Inzamam call for ICC to void Oval Test

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The Independent Online

The Pakistan captain, Inzamam-ul-Haq, has called on the International Cricket Council to award a no-result for the fourth Test against England.

England were declared the winners at the Oval on Sunday when Pakistan failed to take the field after tea in protest against a decision by the umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove to change the ball and penalise the tourists five runs for alleged ball-tampering. England ended the four-match series as 3-0 winners.

"We were in a winning position at the Oval," Inzamam wrote in his column for the Daily Jang newspaper. "The players are very disappointed and upset that the match has been awarded to England by the umpires. If anything we want the ICC to declare the Oval Test result as null and void."

Inzamam faces a possible suspension of one Test or two one-day internationals if found guilty of ball-tampering when he faces an ICC hearing in London on Friday. A ban of four to eight one-dayers or between two and four Tests would result if the Pakistan captain fails to defend the additional charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

"I am hugely disappointed and hurt by the slur cast on our team by Hair," said Inzamam. "I never thought my last Test in England would end this way. I have no doubt that what transpired is the biggest disappointment of my career. The team has still not got over it. And I don't know for how long more the team has to live with the accusation of cheating, without proof."

Inzamam recalled that on the fourth day of the Test the match was proceeding smoothly when he saw umpire Hair change the ball.

"He talks about the spirit of the game, but he never bothered to tell me something was wrong. A good umpire is one who when he smells something is wrong he first talks to the captain and appraises him of the situation. It was when I asked him that he said the ball had been tampered. We have always had problems when Hair has stood in our matches. Take the Headingley Test for example - the decisions given by him made a big difference to the result [but] we still didn't protest."

Inzamam said that the ICC should hold the inquiry publicly. "If we are found guilty I am ready to face any punishment."

Pakistan's coach, Bob Woolmer, said he had considered resigning over the fiasco. "My initial reaction was to resign," Woolmer said. "If I had done, it might have been wrongly interpreted as an admission of guilt, but I was not happy about being involved. I love cricket, its ethics , its traditions, and this has rocked my sensibilities."