One-day series in balance as Pakistan seek early hearing

The one-day series between England and Pakistan appeared to be under threat once again last night, after another remarkable series of events in the wake of the ball-tampering row that has rocked cricket. It ended with Pakistan apparently making every effort to ensure the Code of Conduct hearing, involving their captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and the match umpire Darrell Hair, goes ahead as quickly as possible.

The hearing was due to take place tomorrow in London, but at the start of yesterday was postponed indefinitely. The key figure in the postponement is Ranjan Madugalle, the former Sri Lankan Test player and highly respected match referee. He was appointed by the ICC to chair the contentious hearing, which could ultimately result in Inzamam receiving a fine and a 10-match ban for ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute.

But it emerged yesterday that Madugalle would be unable to attend the hearing because his sister has just had a cancer-related operation and the outlook is said to be serious.

However, reports last night from Karachi suggested that Pakistan were determined that the hearing be held before next Monday, when Pakistan are due to play England again in a Twenty20 game. A Pakistan Cricket Board official told Reuters that they were willing to accept the former West Indian captain Clive Lloyd as a replacement adjudicator, to speed up the process.

"We are talking to the ICC about having the hearing before the first match [on Monday]. There's no problem appointing Clive Lloyd - he is in Manchester," the official was quoted as saying. An already complicated situation was made even more complex when an ICC official responded to that statement by saying that there had been no official communication from the Pakistan board about appointing Lloyd.

The ICC also wants the issue resolved as quickly as possible, but it does not want the process rushed at the expense of a satisfactory conclusion. Concerns have been expressed over all seven of the ICC's match referees who could stand in for Madugalle. Some are said to be inexperienced, others arguably compromised in other ways. Lloyd, for instance, is West Indian, the same nationality as Billy Doctrove, the other umpire at the Oval Test, and he lives in England.

Inzamam and the Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer have suggested that the tourists could refuse to play the one-day series if he were banned. The row centres on a decision by the umpires to award a five-run penalty against Pakistan for ball-tampering on Sunday. Inzamam's team refused to emerge for the final session's play and the match was eventually forfeited by Pakistan. The Pakistan players vehemently deny any wrongdoing.

At first glance it would appear that yesterday's decision to postpone the hearing was a rather convenient one. With Inzamam's legal team pushing for the ICC, the game's governing body, to delay the hearing, and the England and Wales Cricket Board desperate for the one-day series to go ahead - the cancellation of the six matches could cost the ECB as much as £15m - a postponement would seem to be the most conciliatory action.

But no behind-the-scenes arrangement has been made and the reason for the ICC's decision is absolutely genuine. Two young children are involved and, despite the emotive nature of the issues raised over the past three days, the ICC's understandable view is that there are more important issues than a spat over the condition of a cricket ball.

Meanwhile, mystery still surrounds Duncan Fletcher's alleged visit to the match referee's room on Sunday morning. It has been inferred in some newspapers that Fletcher, the England coach, went to see Mike Procter, the match referee, with the topic of ball tampering on his mind.

The allegation has been strongly denied by the ECB, which admitted Fletcher went to see Procter, but at the time he was out of his room. The ECB also stated that, had Fletcher met Procter, the conversation would have been about bad light.

If the denials are taken at face value, Fletcher and the ECB have nothing to worry about. But the lack of trust comes from the fact that the ECB has not always been as informative and helpful as it could. An example of this came during the winter when Marcus Trescothick's reasons for returning home early from India changed.

* Pakistan cricket is mourning the death of the former Test all-rounder Wasim Raja at the age of 54. He suffered a fatal heart attack while playing in a club game in London. Raja played 57 Tests and 54 one-day games between 1973 and 1985.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness