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Umpires warned after Pakistan row

30 September, 2006

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LONDON: Senior official Ranjan Madugalle has warned umpires must do their utmost to prevent another forfeited Test.

Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove ruled the Oval Test was over when Pakistan refused to come out to face England, after a penalty for ball-tampering.

Madugalle said umpires should, "do everything possible to defuse tensions by explaining that a team is entitled to raise any grievance through the ICC.

"It is not in the interests of the game for the team to interrupt play".

Madugalle, the International Cricket Council adjudicator at Inzamam-ul-Haq`s disciplinary hearing cleared the Pakistan captain on Thursday of changing the condition of the ball.

All other options should first be exhausted, involving discussions with the team captains and management.

But he found Inzamam guilty of bringing the game into disrepute for his protest and banned him for four one-day internationals.

His subsequent comments will be seen as implicit criticism of the umpires at the centre of the furore.

"In my judgment, a difficult and sensitive situation such as that which arose in the present case requires handling with tactful diplomacy as well as firm adherence to the laws," said Madugalle.

He also suggested the umpires "should not return to the field of play and then declare the match to be forfeited unless and until they are absolutely sure that the team is refusing to play the rest of the match.

"All other options should first be exhausted, involving discussions with the team captains and management."

Australian Hair, singled out by Pakistan as being responsible for the furore, has been pulled out of the forthcoming ICC Champions Trophy and his career appears in doubt.

Doctrove emerged from the hearing at The Oval and said only: "I`m still an umpire".

We don`t want umpires to be allowed to play God like this ever again.

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott launched a withering attack on Hair`s part in the controversy.

"Hair is the first man to apply the five-run penalty for ball-tampering and he got it wrong," said Boycott, a key witness in the disciplinary hearing.

"He is also the first man to call a Test match forfeited, and I believe he got that wrong too."

"If he is going to make a decision which affects the whole fabric of the game he had better have some evidence."

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Boycott accused Hair of taking advantage of his position of authority.

"All Hair had to do was go up to Inzamam and say: `We`re not too sure whether the ball has been tampered with, but if anybody is messing around, they had better cut it out.`

"That is what most former players would have done in Hair`s position.

"One knock-on effect is likely to be a change in the laws. We don`t want umpires to be allowed to play God like this ever again."

End.

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