Inzamam waits for ICC verdict
Monday's Natwest Twenty20 International between England and Pakistan remains in the balance as both side wait to see if Inzamam-ul-Haq is convicted of ball tampering.
Pakistan's cricket officials are fearing an abrupt end to the current tour of England even as they angrily rallied behind skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq over the ball-tampering controversy.
Bob Woolmer, the team's coach was quoted as telling Britain's Channel Four that the forthcoming one-day series might have to be called off if Inzamam was convicted of the tampering charge, which amounts to cheating under Law 42.3 governing cricketing.
'It is not an easy question to answer at the moment,' Woolmer said in response to a question about the upcoming series.
'I would think that the one-day tournament may be in jeopardy if he is found guilty and suspended for eight games. If the punishment was suspended then it might go ahead. After what has happened the players are right behind their captain,' Dawn newspaper quoted Woolmer as saying.
England were awarded the fourth cricket Test after umpires Billy Doctrove and Darrell Hair deemed Pakistan to have forfeited the match. The umpires made their decision when the Pakistan side failed to emerge from the dressing rooms after the tea interval at the Oval Sunday.
This followed the umpires' awarding of five penalty runs to England during the second session of the fourth day after alleged interference with the match ball by the fielding side.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has charged Inzamam on two counts - ball tampering and bringing the game into disrepute. Inzamam appears at an ICC hearing Friday where he could face a ban of up to four Tests or eight one-day internationals.
Sri Lanka's Ranjan Madugalle would meet and hear out the concerned parties.
Meanwhile, there were protests in Pakistani cities accusing Australian Umpire Darrell Hair of racism.
'Sad as it may sound, there will be many who will wonder whether Darrell Hair would have done what he did on Sunday if the bowling team were Australian or English,' daily newspaper The News International said in an editorial.
Back in London, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Shaharyar Khan revealed that Pakistan has asked the ICC to launch an independent inquiry into Sunday's incidents that resulted in the fourth Test forfeiture in favour of England.
He demanded of the game's ruling body to change the laws governing the controversial issue of ball tampering, saying the umpires should be stripped of their powers to punish players without any proof.
'The protocol behind the ball-tampering issue needs to be changed. It should be done through a proper process and the umpires should have evidence before penalising any player.'
Pakistan have based their case on the fact that Hair and fellow umpire Doctrove had no proof that Inzamam's men tampered with the ball, something that has been verified by lack of any television footage supporting the penalty.
'We want to bring up everything possible to support our case. The 56th over, the state of the ball and video footage,' said Shaharyar, adding he would even like the ball to be put on public display.
Shaharyar refused to respond to a query whether Pakistan accuse Hair of racism saying he believed the entire incident was caused by a communication gap.
'My players just wanted to show their resentment, they never wanted to forfeit the match. There was a gap of communication between the umpires and the Pakistan team.'
He described Hair as a 'good umpire' but added Pakistan had a problem with his attitude. 'We have suffered in the past due to his attitude towards us.'
Khan said the team had no problem with Doctrove, who is scheduled to stand in the first three ODIs.
Pakistani media prominently carried reports and comments in the British media supporting Inzamam and his men. Besides Rameez Raja, a compatriot, they carried comments from former British captains, Ian Botham, Nasser Hussain and Geoffrey Boycott who blamed Hair for 'spoiling' the game and taking a wilful decision against Pakistanis.
Former Australian umpire Dick French said he feared Hair's career could be over if the powerful Asian cricket bloc united to demand his ban from matches involving the subcontinent's teams.
French, a former mentor of Hair and now on the Cricket Australia umpire selection panel, feared Pakistan and its cricket allies India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh could 'gang up' to have the 53-year-old Hair sidelined.
'If the Asian bloc gangs up on him and says 'We don't want him appointed in our games', there might be trouble.'
England and Pakistan are due to play a Twenty20 match at Bristol Aug 28, to be followed by five one-day internationals.
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