Cricket: Pakistan object to Graveney

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PAKISTAN yesterday lodged a formal objection with the International Cricket Council over the appointment of England's Tom Graveney as the ICC match referee for their Test series in the West Indies next March.

Their complaint has its origins in England's inflammatory 1987 tour to Pakistan, during the height of the Mike Gatting-Shakoor Rana confrontation in Faisalabad. Graveney, who was a player on England's 1951 visit, was quoted as saying: 'They've been cheating us for 37 years. It was bad enough when I toured in '51, and the TCCB should bring England home.'

Assurances by the ICC secretary, Lt Col John Stephenson, that Graveney's remarks were of the 'throwaway' variety have failed to placate the Pakistanis, whose Cricket Board secretary, General Shahid Rafih, said yesterday: 'This is not a judicious selection. There are many more ICC referees on the ICC list, and we would appreciate it if someone else was selected.'

They do, apparently, have alternatives in mind. They have put forward three names to the ICC - the former Indian captains Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sunil Gavaskar, and New Zealand's Frank Cameron.

Graveney, who is more or less bound and gagged by his ICC contract, said: 'I know that Col Stephenson and Colin Cowdrey (the ICC chairman) are meeting about this, and I would be very disappointed not to have my appointment confirmed. It promises to be a wonderful series.'

This latest business confirms that the ICC's antennae are not the sharpest when it comes to anticipating problems between England and Pakistan, who are not exactly noted for smothering each other with kisses in their dealings on the cricket field.

Last November, with the cordite barely having cleared from the summer's 'ball-scuffing' row, the ICC appointed Donald Carr, former secretary of the TCCB, as match referee for the Pakistan v Sri Lanka series.

However, Pakistan's officials turned out to have longer memories (or more sensitive ones) than the ICC's, and immediately objected on the grounds that Carr, while captaining the MCC in Pakistan in 1956, had thrown a bucket of water over an umpire. The incident, by all accounts, followed England's long-standing suspicion that the lbw law in Pakistan applies to visiting batsmen only.

It almost, like the Gatting-Rana business, halted the tour, which only resumed after Earl Alexander of Tunis, then president of the MCC, offered to recall the England team.

As for the Graveney business, the ICC is now engaged in the familiar pastime of clearing up a mess of its own making, and on current form, it would be no great surprise if they appointed Shakoor Rana to referee next summer's Ashes series.

Malcolm Marshall, the former West Indian pace bowler, has unearthed a new English teenage fast bowling prospect for Hampshire. Lancashire-born Jamie Byrne, 19, has signed a one-year contract with Hampshire after Marshall spotted him playing club cricket in South Africa.

Allan Border scored an unbeaten 71 for Queensland on the third day of their match against Pakistan in Brisbane. Queensland, who made 260 in their first innings, finished the day on 318 for 5. Pakistan made 368 for 6 in their first innings.

Border under pressure, page 27

(Photograph omitted)