Inzamam charged in test ball-tampering row

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The Independent Online

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has been charged with bringing the game into disrepute by the International Cricket Council.

Inzamam is deemed responsible for the actions that led to his team forfeiting the fourth Test against England at The Oval yesterday. Pakistan did not return to the field after the tea interval in protest at the umpires' decision to change the ball on suspicion it had been tampered with.

Inzamam will now face a hearing before match referee Ranjan Madugalle on Friday in London, when he will answer the disrepute charge as well as one for changing the condition of the ball.

Inzamam could be banned for up to four Test matches or eight one-day internationals if found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute. He could also be fined his entire match fee or handed an extra one-game ban if it is proved the ball was tampered with.

The charges were brought by on-field umpires Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove after consultation with third and fourth umpires Peter Hartley and Trevor Jesty.

Madugalle was not officiating in the match but has been asked to conduct the hearing as the game's referee, Mike Procter, is likely to be called upon to give evidence. Madugalle refereed the first three matches of the series.

Play was halted during England's second innings when Hair and Doctrove became suspicious about the condition of the ball. They ordered it be changed and England were awarded five penalty runs. Pakistan were incensed and initially refused to return to the field after the tea interval.

The match was then abandoned with England awarded victory and a 3-0 series win.

Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer said of the incident: "I think there was a genuine feeling that, by inference, we had been cheating.

"I personally asked every member of the team, under oath basically, whether they had at any time scratched the ball during the innings and to a man they said no.

"I went to ask to see the ball. I looked at the ball and came to my own conclusions. I didn't see any undue tampering with the ball - and in 38 years I have seen tampering with balls.

"It had been hit into the stands on numerous occasions by Kevin Pietersen. I didn't think there were any undue marks, but that is a personal opinion. Having asked my team I can concur with them there was probably just damage from concrete and whatever."

The incident has also focused attention on the appointment of Hair, who has had numerous run-ins with Pakistan.

Inzamam has been uncompromising in his criticism of Hair and the handling of the incident and will defend himself vigorously.

The Pakistan skipper told Geo TV: "First of all I would like to state that we had complained to the ICC earlier that we do not want Hair to umpire any of our matches because some of his decisions are biased against Pakistan.

"The second thing I want to say is on the happenings of yesterday - it was surprising for me because as the captain on the field the ball was changed. After the ball was changed the umpires did not call me.

"I went up myself to the umpires and asked why is the ball being changed, 'tell me the reason'. Umpires I think have to tell the captain that your boys have tampered with the ball or done something.

"In the spirit of the game, and with good umpires, the umpire will call the captain and tell him or give a warning to the bowler and the captain. Here nothing of the kind happened and after that he gave five runs.

"I wasn't informed of that as well. He gave the batsmen the chance to choose the ball. This meant that they had just made the decision themselves that Pakistan have cheated.

"When the meeting took place later in the evening I said, first of all, 'You call the entire media and show us and them the ball. Show us where the scratch is, where has the ball been tampered'.

"I told him show me the ball. If we are guilty we have to be punished. And if we are not guilty, punish whoever else. You just can't place allegations of cheating."

Hair also upset Pakistan last November by ruling Inzamam had been run out by a throw from England's Steve Harmison during the Faisalabad Test, even though the batsman appeared to be taking evasive action.

Any ban could see Inzamam miss all or part of the forthcoming five-match one-day series against England.

Former captain Khan calls for umpire to be punished

Former captain Imran Khan insists umpire Darrell Hair should be punished if he cannot prove Pakistan were guilty of ball tampering in the fourth Test against England at the Brit Oval.

The Pakistan Cricket Board have since stated they will not take part in any future match where Hair is standing as umpire, and Khan believes the Australian official has some very serious questions to answer.

"If the Pakistan Cricket Board has a problem with Darrell Hair it's only right that he should not be officiating any further matches," said Khan.

"For a start they should have an inquiry into this thing. Darrell Hair should prove that there was ball tampering, if he cannot prove it the Pakistan team is entitled to take him to court for defamation. If I was the captain I would seriously have taken him to court for defamation, for calling my team and me cheats.

"Pakistan should pursue this, and quite clearly unless he can prove that the team tampered with the ball, there's no way he should be standing in other Pakistan matches in future."

Khan added: "The umpire should have immediately given some evidence. So far nothing has come up, the TV cameras have not caught anything and neither has the umpire given any specific reason why he thought the ball was tampered with."

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