ICC board meeting February 1, 2009

ICC does U-turn on 2006 Oval Test result

Cricinfo staff

The ICC board has decided to go by the rulebook © Getty Images

The ICC has decided to change the result of the controversial 2006 Oval Test between England and Pakistan from a draw to an English victory, reversing an earlier decision made last July. The ICC had then altered the result of the match from an England win - by virtue of a forfeit from Pakistan - to a draw. However, at its meeting this weekend in Perth, the ICC board agreed to act upon the MCC's recommendation that the original outcome of the match should stand.

"After reconsideration of the matter, which included consideration of legal advice and input from the MCC, the custodians of the laws of cricket, the board decided that the original umpires' decision to award the match to England, should apply," an ICC release said. "I'm gratified the board reached the conclusion it did as this ensures the integrity of the game and the laws of cricket have been upheld," the ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat said. "I am especially grateful to the PCB for its understanding in this matter."

However, Inzamam-ul-Haq, who was the Pakistan captain at the time, considered the reversal of the decision as a "weakness of the ICC." "I think they [ICC] have made it a joke by changing the result and I don't rule out another change in the future," he told AFP. "The PCB has also failed to take a stand against this change and they were also weak in handling this matter."

The on-field umpires during that Test, Darrell Hair and Billy Doctrove, had considered the match to be forfeited by Pakistan - the first in the history of Test cricket - after they refused to take the field post tea on the fourth day following accusations of ball-tampering. The result had huge off-field ramifications as well. Hair went on to be suspended from the ICC elite panel, though that decision was overturned in 2007 when he took his employers to the High Court in London.

The Pakistan board, represented by chairman Ijaz Butt in Perth, was expected to oppose the move - it was the pressure from the PCB that had prompted the switch in results in the first place. However, the ICC board seems to have been swayed by MCC's stance, one which had found favour with ICC president David Morgan as well.

"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," Tony Lewis, the chairman of the MCC's world cricket committee, had said in a statement in October. "The ICC's decision is wrong and sets a very dangerous precedent. Cricket is the worse for this decision."

Lewis welcomed the ICC's move to reverse the result. "We are pleased with ICC's decision to uphold the original umpire's ruling at the 2006 Oval Test match. While fully appreciating the sensitive nature of these discussions, and the issues surrounding them, MCC's unanimous viewpoint has always been that the umpire's decision must stand as Law 21.10 is unequivocal," he said. "Indeed, the ICC's own cricket committee shared our view."

The latest ruling meant England won the four-Test series 3-0 instead of 2-0.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rob on February 4, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    I'm glad this decision has been made. Whether Hair was right or wrong is immaterial. Sport cannot go around reversing umpires' or referees' decisions. Pakistan should have taken the decision and argued about it later. I am still bitter about it all - I, along with thousands of others, had a ticket for the last day of that test, the only ticket I managed to get for the whole summer's cricket.

  • matt on February 3, 2009, 20:44 GMT

    Throughout this entire debacle surrounding the Oval test match I could never understand why such attention was focussed on Darrel Hair. As an umpire he called it as he saw it and followed the laws of the game to the letter. In a game where players crave consistency in all decisions by the umpires, following the laws strictly is the only way this can be achieved. Let us not forget that the match was not forfeited due to allegations of ball tampering by Hair, but by the Pakistan team's refusal to take the field in protest of the decision. The original alteration of the result by the ICC set a dangerous precedent, leaving the door open for any results influenced by umpiring deemed unsatisfactory, to be changed. Their reversal of this mistake is a recognition of this being a possibility.

    At the end of the day the issue is two years old. As they say its time to accept the umpires decision and move on with life and cricket.

  • Ronald on February 2, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    What ever said and done HAT'S OFF TO PAKISTAN for standing for what is right and was unfair against them. It is time someone told the ICC what is right and wrong.

  • Anand on February 2, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    The original decision should have never been overturned earlier anyways. This is probably the only case of two wrongs making one right!!

  • matt on February 2, 2009, 6:13 GMT

    I think it's the right decision nice to see the ICC getting something right now it's time to sort out the problems with the ICL and Zimababwe

  • Suda on February 2, 2009, 4:21 GMT

    So now Mr. Hair stands vindicated? it means his call was right in the first place? by the same token his call on Murali must also have been right?

    ICC continues in its best tradition of flippin and floppin all around, this deserves a round of applause.....

  • Liam on February 2, 2009, 2:33 GMT

    This decision is correct. Inzamam and the Pakistan leadership group made a childish and uninformed decision and have finally paid for it. Maybe they should take a rule book with them next time they take to the field.

  • Robert on February 2, 2009, 0:09 GMT

    I was absolutely astounded, shocked and saddened when the original result was reversed. Pakistan's reason for pushing for the result change was that they were cleared of ball-tampering. But regardless of whether or not they tampered with the ball, that was not the reason they forfeited the match. It was for their subsequent petulant, childish, infantile behaviour, for which Inzamam got off very lightly. I could not believe that the ICC did not see this the first time around. And as for the Darrell Hair affair, the way he was treated sickens me. An umpire having to go into hiding for applying the letter of the law correctly is a sad state of affairs. Anyway, 2 umpires, 2 decisions. Why did no one even mention Billy Doctrove?

  • Shoaib on February 1, 2009, 21:31 GMT

    Thank you very much ICC for supporting Pakistan when its having its crises.

    May be tommorow you can also take away the membership as Pakistan did not play a test match in the year 2008.

    Add a new rule in your Law Book, "If a team does not play a test match in 365 calender days then its membership will automatically be cancelled for the next 2 years".

    Then when it will be accepted as a rule, everyone can say RULES ARE RULES.

    Nobody looks at the reason why did Pakistan forfeit the test on the first place. They want to follow the same rule that UMPIRES DECISION IS FINAL. Nobody is considering the fact that Umpires are also human and can make errors (which in this case, is a proven fact that they did mistake).

  • Roland on February 1, 2009, 20:29 GMT

    I have slowly arrived at the conclusion that the ICC is a toothless organization, staffed by a bunch of inept, spineless morons whose presence does not do the game of Cricket any good.

    Regarding the ICC about-face with the result of the 2006 Oval Test:- Was Pakistan found GUILTY of ball-tampering? Was any evidence produced to convict them of this serious charge?

    If the answer to these questions is an unequivocal NO, then the ICC's original decision must stand

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