|Ground:||Kennington Oval, Kennington|
|Scorecard:||England v Pakistan|
|Event:||Pakistan in British Isles 2006|
DateLine: 23rd August 2006
Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq's disciplinary hearing to answer charges of ball-tampering and bringing cricket into disrepute following his side's forfeiture of the fourth Test against England at The Oval, could be delayed, the BBC reported Wednesday.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has scheduled the hearing, to be conducted by chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle, for Friday in London.
But BBC Radio Four's Today programme said the hearing could now be postponed while Sri Lanka's Madugalle deals with a family illness.
They quoted an official as saying: "Friday's hearing is not going to happen and I will be very surprised if it takes place on Saturday or Sunday."
A delay would strengthen the chances of Monday's Twenty20 international between England and Pakistan in Bristol going head as scheduled.
There had been fears Pakistan could boycott the match and the subsequent five-game one-day series if Inzamam, who could be banned for one Test and/or two one-day internationals on the ball-tampering charge and two to four Tests or four to eight one-dayers on the disrepute charge, was found guilty.
It is estimated that the cost of a cancelled one-day series to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) would be 10 million pounds.
As captain, Inzamam is deemed responsible for the actions of his team which remained in the dressing room Sunday in protest at the action of Australian umpire Darrell Hair and West Indian colleague Billy Doctrove in changing the ball, which the tourists regarded as tantamount to saying they were cheating.
Pakistan have brought in London-based sports lawyer Mark Gay to help with Inzamam's defence and Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Shaharyar Khan said:"
"We are determined to defend these charges vigorously and we wanted to make sure that we have the best possible representation."
Meanwhile former England all-rounder Ian Botham called for clarity from both the ICC and the ECB following the first forfeited match in the 129-year-history of Test cricket.
The ex-England captain believes there is insufficient evidence to suggest Pakistan tampered with the ball.
"Inzamam-ul-Haq has been left to carry the can for the 'offence' when there has been no conclusive evidence of malpractice," Botham wrote Wednesday in his column in Britain's Daily Mirror newspaper.
"I agree with the Pakistanis: show us the ball, show us where it has been scuffed, show us the proof someone was tampering with it."
England had been seen as bystanders in the row until it emerged Tuesday that coach Duncan Fletcher had visited the room of match referee Mike Procter before Sunday's play, prompting suspicions the hosts may have complained about Pakistan's conduct.
The England and Wales Cricket Board issued several statements about whether Fletcher had met with Procter and, if so, what, if anything, had been discussed, although the one constant was that there had been no complaint about ball-tampering.
"Spin doctors at the England and Wales Cricket Board have given us at least three different versions - but none of them include the motive for England coach Fletcher seeking an audience with Procter," said Botham.
"So let's have no more pussyfooting about, no more hoodwinking the public, no more cloak-and-dagger stuff."
Pakistan were due to hold a practice session at Lord's on Wednesday, ahead of their warm-up match Thursday against Middlesex at Uxbridge, west London.
(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)
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