Cricket: Cowdrey to see Intikhab as dispute simmers

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The Independent Online
SIR Colin Cowdrey is to make a special trip north to Durham this week to interview the Pakistan management. The International Cricket Council chairman is also planning to talk to the Pakistan team members before the start of the fourth Test at Headingley on Thursday week.

But Sir Colin, at Lord's yesterday to watch the Benson and Hedges Cup final, is still refusing publicly to condemn the dissent shown to umpire Roy Palmer by the Pakistan captain Javed Miandad and the fast bowler Aqib Javed during the third Test at Old Trafford last Monday.

He did, however, confirm that the ICC file is still open on the Pakistan team manager Intikhab Alam, who reacted to being reprimanded for calling Palmer 'rude and insulting' by stepping up his verbal assault.

Aqib was fined around pounds 150, half his match fee, for intimidating the England No 11 batsman Devon Malcolm with a series of short-pitched balls. Yet neither Aqib nor Miandad were censured for openly questioning Palmer's interpretation of the law, and then haranguing the umpire during the 'sweater incident' at the end of the over.

Many observers have criticised the ICC match referee, Conrad Hunte, for his apparent leniency - but Sir Colin ruled out any further action on the match incident itself, saying: 'The referee has adjudicated, and that's now over. But I hope to announce within the next 24 hours the details of when I want to see the Pakistan management. I will definitely be going up to Durham when they play their Tetley Challenge match from Tuesday.

'When you play wonderful cricket as the Pakistanis did at Old Trafford, it's silly to spoil it all for the sake of ridiculous scenes. It was so petty. But the players have got to get things right. It's their game and they must make it work. The image of the game is very important, and our code of conduct has got to work well for the very future of the game. I think it's important for us to remember that we are dealing with top professionals.

'I myself did not see the incident until a day or so ago because we were so busy with the ICC meeting. I'm still studying the evidence of the whole affair, but I can say that the alleged second breach of the code of conduct by Intikhab is now being looked at.'

The Benson and Hedges Cup final will continue at Lord's today after bad light caused play to be abandoned at 6.30 last night. Kent were 4 for no wicket off 1.2 overs chasing Hampshire's 253 for 5.

(Photograph omitted)