December 8, 1999

John Reid not acceptable to Pakistan, ICC told

Karachi, Dec 7: The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) ad hoc committee has told the International Cricket Council (ICC) that Match Referee John Reid was not welcome in Pakistan.

The ICC has appointed the former New Zealand captain as match referee for next year's home series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka to be played between Feb 13 and March 17. The series comprise three one-day internationals and as many Tests.

The PCB officials gave no clear reason for such an extreme action, but independent sources confirmed that the manager and captain had submitted a negative report against Reid after the completion of the first leg of the Australian tour.

Pakistan lost all the three Tests. John Reid was the match referee.

"We have asked the game's governing body (ICC) to replace John Reid with any other match referee. We don't want him (John Reid) to officiate in the forthcoming Test series," PCB ad hoc committee chairman Zafar Altaf confirmed to Dawn from Islamabad on Tuesday evening.

"We couldn't ask (the ICC) to replace him during the mid-series (in Australia). But what is now possible is that he (John Reid) is not posted in Pakistan and we are trying to make that happen."

Zafar Altaf confirmed that the PCB has informed the ICC in written and hoped that his request will be given due consideration.

"I hope that things turn around for us this time. Well, that didn't happen during the World Cup when we asked the ICC not to appoint David Shepherd (umpire) in the final. Originally Indian umpire Srinas Venkataraghavan was to stand in the final but he was replaced by Shepherd," Zafar Altaf, who was the manager of the World Cup squad, added.

Reid is the second ICC official to be rejected outright by the PCB. In 1996, Zimbabwe umpire Ian Robinson was removed from a World Cup match involving Pakistan when the event was jointly hosted by Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.

When Zafar Altaf was pressed on the reasons to reject John Reid, he said: "He had an unbalanced attitude towards the two teams.

"I think he is a strong believer of the phrase `you show me a face and I show you the rule' because that's what he applied in the Test series. There were apparently different set of rules for Pakistan and Australia which is not acceptable."

Zafar Altaf said PCB had a moral obligation towards its players to safeguard their interests "and the establishment will always back its players wherever it felt that its players were not getting a fair deal."

The PCB chairman said Pakistan will go ahead with the second leg of the Australian tour but will not tolerate any unfair play during the three-nation series also involving India besides the hosts. The series begins on Jan 9.

Zafar Altaf said he has written a 'strong' letter to the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) in which he has lodged a protest against ruthless sledging by the home team players.

"The letter was sent to the ACB on Monday in which we have complained that Australian players crossed limits while sledging Pakistan players," he said.

He said the letter was dispatched after the PCB conducted its in-house investigations over allegations that Pakistan players were abused by the Australian cricketers.

"We questioned the officials and senior players. We also looked at the video footage of the matches before we came to the conclusion that Pakistan players were subject to vicious sledging, specially by Ricky Ponting, during the Test series," the PCB boss said.

He added: "The saddest part is that neither the match referee nor the umpires or home board stepped in to tell the Australian players to watch their mouths."

Altaf said he has requested the ACB to warn its players. "I don't want that things get out of hand. The problem is in initial stages and can be controlled now." However, Zafar Altaf minced no words that the ICC would be officially informed of the PCB letter to the ACB. He added that the ICC would be informed to mend laws which can control sledging.

Pakistan's protest over sledging came after England, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand lodged their complaints previously.

The PCB chairman added that the ACB has been requested to intervene in media trial of the Pakistan players.