MCC world cricket committee meet October 26, 2008

2006 Oval Test still a forfeit for MCC

Cricinfo staff

Tony Lewis: "The ICC has no power under the laws of cricket to decide that results should be altered, whether it feels it's 'inappropriate' or otherwise" © Getty Images
The MCC, the independent governor of cricket's laws, has recommended the ICC overturn its awarding of a draw for the disputed England-Pakistan Test at The Oval in 2006. Originally the match was ruled the first forfeit in the game's history, but the ICC changed the result at an executive board meeting in July.

The MCC world cricket committee, which includes current India captain Anil Kumble and former Test leaders Rahul Dravid, Michael Atherton, Shaun Pollock and Steve Waugh, met on Saturday and Sunday in New Delhi and decided "cricket is the worse for this decision".

The committee chairman Tony Lewis wanted confirmation from the ICC that the original outcome of the match should stand. "The ICC has no power under the laws of cricket to decide that results should be altered, whether it feels it's 'inappropriate' or otherwise," the former England captain Lewis said. "The ICC's decision is wrong and sets a very dangerous precedent. Cricket is the worse for this decision."

Majid Khan, the former Pakistan captain, said the committee's decision was unanimous "simply because the rule states that you can't overturn a decision". "The result should stay as is," he said. When asked what the reaction to the decision would be in Pakistan, Majid said "we'll wait and see".

The controversy began after tea on the fourth day of the fourth Test when Inzamam-ul-Haq, the Pakistan captain, refused to lead his team back on to the field following Australia umpire Darrell Hair and West Indian Billy Doctrove enforcing a five-run penalty for ball tampering. It was a decision that initially gave England victory and resulted in a suspension for Hair, who was reinstated after an employment tribunal hearing in October 2007, following protests from Pakistan. Hair has since stood down from elite-level umpiring.

Inzamam, who is now retired and playing in the unofficial Indian Cricket League, was fined for four games for bringing the game into disrepute. The team was cleared of the original ball-tampering allegations.

"The board's decision was based on the view that in light of the unique set of circumstances, the original result of the match was felt to be inappropriate," the ICC said in a statement in July. The ruling meant England won the four-match series 2-0 instead of 3-0.

"As far as we're concerned there is no record of any other result [but a forfeit]," Lewis said. "We're not reversing the ICC result, we're just saying they had no place to do that. We, MCC, wrote the rules in 1788 and the laws working party now is run by Robert Griffiths QC. Legally, there is absolutely no way the ICC can change the laws of the game, which it did do."

The committee also supported the umpire review system that was used in the recent Sri Lanka-India Test series and agreed to work with the ICC in ensuring the primacy of Test cricket. It also vowed to complete further research into trialling pink balls in the hope they could be used in day-night Tests.

An increased focus on fostering spin bowlers was also discussed along with a recommendation that umpires should not give the players the option to leave the field for bad light. MCC's 18-man world cricket committee is charged with improving the game and its governance. As the sport's law makers, the MCC has the power to alter the rules while using its influence to urge the ICC to change its position.

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  • Zeeshan on October 30, 2008, 7:21 GMT

    David Morgan said that reversing the result of the controversial Oval Test was inappropriate. "It was a decision that was made by the ICC and it's a decision that I was not happy with," Morgan said. "I was president-elect and I didn't believe it was appropriate to change the result of the England-Pakistan match."

    It means the before him ICC is not doing right things, making right decision. want to change the result only because he is not happy with the decision.

    After few years new ICC president comes and if he didnt feel happy with the decision he will reconsider the case and change the result.

    ICC is this what the president do.

    MCC wrote the rules in 1788. only few years back haaaannnn. Dear o Dear. Did ever anyone heard that umpire put charges of ball tempering on the team in 1788?

    It time to makes positive changes in the rules.

  • christiano on October 28, 2008, 9:33 GMT

    I dont agree with u all, what pakistan did was totally right.We have to consider that what was the situation in pakistan at that time, if inzi would have continued playing it would just simply mean that they were indulged in ball tempering.And now it was a matter of respect.Previously as well there were accusation which were hurting image of Pakistan and if this added to that it would have earned a bad name for pakistan in world.Now it stand proved that pakistan was not involved in ball tempring but imagine what would have happened if they were being blamed and subjugated for a thing which they didnt do.

  • Niren on October 27, 2008, 14:02 GMT

    I think the original result should stay. Cricket, since its origin, have seen Umpires as the final decision makers and that is the beauty of the game. That is why, Umpires are so respected. Don't you fine a batsman for showing dissent to a umpires decision? Some of them have been given out LBW despite clearly nicking the ball. Some of them have been given caught behind despite not nicking the ball. The point is that no matter what, Umpiring decision are to be considered final. With all the money power going to individual boards, tomorrow, the ICC might be forced to change decision on particular batsman and awarding them century, despite being given out (incorrectly) on 99. I think, ICC should stand more firm and govern individual boards rather than individual boards governing ICC

  • Furhan on October 27, 2008, 12:46 GMT

    This highlights yet another mess that cricket governance is in!. The MCC request is the correct one but who does the MCC actually represent and is it really relevant or desirable to have such a elitest club in charge of the governing the games rules?. In which other major sport is the governing body a different organisation to the rule making body. The MCC should be incorporated into the ICC and report to them.

  • WI on October 27, 2008, 12:30 GMT

    I note that the MCC merely recommended and presumably since the ICC is "the international governing body for cricket" they can decide whether to accept or decline this recommendation. If that's the case then what really is the purpose of the intervention of the MCC in this case - three years after the incident took place?

  • Nafees on October 27, 2008, 12:28 GMT

    Cricket is no longer played, governed & patronized by cricketers, but by stars, money-hungry cowards & corporates! ICC calls it

  • Laki on October 27, 2008, 11:14 GMT

    Whilst the whole episode was very unsavory as far as cricket was concerned, in my opinion the original result should stand. I fully sympathise with Pakistan as they were robbed of a chance to win the match by a catalogue of poorly thought out and hasty umpiring decisions. But the laws of the game does not allow for umpiring decisions (whether bad or not) to be over-ruled, and hence the original decision should remain.

  • gul on October 27, 2008, 9:18 GMT

    I'm a die hard Pakistan cricket fan and I do belive that Darrell Hair was over zealous in his officiating of the game. However, it was the Pakistan team that chose not to continue and they were given a second chance to come out but chose to prolong their protest. The game should remain a forfeit under the laws of cricket. The banning of Inzi was also correct and so was the subsequent suspension of Darrell Hair. He as an international umpire is there to manage the game and he should not bring personal resentments into his decision making. I think Billy Doctrove's refusal to appear at the tribunal in Hair's defence played into the hands of the ICC and somehow gave them credence to overturn the forfeiture and declare it a draw. Whatever anyone's opinion, cricket was the loser in this and Pakistan cricket a bigger loser. Something they have yet to recover from.

  • Bob on October 27, 2008, 8:55 GMT

    What does Wisden say ? That seems to be the basis. refusing to come out and play seems a forfeit to me.

  • Shannon on October 27, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    Lots of fuzzy thinking still surrounds this test, I see.

    The correct (and only legal) action that Pakistan could have taken to "protest" the decision by BOTH umpires (not just Hair) was to come out and win the match. Or, at the very least, play on. Then, when the match was over, protest strongly through the channels that exist for exactly this sort of thing.

    That action, had they taken it, would have shown that they were the fine, competitive, and fair-minded sportsmen of the kind that the great nation of Pakistan regularly produces, the kind that are a credit to Pakistani cricket, and the game in general.

    Instead, the team sulked in their dressing room like a pack of immature schoolboys. The penalty for that kind of poor behaviour is very clear in the laws of cricket: forfeiture.

    Most of Pakistan's cricketers understand this very clearly. It is such a pity that Pakistan's cricket board (and many of the team's fans, encouraged by that poor example) seem not to.

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