Inzamam-ul-Haq arrives for Oval hearing
by AFP

Ground:Kennington Oval, Kennington
Scorecard:England v Pakistan
Player:DB Hair, Inzamam-ul-Haq
Event:Pakistan in British Isles 2006

DateLine: 27th September 2006


Inzamam-ul-Haq arrived at The Oval here Wednesday for the start of a hearing where the Pakistan captain will answer disciplinary charges arising from his role in the team's unprecdented forfeit of the fourth Test against England at the south London ground last month.


Inzamam has been accused of ball-tampering, as captain, and bringing cricket into disrepute after Pakistan refused to take the field after tea on the fourth day of the fourth Test against England on August 20.


They did so in protest at the decision of umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove to penalise them five runs for ball-tampering earlier in the day.


The 36-year-old Inzamam, who was accompanied by Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, drove through a crowd of television crews and reporters as he made his way in at 9am local time (0800GMT) via the Alec Stewart gate.


International Cricket Council (ICC) senior match referee Ranjan Madugalle, who is chairing the hearing, scheduled for two days, arrived at 8.30am (0730GMT).


He was followed 15 minutes later when Doctrove got out of a taxi with match referee Mike Procter and Doug Cowie, the ICC's umpires' manager.


Australian official Hair, blamed by Pakistan for his handling of the situation, arrived shortly after Inzamam when he walked through the gates.


When asked for his views, he replied: "No comment - good to see you all."


Madugalle has a maximum of 24 hours after the end of the hearing, which is closed to the public, to give his verdict. A decision should, therefore, be announced Friday local time at the latest.


Pakistan's refusal to take the field meant they forfeited the match - the first time this had happened in 129 years of Test cricket - and England were awarded a win which gave them the series 3-0.


Inzamam made no comment as he entered The Oval.


But in Wednesday's edition of the Guardian newspaper he spoke of the "respect" his team's stance had earned with cricket followers back home.


"By God's mercy, I received a lot of public support. It's a very good thing that the stand we took was appreciated by the Pakistani people. Respect is the main thing - it's the first thing that matters.


"Definitely, I did feel some pressure. But inside I resolved that I had done nothing wrong and was satisfied with my actions. That's what helped me.


Meanwhile former Pakistan captain Imran Khan added: "There's been a lot of hurt caused by Darrell Hair calling the team cheats.


"If they (the Pakistan team) want to redeem their honour and pursue the ball-tampering issue, they should have gone to a court of law.


"That would make sure that never again can an umpire - unless he has clear evidence - declare a team guilty of cheating. I'm afraid they're barking up the wrong tree by going to the ICC. The ICC gives everything to the umpire."


After the match ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed revealed Hair had sent the world governing body an e-mail saying he would stand down from their elite panel of officials in exchange for 500,000 dollars - an offer the umpire later rescinded.


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


And if the charge of disrepute is proved against the Pakistan skipper he faces a ban of between two and four Test matches or four to eight ODI matches.


Any suspension could affect star batsman Inzamam's participation in next month's ICC Champions Trophy one-day tournament in India.


It has also still to be confirmed if Hair will be umpiring at that event and, if so, whether he will be standing in any Pakistan fixtures after the Pakistan Cricket Board requested, following events at The Oval, that he banned from officiating in any of their team's future matches.


India have also asked the ICC to keep Hair out of the Champions Trophy, saying his presence could incite "trouble".


England-based Hair himself has previously made it clear he expects to officiate at the tournament. "I am down to umpire in the Champions Trophy and I expect to fulfil that appointment," he told Australian media.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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