Cricket: Stephenson advocates ICC reform

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The Independent Online
THE secretary of the International Cricket Council, Lt-Col John Stephenson, admitted yesterday that the ball-tampering saga has revealed the need for a complete restructuring of the game's world governing body.

'This issue is now very serious, and to deal with it we need a world governing body with teeth,' he said. 'Something has got to be done about ball-tampering but at the moment the ICC is merely a kind of post office - we have no authority in matters such as these.

'Colin Cowdrey (the ICC chairman) and I cannot dictate to all the cricketing countries. We can only act with their permission. The ICC usually only meets once a year - clearly our constitution has to be changed.'

His remarks follow Surrey's suspended pounds 1,000 fine for three offences during the past three seasons, Allan Lamb's pounds 5,000 fine for breaching his contract by accusing the Pakistan fast bowlers, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram, of ball doctoring and the changing of a ball during the one-day international at Lord's. Both fines were imposed by the Test and County Cricket Board, which runs the domestic game. Lamb confirmed yesterday that he is to appeal.

The ICC has still to reveal exactly why the umpires, Ken Palmer and John Hampshire, ordered the ball to be changed and the official report from the match referee, Deryck Murray, has also been kept confidential.

Col Stephenson will press his call at an ICC meeting at Lord's in January to discuss the World Cup. He said: 'I shall be making sure that ball-tampering and other issues are on the agenda. We have got to sort things out then. The world's cricket authorities simply cannot gather together and just discuss the World Cup.'

Surrey are launching their own internal investigation. Disciplinary action may follow. The club captain, England vice-captain Alec Stewart, who was in charge during two of the three matches for which Surrey were reported, will be asked to give evidence.

The club chairman, Derek Newton, said: 'We would hope to have it all sorted out within two weeks. Although it is an internal matter, it is going to be very open and far-reaching. We won't be trying to hide anything.

'We will find out as far as is humanly possible what has happened and make sure it doesn't happen again.' Newton, who only found out about the problem on Monday, added: 'We must take responsibility for not knowing what was going on. I'm grossly embarrassed.'

A statement from the club said that the warnings from the TCCB had not been passed to the club's executive committee, but only to the cricket management.