England v Pakistan, The Oval, 2006 July 12, 2008

MCC secretary not in favour of altered result

Cricinfo staff

The MCC, the umbrella body that oversees the Laws of Cricket, is opposed to changing the result of a Test, according to a report in the Times © Getty Images

The MCC has heavily criticised the ICC's decision to alter England's win in the forfeited Test against Pakistan at The Oval in 2006 into a draw, and will lobby for another reversal.

The MCC is the body responsible for the Laws of Cricket, and secretary Keith Bradshaw felt the decision contravened the spirit of the game and its Laws. It is also reported that the MCC's cricket committee is opposed to any alteration to Law 21, which states that the result should not be changed.

"Cricket is the worse for this decision and it was opposed unanimously by the ICC's cricket committee, on which I sit," Bradshaw told the Times. Michael Holding, the former West Indian fast bowler, resigned from the ICC cricket committee following the verdict.

The ICC ruling was termed as "unprecedented and dangerous" by Robert Griffiths, QC, who represented umpire Darrell Hair at his tribunal hearing against the ICC. "It had no power to do so under the Laws of Cricket and the decision is a nullity," Griffiths, along with fellow barrister Stephen Whale wrote in the Times. "But it is deeply troubling that the ICC should take this unprecedented and dangerous step. It is historical revisionism of the worst kind.

"Law 21(10) is unequivocal: once the umpires have agreed with the scorers the correctness of the scores, the result cannot be changed. The reasoning is vacuous. It was, officially, 'based on the view that in light of the unique set of circumstances, the original result was felt to be inappropriate'. This is even though ICC board member witnesses admitted under oath at Hair's tribunal that the umpires' decisions were in accordance with the Laws."

The Test was awarded to England after Pakistan did not come out to field after tea on the fourth day, following accusations of ball-tampering. The result had off-field ramifications as well. Hair went on to be suspended from the ICC elite panel, and though that decision was overturned last year when he took his employers to the High Court in London, the initial decision formed the basis of Pakistan's appeal for a change to the result.