Pakistan risk Test in ball-tampering row
by AFP

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

DateLine: 20th August 2006


Pakistan risked forfeiting the fourth and final Test against England at The Oval here Sunday after refusing to come out for the last session of the fourth day after they'd been penalised for ball tampering.


Pakistan were docked five runs for altering the condition of the match ball unfairly at the end of the 56th over which had been bowled by Umar Gul.


It was Gul's 14th over with England 230 for three when the umpires inspected the match ball.


Veteran Australian umpire Darrell Hair, standing with West Indian official Billy Doctrove, then signalled to the scorers that five penalty runs were to be added to England's total, taking it up to 235.


Then, after an early tea had been taken because of bad light, the umpires walked back out onto the field only for no Pakistan fieldsmen to follow behind them before walking back in.


Television pictures then showed Pakistan players in their dressing room with the door shut behind them.


Minutes later the umpires returned followed by England not out batsmen Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell only for the Pakistan team to remain in their dressing room.


The batsmen and umpires walked back in, with Pakistan - already a losing 2-0 down in the series - in danger of forfeiting the match.


Both umpires removed the bails, returned to the pavilion and the covers came on.


Cricket's Law 21.3 states clearly states "that, in the opinion of the umpires, a team refuses to play, the umpires shall award the match to other side."


This was the first time such a five-run penalty for ball-tampering had been imposed in Test cricket, an International Cricket Council (ICC) spokesman said.


Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer, the former England all-rounder, said at tea after seeing match referee Mike Procter: "I went to see him but I was told Procter wanted to discuss the incident with Hair first."


Former Pakistan captain and board chief executive Rameez Raja, commentating for Sky Television, added: "The decision to award penalty runs came as a huge surprise because no player was warned and it looks a very subjective decision.


"With so many cameras covering this Test match, nobody was caught and there seems to be no evidence.


"I think the Pakistan Cricket Board should tackle this aggressively because this could spoil a very good series."


Cricket's Law 42.3 states that in "the event of any fielder changing the condition of the ball unfairly .. the umpires shall award five penalty runs to the batting side."


The Law explains that it is "unfair for anyone to run the ball on the ground for any reason, interfere with any of the seams on the surface of the ball, use any implement, or take any other action whatsoever which is likely to alter the condition of the ball."


Playing regulation 42.1.2 (b) for this series also says that the batsmen can choose a replacement ball from a selection of six in the event the match ball has been tampered with.


Television pictures showed the ball was scuffed around the seam but there did not appear to have been any obvious sign of tampering by a member of the Pakistan fielding side.


If found guilty of ball-tampering players can be fined 50 percent of their match fee and be banned from international cricket.


Pakistan's 1992 tour of England was blighted by allegations of ball-tampering with pace great Waqar Younis, now Pakistan's bowling coach, coming under intense scrutiny.


And in 2000 Waqar himself received a one-match ban for ball tampering following a one-day international against South Africa in Sri Lanka while Azhar Mahmood was fined for "abetting" the infringment in the same match.


Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, ruled out of the current series with England because of an ankle injury, received a reprimand in November 2002 for the same offence after a Test match against Zimbabwe in Harare.


And the following year, in May, Shoaib was given a two-match ban for ball tampering after a one-day international against New Zealand in Dambulla.


But high-profile players from other countries have been banned for similar offences with India batting great Sachin Tendulkar receiving a one-game ban in November 2001 after a Test match against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.


Tendulkar's fellow India batsman Rahul Dravid was fined 50 precent of his match fee, after being found guilty of ball tampering during India's 24-run victory over Zimbabwe at Brisbane. Dravid was caught by the TV cameras rubbing a cough lozenge on the ball.


Then England captain Mike Atherton also caused controversy back in 1994 when he was spotted rubbing dirt from his pocket into the ball during a Test match against South Africa at Lord's.


However, the prompt intervention of then England chairman of selectors Raymond Illingworth, who fined Atherton, spared the opening batsman official punishment for the incident.

(Article: Copyright © 2006 AFP)


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