ICC turn forensic in Oval mystery

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The Independent Online

The International Cricket Council is considering using forensic tests on the match ball used in the controversial Oval Test to ensure that Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, receives a fair hearing.

Inzamam was charged with ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute after his side failed to take the field against England on the fourth afternoon of the forfeited match, and the contentious nature of the allegations have led the ICC, cricket's governing body, to contemplate this unprecedented move.

"We want a fair hearing," said Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive. "We don't want to sit on the side of the umpires. We don't want to sit on the side of the team. We want to sit between them and accept whatever decision is made by the adjudicator. Lawyers for Pakistan and the ICC are studying what evidence can be put forth. A forensic test is being suggested."

The hearing - to be adjudicated by Sri Lanka's Ranjan Madugalle - is due to be held later this month.

Forensically testing a cricket ball sounds good but it is actually a ridiculous suggestion. An inspection of the ball will find dirt, grass, concrete, paint from advertising boards, skin, sweat, spit, sugar from sweets, sun cream, skin moisturiser, wood from bats, hair gel, fibres from trousers and possibly, just possibly, a flake of finger nail.

It sounds as though the ICC are trying to discover the identity of Jack The Ripper.