals is then meant to take place at Cardiff on Wednesday.


Pakistan were stunned by the decision of the on-field umpires, led by Australia's Darrell Hair, to award five penalty runs to England because of ball-tampering on the fourth day of the fourth and final Test here Sunday.


So incensed were the tourists they twice refused to take the field after tea, with the umpires interpreting their action as a forfeiture of the match - the first in the 129-year-history of Test cricket - and a victory for England.


Ever since then Pakistan have been keen to stress their good relations with England and on Monday the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), Shaharyar Khan, said he wanted the tour to go ahead.


However, asked if a heavy punishment for Inzamam might change the situation, he replied: "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."


Under ICC rules the captain is held responsible for the conduct of his team.


That has led Inzamam to be charged with altering the condition of the ball and with bringing cricket into disrepute for his part in keeping the side in the dressing room when they should have been out in the middle.


If Inzamam is found guilty of ball-tampering he faces a fine of between 50 and 100 percent of his match fee and/or a one Test or two one-day international (ODI) ban.


And he faces a ban of between two and four Test matches or four to eight ODI matches if the disrepute charge goes against him.


The star batsman's punishments, if any, will be decided at a hearing in London on Friday chaired by chief ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle.


Woolmer said that the players had been on the point of going back onto the pitch after staging a mini protest following tea.


"We didn't know the game was being called off," said Woolmer, formerly in charge of South Africa.


"We were in discussions with Inzamam to persuade them to go back onto the field. It was too late by the time that they went back out as Darrell Hair had gone off."


Hair, 53, upset Pakistan with some contentious decisions during their 2-0 Test series win over England late last year.


"We at the PCB would not want to see Mr Darrell Hair appointed to any Pakistan match in the future," Shaharyar told a London news conference on Monday.


"We have had problems with Mr Hair, the team has lost confidence in him and they feel deeply offended by his attitude towards the Pakistan team."


He added Pakistan had worked hard to remove the stigma of previous ball-tampering allegations but Hair had "trained his guns at the team".


Shaharyar's comments were positively mild compared to those of former Pakistan captain Imran Khan.


The legendary all-rounder said: "Hair is one of those characters, when he wears the white umpire's coat, he metamorphoses into a mini Hitler."


Imran's comments led Pakistani students to go onto the streets in protest, torching photos of Hair while chanting: "You are a mini Hitler".


Inzamam meanwhile asked: "Why does everything happen against us from the end that Darrell Hair is umpiring?


"The pride of the nation has been hurt, we have been unfairly labelled as cheats."


Shaharyar, who insisted he'd be happy for the offending ball to be placed on public display, said Pakistan were compiling evidence to support their case that they've done nothing wrong.


"No-one has indicated any scuffing - any photographic or television view - and this matter has not been raised with us," Shaharyar, who added the whole issue of ball-tampering should be removed from the jurisdiction of the on-field umpires, said.


"We are gathering a great deal of evidence and will make it available to the ICC."

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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