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February 1, 2009
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.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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